Concentration On Other’s Needs Is The Key To A Good Communication

Behind every bad emotion is an unrecognized or an unsatisfied need

4 min readJun 4, 2021


Photo by Dirk Canzler in

Cherry is a professional accountant; she has a passion for painting. Her paintings not only stir up sentimental or furious emotions but also display peace and love.

We are close friends. We used to meet and enjoy talking together. But since she posted her paintings on social media, she immersed often herself in bad emotions. Whenever we met, she complained a lot that her paintings got just a few “views or likes”.

I tried to comfort and encourage her, but all of my efforts didn’t work. She complained about the same thing over and over again. Gradually I was tired of her stories.

Why didn’t Cherry listen to me?

Did I do something wrong?

Or is Cherry too annoying?

One day, I talked to Jason. Jason is professional at practicing nonviolent communication. I told him my disappointment about Cherry.

Jason listened to me quietly and carefully. Whenever I paused, he gave me feedback to assure me that he understood me correctly.

“You don’t want to listen to Cherry, because you think she uses you as a trash can, right?”

“You are disappointed because you wished to be able to help her, but it didn’t work, right?”

“You hope that Cherry can understand you and listen to you, right?”

What kind of a feeling it is, when someone is just listening to you, he doesn’t judge you, doesn’t try to change you, even doesn’t comfort you?

It felts relaxed!

We talked for about half an hour; With his help, I realized that behind my disappointment is an unrecognized need: I don’t want to be a trash can for Cherry’s complaints.

Unconsciously, I thought that Cherry was against me. I was blaming her for that, even if I didn’t want to admit it.

“Cherry is not against you.”

Jason explained it to me:

“There is an unrecognized or an unsatisfied need behind every bad emotion. Unfortunately, many people express their…




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