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USA Makes List of Top 10 Most Empathetic Countries In the World

If the presidential election has you worried that we're losing compassion for one other, then take heart: A new survey of more than 104,000 people around the world ranks the United States as number seven on the list of most-empathetic countries!

The study, which has just been published online in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, was conducted by researchers at Michigan State University, the University of Chicago and Indiana University. The researchers assessed people in 63 countries for their compassion toward others and how they tended to look at things from another person's perspective.

In other words, empathy. What did they find?

For starters, the researchers concluded that seven of the least-empathetic countries are in Eastern Europe, with Lithuania ranking last among all 63 countries on the "I feel your pain" scale. Okay, I know what you're thinking. You want the Top 10 "most empathetic countries" list, don't you?

Ecuador is the most empathetic country in the world, according to the survey. Rounding out the rest of the list are Saudi Arabia, Peru, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Korea, the United States, Taiwan, Costa Rica and Kuwait. Hmm. Perhaps it's important to point out that the study explores the sense of empathy study participants had toward their own countrymen (and women). Study participants were not asked how they felt about people from other parts of the world.

Make of this study what you will, but I'm simply excited to see the United States rank among the Top 10 most empathetic countries in the world! Given the ongoing rancor of the presidential election, it's good to be reminded, at least empirically, that we Americans do have basic compassion for each other and that we can see things from another person's perspective. We are good people. Yes we can!

Did You Get the Memo? Today Is National Boss's Day
Speaking of seeing things from another person's perspective, do you know that today is National Boss's Day, the one day every year when we're supposed to look past the end of our own noses to appreciate how much our managers do for us all year long?

In other words, we're supposed to do something for our boss that does not involve complaining about our co-workers again. Here are a few ideas for thoughtful gift giving.

Most managers, however, would most likely prefer, and appreciate, a simple "Happy boss's day!" sometime today before quitting time. If you want to go for brown nosing extra credit points, you might start a sentence with "I just want to thank you for...," before thanking your boss for something very specific -- e.g., for giving you the week off that you asked for, dealing with a recent co-worker conflict fairly and effectively, and so on.

Echoing the global empathy study mentioned above, managers like to know that you know how hard their jobs can be! Just think of something, anything that you can appreciate about your boss ("Thanks for nothing" doesn't count) even as you continue to wonder if your boss has any empathy whatsoever. (Warning: language sometimes NSFW.)

Let your manager know that you know they have their work cut out for themselves sometimes. They might not smile, but deep down they will remember how you once tipped your hat to their harried work existence. Now go try to feel your boss's pain for a few seconds, will you? Yes, you can.


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