Missing Each Other | Edward Brodkin

Summary of: Missing Each Other: How to Cultivate Meaningful Connections
By: Edward Brodkin


In the fast-paced world of fleeting connections and endless distractions, how can we cultivate meaningful relationships? ‘Missing Each Other’ by Edward Brodkin offers insights into the concept of attunement, the process of sensing and responding to others’ emotional states. As a fundamental aspect of human relationships, attunement helps us build strong and intimate social bonds. This book summary will explore how attunement can be fostered through relaxed awareness, active listening, empathy, and mutual responsiveness, paving the way for better connections and healthier relationships in our personal and professional lives.

Attunement: The Foundation of Human Connection

Attunement is a vital social skill that enables us to sense and understand emotions in ourselves and others. It helps us build profound connections and intimate relationships. Humans evolved as social creatures, with a deep need for connection with others. Attunement can take many forms, from a parent and child playing together to jazz musicians in sync during an improvisational groove. Unfortunately, our busy lives and reliance on technology have made it difficult to find moments of attunement. However, with some effort, attunement can be brought back into our lives to improve our relationships and mental health.

Cultivating Relaxed Awareness

Have you ever found yourself struggling to pay attention while someone shares an important, but complicated story with you? According to this book, the key to being attentive and open to the emotions of others is cultivating relaxed awareness. To achieve this state, you must strike a balance between feeling serene while remaining sensitive to what’s happening in and around your body. One way to develop this state is through practicing mindfulness meditation. With consistent practice, you can curtail and calm negative feelings, ultimately mastering the ability to conjure relaxed awareness whenever you want to become truly attuned to another person.

Listen to Connect

Oprah Winfrey’s success isn’t just about her talk show skills, but her ability to listen. Listening is a skill that can be honed through focused attention, synchrony, and emotional empathy. To truly connect with others, one must engage in deeper listening that involves attending to nonverbal cues and feeling what the other person feels.

The Importance of Cognitive Empathy in Understanding Others

Naomi and Oliver’s friendship nearly ended over misattributed behavior caused by Oliver’s recent medical diagnosis. The key message is to build understanding by seeing things from the other person’s perspective. Misattribution often leads to misunderstandings because people have different experiences and expectations. Cognitive empathy, the rational understanding of another’s thoughts, can help overcome this barrier. By stepping back and asking yourself why someone behaved a certain way, you can gain a better understanding of their perspective. Building cognitive empathy takes imagination and a willingness to see things differently, but it can strengthen relationships and build deeper connections.

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