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February 20, 2020

The NUT Formula For Relating With Emotional People

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This practical piece of advise comes from Vanessa Van Edwards' book, Captivate. The NUT formula was designed to help us relate with emotional people, because there is a very predictable and proven process to get people through the emotion. The reason it is so necessary is because we often aren’t patient enough with our empathy, jumping to conclusions too quickly without giving someone the time they need to go through the steps of processing.

That’s exactly what the NUT formula is. It’s a way to help guide people through their emotional processing. N stands for Naming, U stands for Understanding, and T stands for transition. To improve our comprehension, let’s use the example of someone who was just broken up with as our reference.

Naming. The first step is to acknowledge the emotion. By getting someone to state the emotion they are feeling, they gain clarity and validity on what exactly they are feeling. It is then our responsibility to reinforce that understanding by restating that emotion, and other related emotions that could be underlying to the one they are feeling. "I’m so sorry he broke up with you, that must be really hard. I’m sure you’re feeling sad and frustrated”.

It’s at that point we can move on to the Understanding. We still stay out of it, not really offering any input of our own, it’s all about helping them to understand why they feel that way. We, then, can validate that understanding, stating how it is also rational to us and help them find confidence in their processing. “Your emotions makes sense, you were really invested in that relationship and I see how difficult it would be to deal with this.

Transition. Get their mind on something else, distract them, or provide a new perspective. We can’t do this until they have come to terms with the emotion, which is why Naming and Understanding is so crucial. “It’s their loss, you’re such a catch. But this probably all means that it just wasn’t right for you, let’s grab some ice cream so you can have some me time”.

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