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Adult (R)

Empathy game

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THIS tab is the Empathy (Guess Feelings & Needs) game:

- TAKE turns being the SPEAKER who answers the question card on the screen out loud for all to hear.

- THEN the other player(s) guess speaker's feelings and/or needs.

Easier way to play: Just laugh at speaker's answer and move to next turn.

- TAP the SHUFFLE & START button below to begin.

Once you are done receiving empathy for that question, TAP the question to move to next question.

You will find more detailed instructions and game play examples in the Resources tab (swipe left). And there is more useful information here:

Feelings & Needs

USE the Feelings & Needs tab above as a reference.

Note the empathy formula is very important for beginners, until you have integrated this style of empathy.

That formula is:

(O) Observation (without evaluation)

(F) Feeling(s)

(N) Need(s)/Value(s)

(R) Request (positive & do-able)

We call that formula "OFNR".

"(O) When you saw the dog pooping on your lawn did you get (F) angry because you wanted more (N) consideration from the dog's owner?"

Note: We don't always need the Positive Do-able Request (R).

"But wouldn't using a formula sound contrived, robotic, or manipulative?"

Yes! Think of this as like learning piano. The beginner will use a sort of "formula" and repetition in order to integrate the principles of piano playing. Once these principles are integrated, the musician can play with ease & creativity and sound natural doing so. NVC works the same way.

When in a practice group or after warning a friend, we might say something like, "Hey are you okay with me practicing a communication method with you that might sound strange?"
We use the formula to work our empathy muscles. I call that "Clinical NVC".

When in crucial conversations, we slow it down; using one piece of the OFNR formula at a time.

Empathy Giver: (Observation) "So the other car ran right into the side of your car!?"

Receiver: "Actually, the left-front part."

Empathy Giver: (Feeling) "Wow! Was that jolting and terrifying?"

Receiver: "Yes! Super scary!"

Empathy Giver: (Need) "I'm guessing you would have liked more awareness from that other driver?"

Receiver: "Maybe... I didn't think of that! I was thinking about my family."

Empathy Giver: (their feedback helps give a more accurate Need guess) "Ah. Like with you hurt or dead, the emotional and financial security of your family would be impacted?"

Receiver: "Exactly!"

Playing alone (self empathy)

Last but NOT at all least. In fact, in the book, Nonviolent Communication, a Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg, nearly the first half of the book is about self empathy.

We often have many opportunities to practice self empathy every day. How? Use the OFNR formula like so:

"(O) She showed up late. (F) I'm pissed off! (N) I wanted more respect for my time."

Using self empathy in this manner accomplishes:

- We are taking responsibility for our feelings and needs. This is empowering because we typically only have power over ourselves. Putting other people in charge of our feelings puts them in charge of us.

- It serves to dissipate our anger.

- It's great practice for increasing self-awareness.

- The practice increases our vocabulary and ease of use of feelings and needs words.

- It makes it easier to understand and empathize with others.

Much more to come! Look for my book, Practical Empathy by Scott Swain, to be published some time in 2019.

Mime-It game

USE the Mime-It tab above to play a Charades-like game.

PLAY 'gesture only' or 'gestures & words'.
TAKE turns being the GUESSER.
GUESSER holds the phone up so everyone but the guesser can see the screen.
THE other players use gestures and/or words to guide the guesser to figure out the feeling or need/value.
TAP the button below to begin.

NOTE: In the adult version of the game, which adds a phrase after the feeling or need/value, if it is too difficult for the guesser to figure out the entire phrase, he/she can try for just the feeling or need/value.


By playing this game, we:

- Exercise our feelings and needs vocabulary.

- Increase our self-awareness.

- Practice creativity.

- Increase our courage.

- Practice self-expression.

Not Empathy

USE this tab to learn about the common conversational phrases that inhibit connection.


USE the Resources tab above (swipe left to find it) to:

- More detail on playing, including game play examples.

- See the many ways to play.

- Learn more about NVC.

- Get the physical card game.

- Contact the developer, Scott Swain, with suggestions, complaints, or expressions of love.

- Much more.


After you get started, if you want to see this screen again, tap the "Shuffle & Start" button at the bottom.

Screen Orientation

The app detects whether your device is in portrait or landscape and locks it there for the duration of your session. If you want to change that, close the app, turn your phone to the desired orientation, and re-open.

On most phones and tablets, the games are best played in portrait mode.

I've included landscape mode for people on devices that do not allow any other mode, such as Fire TV, Google Android TV, or other TV-related devices.

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