f’n talk

By Tony Scruggs

When I say “it’s about to get f’n real up in here” do you think to yourself “what the heck is going on with the empathy guy?” and “what the heck is #FNTalk?”

A few days ago I was listening to some politicians speak. I heard one use verbal terrorism (inflicting pain for political gain through words). I heard the target of that verbal terrorism speak out against the 1st politician using the Lincoln “better angels of our nature” quote. I was joyful at first remembering that the person who wrote my book cover quote, Marianne Williamson, was the one who introduced me to those words.

Unfortunately a few seconds later I heard the original target of verbal terrorism use a softer form of the same thing to tear down his own President. I wondered “does he know he is breaching the Golden Rule?” I thought “does he know that the most successful coach in college sports taught people to disagree without being disagreeable?” I was totally confused and as a mindful empathy coach sharing the art of compassionate communication I wanted to do something.


So what the heck is f’n talk? Is it really the adverb of the f-word? Nah πŸ˜‰ It’s my tribute to Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” and Coach Wooden’s “disagree without being disagreeable!” It’s Tony Robbins meets Wayne Dyer meets Marshall Rosenberg. It’s my mom (RIP) & my dad. It’s Montessori meets Mindful Empathy. It’s the language of the soul (Feelings/f) meets the language of the heart (Needs/n)!

‘Some folks call it nonviolent communication, some folks call it speaking peace. Some folks call it compassioning and when it’s tasted what a glorious feast’ ~SiMBa (Spirit, Mind & Body)

I call it f’n talk (feelings & needs talk) because like a politician I wanted to grab your attention. I just chose to do it in a way that created vs detonated.

3 tips to #FNTalk:

(1) Speak in questions instead of projections.

“Are you FEELING frustrated because your need for respect wasn’t met?” vs “I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL DUMMY”

(2) Validate the experience even if the equation doesn’t seem to add up.

“Sounds like this is really painful for you?”

(3) Use basic feelings & needs words.

FISH: frustrated, irritated, sad, hurt [feelings]
RIVER: Respect, Inclusion, Validation, Empathy, Reassurance [emotional needs]


Ask people how they’re feeling instead of how they are doing. Thank people for telling you what they heard you say instead of telling them they’re not paying attention. And most importantly realize that we (& that means you too) are all doing the most wonderful thing we know how to meet our needs (you’re like “what? How is x wonderful and y wonderful and z wonderful?” I’m not saying that the behavior is wonderful, I’m saying it’s the most wonderful way we know how)

‘When ya know better ya do better’ ~Maya

About The Author: Known as #TheEmpathyGuy Tony Scruggs speaks on Compassion @ Home, in the Classroom, in Society & in the Workplace! Tony Scruggs is an author (‘Excellence Off The Field‘), a nonbullying coach & a former professional athlete. For more information go to TheEmpathyGuy.com