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10 Expressions to Connect with Your Conversation Partner

10 Expressions to Connect with Your Conversation Partner

If you want to agree with someone in English, you’ll probably use phrases like, “Me too,” “Same here” or “I think so, too.” 

But sometimes you want to do more than agree. Sometimes, you want to let the listener know that you’ve been through something similar or know how they feel. 

So let’s look at ten common expressions you can use to that effect!

1. I feel the same way.

If you “feel the same way” as someone, you have the same feeling as them. For example, in the following dialogue, Alice has the same feeling as Nina about Mexico:

In the next dialogue, Nathan and David just saw a movie, and Nate feels the same way about it as David:

To many native speakers, “I feel the same way” sounds very similar to “I think so, too. However, there are some subtle differences. 

Research at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business suggests that using “I feel” could make a difference if you’re trying to connect emotionally with someone.

2. I know how you feel.

“I know how you feel” is also an expression of emotional support. You can use this to comfort someone who is sad or angry.

“I know how you feel” doesn’t literally mean that you know the feeling. It implies that you have experienced something similar. 

For example, one parent in the conversation below uses this expression to help the other feel better about a problem they’re going through:

Jim basically says that the same thing has happened to him too, so he understands James’ feelings.

However, some psychologists advise against using this phrase, because even if we went through something similar, we may not know exactly how another person feels. And sometimes, this phrase can make people feel worse!

Regardless, many people still use this expression, so you’ll definitely run into it!

3. I know what you mean.

If you say “I know what you mean,” you’re not saying that you understand the speaker’s words, but that you understand why they feel a certain way. For example:

By saying “I know what you mean,” Arisa implies that she understands why Nina loves Mexico. Maybe she felt that the people there were welcoming or because she felt very comfortable there.

At any rate, by saying “I know what you mean,” you show that you understand the deeper meaning behind what someone said, which can help you build a connection.

4. I can relate (to that).

“I can relate (to that)” is another way to say that you can “relate to” what someone is saying. In this context, “relate” doesn’t mean “to be connected to.” 

It means to understand someone’s experience or situation. For example, someone who has never left their town probably could not “relate to” the experiences of someone who has traveled all around the world.

A middle school teacher uses this phrase in this video:

Basically, a student tells the teacher that her great grandmother lived on an alligator farm. The teacher says, “I can relate to that …, because I teach middle school.”

In other words, she can probably understand what the student’s great grandmother’s life was like, because middle school students are like alligators!

5. Agreed!

“Agreed!” is an emphatic way to agree with someone. Check out how they’re used in the following two dialogues:

“Agreed!” comes from the phrase “It is agreed,” which is no longer commonly used. 

6. Tell me about it!

This is not the expression that you say to someone to ask them to tell you something. In this context, “Tell me about it” is another way to emphasize that you completely understand what your conversation partner is saying.

Here’s an example:

In the dialogue above, Sarah strongly sympathizes with Brian’s hatred of mosquitoes. By saying “Tell me about it!”, we can guess that she has probably had a lot of negative experiences with them!

Here’s a real-life example:

In this interview, the comedian Jerry Seinfield tells his guest, Neal Brennan, that he’s charismatic. Neal replies, “Tell me about it!” and the crowd laughs.

You might be wondering why “Tell me about it!” can be used this way. Originally, it was a sarcastic expression. If someone told you something you already knew about, and you replied, “Tell me about it,” you’re sarcastically telling the other person that they don’t need to tell you about it. 

However, these days, it has lost its sarcastic quality and is just a way to show someone that you know how they feel.

7. I know, right? 

“I know, right?” is a very emphatic way to agree with someone and to show that you share their experience. Let’s break down this expression:

  • “I know” shows that you agree with your conversation partner.
  • “Right?” here is not being used to ask for confirmation. Think of it like “Isn’t it?

Let’s look at this phrase in action:

“I know, right?” here means “Yes, mosquitoes really shouldn’t exist.” Sarah is showing that she shares Brian’s hatred of mosquitoes. Just like Brian, Sarah has probably also had terrible experiences with mosquitoes.

Here’s a YouTube video where someone uses “I know, right?”

In the video, the man standing is in the middle of reading something when he says, “This makes me so sad” and the man behind him replies, “I know, right?”

On the Internet, you’ll see people write IKR or ikr for short.

8. I get you.

“I get you” is a slang way to show you understand someone and really relate to them.

Here’s a video, in which a hair stylist uses this phrase:

In the video, a freelancer asks for advice on how to stay optimistic when business is slow. The hair stylist’s “I get you” shows that he totally understands, because there are also times when he doesn’t have many customers, too.

9. I hear you.

“I hear you'' is another slang expression. It doesn’t just mean “I’m listening to you” but “I hear what you’re saying and I totally understand.”

You can hear former US President Obama using it in this speech:

Here, he’s basically saying that he wants to help Americans achieve the American dream. By saying “I hear you,” he shows that he knows how difficult it is to fulfill this dream these days and that he sympathizes.

10. I’m with you (on that).

“I’m with you (on that)” is also a casual way to show that you share the speaker’s feelings. For example:

In the dialogue, Sarah doesn’t just hear or get Liam. On top of sympathizing with his hatred for mosquitoes, she completely supports his opinion that mosquitoes shouldn’t exist.

As you can see, “I’m with you” sounds stronger than “I hear you'' and “I get you.” After all, you don’t just understand the person; you’re with them. You’ve probably experienced the same thing as them and you support them.

So it’s not just an expression of agreement; it’s an expression of support. In fact, there’s a song called “I’m With You.” The lyrics go, “I don't know who you are, but I … I'm with you.”

Here, the singer, Avril Lavigne, is saying, “I don’t know who you are, but you’re not alone” or “I support you.”

If you want to agree even more strongly, you can say “I’m right there with you,” “I’m completely with you (on that)” or “I’m with you all the way.”

Your Turn

To review, here are all ten expressions again:

  1. I feel the same way.
  2. I know how you feel.
  3. I know what you mean.
  4. I can relate (to that).
  5. Agreed!
  6. Tell me about it!
  7. I know, right?
  8. I hear you.
  9. I get you.
  10. I’m with you (on that).

Expressions 1-4 are quite standard, while expressions 5-7 are informal, and expressions 8-10 are slang.

Use them in your next conversation! You’ll definitely form a deeper connection with whomever you’re talking to.

Or try using them in a lesson with some online conversation tutors. Sign up for a free lesson now!