I am writing a small essay wherein I want to urge the reader to "look at his problem from the other person's perspective" (to understand why the other person is behaving in a particular way).

Example: (just making this up, not from my actual essay, which is somewhat ... uhm, confidential)

Jane: My husband is always late from work, and he even works weekends. He never seems to have time for me.
Friend: I have sympathies for you. However, try looking at this from his perspective. Well paying jobs are hard to come by, and he needs the overtime to build a good future for your family.

Is there a more "flowery" or idiomatic expression I could use to replace the italicized phrase?

I used to occasionally use put the boot on the other foot, but I recently realized that it doesn't mean what I thought it meant.


Looking at this from his perspective sounds good to me. You could also say

  • putting yourself in his position
  • looking at it through his eyes.

If you really want an idiom, in addition to putting yourself in his shoes, you could try walking a mile in his shoes:

walk a mile in (someone's) shoes
To spend time trying to consider or understand another person's perspectives, experiences, or motivations before making a judgment about them. I know that certain people can come across as selfish or mean-spirited, but you should try walking a mile in their shoes before you dismiss them too quickly.


put oneself in someone's shoes or in someone's place are the only expressions that come to my mind.

  • Are they formal expressions ? Can they be used in academic writing ? Jan 23 '17 at 0:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.