18 Behaviors That Suggest You’re Not as Empathetic as You Thought

The general definition of empathy is having the ability to sense other people’s emotions. It’s when you can easily put yourself in other people’s shoes. Sometimes it’s assumed that someone has this ability; however, this may not be the case. Here are 18 behaviors that suggest you’re not as empathetic as you may have believed.

Not paying attention to verbal cues

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One of the common traits of empathetic people is the ability to pay attention to verbal cues. Things people say, their expressions, and their body language are all included in this. For some, it’s easier to see these than for others. Those who don’t have empathy tend to miss these cues, which can cause misinterpretation.

Talking over others

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When people are talking and you interrupt them during their conversations, it’s not a sign of having empathy; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Interrupting or talking over others or not letting them finish what they’re saying before you start to talk is just being rude. It shows them that what you’re saying is more important.

Seeing things from another perspective

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As mentioned in the introduction, empathy requires us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Struggling to understand other people’s viewpoints, especially if they differ from ours, shows an inability to have empathy. Here are other signs on this Regain website that indicate you may not have empathy when you think you do.

Limited emotional response to others

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Being an empath means experiencing the emotional side of others. If people aren’t affected by the emotional state of others, it’s a lack of empathy. For example, when people are sad, angry, or going through a rough time, we don’t see this easily or ignore it.

Advising without understanding

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Unsolicited advice isn’t something empaths do. When you give other people advice that doesn’t help regarding their circumstances or situations, you lack empathy. It’s more of a sign of dismissing what they’re going through.

Being impatient during discussions

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Often, when people are having discussions amongst themselves and you notice someone being uneasy or looking uncomfortable, it could be due to many reasons. However, it could also be a common indication that these people aren’t being empathetic at the moment and are rather impatient.

Struggling to maintain close relationships

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Being an empath has its good and bad sides. As mentioned in this LinkedIn article on The Biggest Pros and Cons of Being an Empath, there are more pros than cons, and one of them is having the ability to build strong relationships between people. When you lack empathy, it makes it hard to form connections easily.

Blaming others for their emotions

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Real empaths don’t blame others for having certain emotions; they understand that this is a normal part of their immediate circumstances. Those who lack this characteristic tend to blame others for having these emotions, which is a characteristic of a lack of insight.

Emphasizing logic and facts

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Most of those who lack empathy tend to choose logic over emotion in certain scenarios. To be an empath requires you to have an emotional awareness of other people’s feelings. Logic can play a part, but there has to be a balance between the two.

Disregarding others’ emotional distress

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Sometimes, and perhaps consciously or unconsciously, people avoid situations that cause others emotional distress. It makes them uncomfortable, or they just don’t care about their feelings. This is an obvious sign that you don’t have much empathy for the person or situation.

Assuming you know how others are feeling

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Before assuming that you know what others are going through or how they’re feeling, it’s always best to ask them and to listen carefully. When people can’t engage with others and make assumptions about things, it shows they are not being very empathetic.

Not being adaptable

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Certain situations require a sense of adaptability, and when people aren’t flexible enough to adjust their behavior and are stuck in their ways, they can lack empathy. This is especially true in emotional scenarios that others are going through. When you care, you’re more concerned about the other person than your own comfort. Empaths can also take a page out of this article on Psychalive on how to manage things so you don’t get drained.

Taking over a conversation

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Taking over or monopolizing a conversation and disregarding other people’s opinions or discussions shows an inability to listen. Empaths often wait to speak and discuss things openly and fairly, while respecting that everyone is equally allowed to share their opinions.

Being unconcerned about others

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Many of those who have an aloof attitude toward others don’t have much empathy for them. Having heartfelt concern is a strong trait of empaths, and when this doesn’t resonate with you, it could be a sign that you may have thought you were one too, but you aren’t.

Being insensitive toward social and cultural differences

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Cultural differences should be celebrated. As stated on the Diversity and Inclusion at Appalachian State website, it ‘fosters open-mindedness and respect.’ Respecting and easily recognizing that social differences exist is a great characteristic that empaths have. In a world where we have a cosmopolitan society, it doesn’t help much to disregard or be insensitive to different cultures and their beliefs.

Judgmental

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Sometimes it’s easy to judge others from the minute we meet them, and forming a judgment about people before knowing their circumstances, emotions, or personalities is a negative attribute to have, often linked to those who don’t have much empathy.

Not interested in other people’s lives

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Some are too busy to do anything but work and pay heed to their own lives, and then others just don’t see the ability to have an interest in other’s lives as a useful characteristic to have. Empaths often demonstrate curiosity for others, while it’s the opposite for those who miss this.

Inappropriate humor

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Sometimes humor can be a great thing in certain circumstances; it can help bring an easy side to difficult situations. However, when you use humor inappropriately and fail to recognize that now isn’t the time to joke about things, you may be someone who thinks they have empathy but doesn’t.

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