Lack of Empathy? 8 Tips For Empathetic Behavior

Tips For Empathetic Behavior

Do you know someone who shows little empathy? This can be frustrating. It can make you restless, angry, disappointed or sad.

You may even feel betrayed because the other person shows little compassion for something very important to you or when you need them the most.

It’s even more difficult when your partner or your friends are unable to empathize with your feelings.

We consider them to be friends and have a close relationship with them, but sometimes you doubt or feel that this only comes from one side.

Purpose of this article: In this article we discuss tips for empathetic behavior what empathy means and what are the characteristics of a lack of empathy. Tips are also given to be more empathetic. When you can deal with this better, you will disappoint and frustrate others less, build better relationships with others and become happier in life.

What exactly is empathy?

Tips For Empathetic Behavior

But first we need to understand what empathy actually means.

Only then can we define what a lack of empathy actually is and how you can be more empathetic.

De Dikke van Dale gives the following definition of empathy.

Empathy: “Ability to empathize with the feelings of others” (Source:  Dikke van Dale )

The word comes from the Greek word “empatheia”, which refers to physical affection or passion.

Empathy means experiencing the thoughts, feelings, and disposition of another person and trying to understand the other person from their own perspective, rather than seeing the situation and feelings from your own perspective.

You try to empathize with the other person and imagine what they feel and experience. So you try to put yourself in their shoes.

When you do this, you can better understand the other person and show empathy, or understanding.

In this way, empathy is a social behavior that often results in extending a helping hand or a listening ear.

When someone is genuinely empathetic, it comes from within, rather than from a forced feeling. An empathetic person is a compassionate person who genuinely sympathizes with others and takes an interest in the other person.

In other words, empathy is the ability to put yourself in the position of another, both emotionally and mentally. The degree of empathy thus reflects the degree of emotional intelligence.

Empathy and personal development

Tips For Empathetic Behavior

Man is by nature a social being. Yet not every person is blessed with an empathic ability. Some are more empathetic than others.

Empathy is an emotional and cognitive skill . This skill develops already around the infancy of each person. You can notice this in the child.

For example, the child may become sad when another child is sad. A child can also fool another, but also be genuinely affected when he / she makes another person sad.

Like emotional and cognitive development, the degree of empathic development depends on both personal and environmental factors.

For example, the character of the child influences the development of the empathic capacity.

But the environment in which the child grows up can also influence the degree of empathy later in life.

The environment in which the child grows up can determine the degree of empathy later in life

A child’s ability to understand and see what other children are feeling is something that the child has to develop himself.

This development may not be forthcoming or may be limited. This can then explain a lack of empathy later in life.

This lack of empathy can have a major impact on this person later in life.

When you know about yourself that you lack empathy, you are aware that other people experience something different.

It can be the cause of a personal conflict in which you realize that there is a communication breakdown between you and other people, including, for example, your partner.

A lack of empathy can affect the quality of your intimate relationships.

At some point you may notice this. It can also result in being hateful to other people, beliefs, traditions or ways of life.

What makes someone empathetic?

Tips For Empathetic Behavior

How can you recognize an empathetic person?

An empathetic person is able to recognize and absorb the emotions and body characteristics of others. Empaths are often very sensitive and have a strong intuition.

This has an effect on an empathetic person’s own emotions and feelings.

As a result, they can have panic attacks or experience depression, addictions and chronic fatigue.

How can you recognize an empathetic person?

1. They are very sensitive

Empaths naturally think a lot about others, which allows them to efface themselves.

They are spiritually open and good listeners. They will always be there for you.

You could say that empaths are too sensitive and should think more about themselves. Too much empathy can also be related to high sensitivity.

2. They absorb the emotions of others

Empathetic people are focused on how others feel. They feel everything.

They often tend to be very sensitive to negativity from others, such as anger or fear. However, they thrive on loving and calm people.

3. Many empathetic people are introverted

Empaths tend to be introverted and prefer one-on-one contact or in small groups.

4. Empathetic people rely on their intuition

It is important for them to develop their intuition. They have a certain gut feeling about people and situations.

This helps them to put their energy into developing positive relationships and avoid negative energies.

5. Empathetic people can also be good alone

They occasionally need time to recharge.

Empathetic people can be emotionally drained by certain people around them.

By escaping this for a while, they can avoid emotional overload.

6. Empathetic people can be buried in an intimate relationship

Therefore, they prefer to avoid an intimate relationship. Deep down they are afraid of being buried and losing their identity.

7. Empathetic people can’t handle negative energy

They are therefore very sensitive to people who absorb the energy of others.

These are people with a lot of anger, negativity, people who gossip a lot and who radiate a lot of negativity. Empaths can be buried under this.

Empathetic people have an aversion to narcissists in particular, who express almost no empathic feelings.

But they also have an emotional aversion to people who take on the victim role, don’t stop talking, drama queens, and so on.

8. Empathetic people can recharge themselves in nature

In a natural environment, empathetic people can relax again. Away from the people.

9. Empathetic People Have Sensitive Senses

As a result, they can be overwhelmed by noise, strong smells, rooms with many people, and so on.

10. Empathetic people have huge hearts and sometimes give too much

Empathetic people are often seen as nice people. They always try to relieve the pain of another.

It doesn’t stop there…

They absorb the pain of another, as it were, causing them to become restless within themselves and may feel emotionally exhausted afterwards.

It is therefore good for an empathetic person to find a balance.

For example, by meditating or going into nature. Empaths need to learn to take care of themselves as well.

Lack of empathy

You have read above how to recognize an empathetic person.

However, there are also many people who lack empathy.

 An extreme form of lack of empathy is a conduct disorder referred to as narcissism.

How can you recognize people with a lack of empathy?

  • They are quick to criticize others without putting themselves in someone else’s situation.
  • They seem indifferent to those in a worse situation and to those who are suffering.
  • They are 100% convinced of their own ideas and beliefs  and judge other people’s beliefs as wrong, ignorant and sometimes even idiotic.
  • They have trouble being happy for others.
  • They have trouble making friends and maintaining friendships.
  • They have trouble getting along with family members.
  • They feel that they have the right to help and things from others, so they don’t have to express appreciation for this. They can even get offended when they don’t get their way.
  • They prefer to talk about themselves in groups without listening to what others say. In this they often interrupt others to tell about themselves again.
  • They do or say things that hurt friends or the partner. They tend to blame others.
  • Without empathy, it is difficult to develop deep emotional relationships with others. This is visible in the social life and behavior of a person with a lack of empathy.

No empathy in a relationship

Empathy is a social skill that is partly innate and partly learned.

That means that part of your sense of empathy is in your character, but you can also develop empathy in, for example, your upbringing and through experiences you have gained in life. This means that we need to get in touch with our emotions to become more empathetic.

People who lack empathy probably grew up in families where there was little room for emotions and feelings.

In some cases, feelings and emotions were not even valued or showing emotions as ‘bad’ or negative was judged.

As a result, these individuals learn at an early stage in their lives to hide their feelings. This can have an effect on the way they show their feelings and emotions for the rest of their lives.

They may eventually develop self-pity and a lack of self-confidence.

They are probably not aware of it themselves, but a disconnection between the emotions and feelings is a defense mechanism of their own ego.

When empathizing with the feelings and emotions of others, they need to get in touch with their own emotions. In their case, this can hurt and they prefer to avoid it.

Due to this mechanism, people with a lack of empathy are unable to empathize with the feelings of others. This can become a problem when they enter into relationships with others, especially men.

In most cases, it is only possible to change when you consciously choose to retrain your thoughts and feelings.

Also, listen  to Harvard Medical School professor Helen Riess , who talks about the power of empathy:

Behavioral Disorders

The lack of empathy can lead to serious behavioral disorders. A well-known example of this is narcissism .

Other forms are personality disorders where people find it difficult to form social relationships with others or where they have psychopathic problems.

In these cases, these individuals need professional help. However, they must be open to this.

Empathy at work and Tips For Empathetic Behavior

Many people spend a large part of their day at work.

A certain level of empathy is also very important in the workplace.

This allows you to communicate effectively with your colleagues and build good, productive relationships with colleagues, understand customers better, deal with conflicts and predict situations in the workplace better.

A good level of empathy will also allow you to develop good leadership skills as it will allow you to better understand your colleagues.

Do you want to improve your performance in the workplace? A really good way is to be more empathetic at work.

The following tips can help you with this:

Tip 1: Listen, and don’t interrupt others

An empathetic person has the ability to really listen to others without criticizing or interrupting them.

In contrast, a person with a lack of empathy has no interest in what the other has to say.

Do you see the difference?

You will find that you will be much more appreciated by others when you sincerely listen to their story and problems.

This gives others the impression that you are genuinely interested in them.

People who are sincere, are interested in others and listen well are considered nicer and more fun, but are also a more valuable part of the team.

Tip 2: Smile at people 

What do you think is the most friendly person from your childhood? Can you still remember this person?

Chances are you remember this person with a smile.

People who smile are considered friendlier and nicer. When you smile at others, you open yourself up to them without making yourself vulnerable. People who smile radiate a certain positivity.

Other empaths will smile back, while those lacking in empathy will radiate negativity.

It is a basic form of kindness and humanity that will open doors for you.

Tip 3: Ask relevant questions

When you are genuinely interested in another person and listen to them, you ask relevant questions that matter. To do this, you must continue to listen carefully during the conversation.

Relevant questions are appreciated by others. These questions show that you are interested. This way you earn points in one go compared to others.

A good way to ask relevant questions is to focus on asking questions during the conversation.

That’s why you listen carefully. When a good, relevant question comes up, you remember it better. You can write this question down if you want.

Be sure to ask the relevant question when the other person has finished speaking so that you don’t interrupt the other person.

Tip 4: Be fully present. 

Using your cell phone in social situations is more than anything to show a lack of interest and empathy these days.

This can be experienced as very disturbing.

When you are in lack with another, it is important that you are fully present with your thoughts.

Try not to think about other things and don’t let your mind wander. This shows disinterest and therefore gives a very bad impression.

When you are in a meeting or have a (group) conversation with another person, it shows a lot of disinterest if you check incoming messages on your phone, check your social media or notice an incoming email.

A good way to be more empathetic is to put your phone on silent during important times of the day. Then you can focus completely on the other person without being disturbed or distracted.

Tip 5: Try to empathize with the other person 

Try to understand the other. What are his or her feelings, thoughts or experiences?

How does the other person experience a certain situation? Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

This will make you more empathetic. By understanding another person better, you can understand why the other person reacts or behaves a certain way.

You can empathize more with the situation of another person and therefore react more compassionately.

Tip 6: Make yourself vulnerable

We live in a society where we think we have to be tough and strong.

At the same time, vulnerability, empathy and loving response are seen as a weakness.

 This is actually strange, because everyone appreciates empathetic and loving people.

Empaths have the ability to be open to others. This makes them vulnerable, but at the same time strong.

Empathetic people are valued and liked by others.

Make yourself vulnerable. This is a process. Don’t be afraid to ask, because asking shows interest. 

Tip 7: Don’t make assumptions 

This is related to point 6, vulnerability. Dare to ask others.

When something is unclear or when you are interested in someone else, it is much better to ask instead of making wrong assumptions.

Wrong assumptions are deadly.

And why actually? An empathetic person is interested in the other, asks and enters into conversation with the other.

By assuming things without being sure, you can mistakenly get a completely wrong picture of a person or a situation.

Tip 8: See empathy as a skill

Do you want to become more empathetic? That is understandable. The world gets a little better with more empathy.

In the workplace, with more empathy, you can build better relationships with colleagues, become more productive, and be more successful at your job.

Contrary to what people with a lack of empathy think, you can’t do it alone, you need others to become more successful. Being more empathetic helps with this.

The way to become more empathetic is to practice. The tips above can help you with this.

For example, try practicing one point for a week. You will find that as you practice, it will become more and more natural. Try it!


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