If you display these 9 behaviors, you’re more empathetic than you realize

The ability to understand the feelings of others and relate on a deep emotional level (AKA empathy) is one of the most sought-after personality traits.

It helps us build trust, handle conflict, support one another, and express love.

Why wouldn’t you want to be empathetic?

Studies show empathy even makes you more desirable and attractive to the opposite sex.

How empathetic are you? (because it’s not always obvious).

Well, if you recognize these nine behaviors, chances are you’re more empathetic than you realize.

1) Enjoy a good heart-to-heart

Do friends and family often come to you for advice?

If you’re a deep and meaningful magnet, it’s probably because people see empathetic qualities in you.

But there’s an important distinction here.

Despite what many people think, giving solid practical advice isn’t actually a sign of empathy. It’s problem-solving (and isn’t always appreciated).

Instead, I’m talking about asking plenty of open-ended questions and trying to put yourself in other people’s shoes.

Stuff like “How is this situation affecting you?” or “What would be the ideal outcome?”

If you genuinely like the challenge of getting into someone’s head and helping them get things straight (without trying to fix them), you’re probably more empathetic than you realize.

2) Break things down (see all the angles)

Having a sense of perspective is the cornerstone of empathy.

If you have no problem analyzing a scenario from every angle (and seeing things from other points of view) you have strong empathetic qualities.

This actually crops up a lot in team environments.

For example, if a team member is struggling to carry their weight (due to personal issues) how would you deal with it?

You could be dismissive and tell them to deal with it without affecting the rest of the team (failing to recognize their struggles).

Or you could hear them out and explore ways the team could collectively work together to ensure the project’s success (while considering everyone’s well-being).

The latter option is clearly more empathetic.

3) Read emotions (like a poker shark)

Picking up on nonverbal cues is a strength often associated with empaths.

First, you have body language.

Posture, facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures, and physical contact.

But there’s also the ability to quickly pick up on the emotional state of others.

For example, if someone is stressed, angry, or frustrated.

Then there’s the ability to read the room. In other words, effectively read the collective mood of a group of people.

If you’re a natural at this, you’re more empathetic than you realize. You might even want to consider taking up professional poker, where the ability to read people comes in very handy!

4) You’re all ears

newimagesize 2023 08 23T154109.630 If you display these 9 behaviors, you’re more empathetic than you realize

There’s a big difference between talking at someone and talking to someone.

It comes down to how well they listen.

Active listening is about being focused and in the moment. It involves asking follow-up questions, nonverbal prompting, and basically giving someone your full attention.

Empathetic individuals are great active listeners.

So, if you have no problem listening to people for hours on end (even if they’re not that interesting), you have a high level of empathy.

5) Steer clear of judging

Another big giveaway that you’re more empathetic than you realize, is if you avoid judging people.

Instead, you might find yourself reserving judgment and trying to understand the underlying reasons behind someone’s behavior.

Here’s the thing.

At the end of the day, we’re all human and we’ve all gone through a ton of both positive and negative experiences to get to where we are today.

Our life journey shapes us and sometimes defines our personality.

Empathetic people get this.

So where some might see an angry guy in traffic and conclude they’re just being an a-hole, empaths prefer to think about why they might be experiencing road rage and what led them to develop anger issues.

6) Have no problem apologizing (and forgiving)

Recognizing when you’ve done something wrong (or hurt someone) and offering a heartfelt apology are telltale signs of empathy.

Again, it comes down to looking at a situation from someone else’s point of view.

You’re able to easily appreciate how your behavior may have affected someone else, so have no problem saying sorry (and actually meaning it)

That’s not all

Empaths are also great at forgiving others.

Because (you guessed it) they can see exactly why they may have acted the way they did.

7) Love celebrating the success of others

Do you find yourself genuinely happy for the success and achievements of others?

If so, you’re probably more empathetic than you realize.

In other words, you don’t feel threatened or jealous. 

Instead, you get that they probably worked hard for their job promotion or kissed a lot of frogs before meeting their prince charming. Either way, you want to share in their joy (and buy them a drink or two).

8) You know when you’ve got too far

Respecting the boundaries of others is an often overlooked trait (but incredibly important). Plus, a big sign of (you’ve guessed it) empathy.

I’m talking about both physical and emotional boundaries.

And it might not be you specifically, that is crossing them.

For example, have you ever been at a party where you feel like things have gone too far? Perhaps it’s not funny anymore, yet they keep going.

What starts as playful banter could end in making someone super uncomfortable (or worse still, bullying).

Maybe YOU can spot that someone has had enough (but others are not really reading the situation).

Well, that’s recognizing boundaries (and that’s being empathetic).

9) You can’t help but express your gratitude

Finally, a slamdunk sign that you’re more empathetic than you realize, is if you’re eternally grateful for the efforts and kindness of people around you.

You’re basically aware (and appreciate) that someone has gone out of their way for you.

And they didn’t have to.

At the very least, you say thank you. Occasionally you’ll want to return the favor (or feel like you owe them one for next time).

Picture of Leila El-Dean

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.