7 signs someone is a deeply empathetic person, according to psychology

Have you ever heard the term ‘empath’ and wondered what that looks like? Perhaps you’ve wondered if you or someone you know is one.

An empath is a person who is extremely perceptive and aware of the feelings and emotions of the people around them. Often so much that it can affect their own mood and emotions in different ways. So these people are more than what you might call just a ‘nice, caring person’.

According to psychologists, many signs indicate if someone is an empath and they will usually embody many if not all of these signs, and often more.

1) Active listening

Have you ever noticed someone who seemed to be actively listening to what you were saying? Perhaps they even remembered something small you’d told them in the past?

This could be a sign that they are an empathic person.

When someone is listening carefully, this means they are really tuning into someone’s feelings and emotions. This can help the speaker feel heard and cared for. The empathic listener might also make sure to let the other person speak, instead of interrupting or changing the conversation to make it about them.

Empaths try to maintain eye contact during conversations and use phrases such as, “I see” or “go on” to make the conversation feel safe for the other person.

All in all, if you are speaking to an empath you will feel as if you’ve been heard and that they actually care about what you have to say to them.

2) Showing compassion

Can you think of a time when you were sharing something personal and emotional with someone and their response made them seem like they really understood what you were feeling?

Psychologist Daniel Goleman has done extensive research into empathy and talks a lot about empathy as a sign of emotional intelligence. He explains that you need to feel your own feelings before you can understand the feelings of others.

So when empathic people are showing compassion, it is because they really understand your feelings, because they have been there themselves. Goleman also explains that empaths deliberately echo other people’s feelings to ensure they are feeling cared for and understood.

3) Avoid judgment

Have you ever poured your heart out to someone only to have them look at you funny or judge you? That person was not showing empathy.

Empaths withhold judgment, understanding that everyone has their own reasons for the decisions they make in their life. They provide a safe space for people to speak honestly.

Carl Rogers and his person-centered theory, explains that when someone is letting someone speak without giving any judgment (positive or negative), they can create a close, trusting relationship with that person.

He goes on to speak about how this can be used within therapy and explains an empathetic person as someone who “conveys an accurate understanding of the patient’s private world throughout the therapy session as if it were their own.”

4) Friends from diverse backgrounds

Something that goes hand-in-hand with avoiding judgment is having friends from diverse backgrounds.

Empaths are often interested in the different perspectives of others and therefore will likely have a lot of different friends from all sorts of different places and ages. And as they are not judgmental, these people’s backgrounds will likely not bother them.

Carl Rogers goes on to explain that empaths embrace diverse perspectives without criticism. And that acceptance and empathy are one and the same.

Openness to experience is a core personality trait, and empaths tend to be very open people. They are always on the lookout for new worldviews, values systems, cultures, and life experiences.

5) They’re affected by the emotions of others

Affected by sadness of others 7 signs someone is a deeply empathetic person, according to psychology

An interesting article on empathy explains that not all empathic traits are positive. At times empaths can take on the sad or negative emotions of others and need to take time out to recharge.

On the flip side, taking on positive and happy energy can fill them with joy.

In relationships, this can result in letting things slide, or forgiving the other person more often because you understand where they are coming from, rather than communicating that you feel upset.

So if you notice these traits in yourself or someone you know, you might be able to understand them a bit more when they take some time out for themselves or avoid conflict.

I know I’ve found myself trying to communicate with people and starting by saying, “I know you’re stressed because of… but this made me feel…” This has really helped me feel like I have got what I needed to say off my chest without offending the other person, and at the same time acknowledging that I understand what they are going through.

6) Helpfulness

Often you might find an empath helping others out. But why?

Generally, these types of people have kind hearts. But because they can also understand what other people are going through, they know what it’s like when you need help and then receive it, thereby wanting others to feel the same.

Helping can also come from an intrinsic motivation to ease the suffering of others. They just want everyone to feel better!

Another reason is that empathetic people worry that they are annoying or a burden to others, so if they are helping out then they feel useful.

This is not always a positive trait as this can lead to people using and abusing the helpfulness of these people.

Do you often just blurt out that you’ll help someone with something before even thinking about it? I’ve done this a lot and have had to train myself to stop and think before offering my help.

Some people need our help, but sometimes I’ve just offered it and the other person hasn’t even asked for or needed any help. Then suddenly, I’m babysitting someone’s kid for the day for free.

7) Feel emotions physically

Have you ever felt worried or upset and then you feel physically sick? This is a huge indicator of empathetic feelings.

Perhaps someone has told you something upsetting for them and you feel as if your own heart is breaking, or you begin to cry.

One of the biggest and most noticeable things about empaths is that they feel emotions physically.

This article talks about how empaths need time alone as they are more prone to depression because they take on other people’s feelings and emotions. It goes on to say that the way their brains function makes it so they mirror the pain of others more deeply.

It finishes by saying that empathetic people need to ensure that they make more time for self-care and self-empathy. A way to show self-empathy is by repeating positive and compassionate affirmations. Another way is setting healthy boundaries with the people around them.

Empathy – the takeaway

Being empathetic is both beautiful and challenging. While deeply connecting with others and providing comfort can be rewarding, empaths need to practice self-care.

If you resonate with this article, be sure to make time for solitary hobbies, and don’t be afraid to say no when you feel overwhelmed.

Remember that you deserve empathy too. Nurture yourself so that you can continue nurturing others from an overflowing cup. With balances in place, your gift of empathy can enrich both your life and the lives of those around you.

Louisa Lopez

Louisa Lopez

Louisa is writer, wellbeing coach, and world traveler, with a Masters in Social Anthropology. She is fascinated by people, psychology, spirituality and exploring psychedelics for personal growth and healing. She’s passionate about helping people and has been giving empowering advice professionally for over 10 years using the tarot. Louisa loves magical adventures and can often be found on a remote jungle island with her dogs. You can connect with her on Twitter: @StormJewel

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