17 things you’ll never hear a truly empathetic person say

If you describe yourself as an “empath,” prepare to be fully seen as you dive into this article.

Being an empathetic person is like being a sponge for other people’s emotions. You absorb and internalize what others are feeling, creating a deep understanding and connection that many others may not experience. 

Empathy is not just about understanding others’ feelings; it’s also about responding with sensitivity and compassion. This ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” is an incredibly powerful trait, and it’s a testament to your capacity for kindness and compassion. 

Being an empathetic person also means there are certain things you’ll never say, simply because they don’t align with your understanding and respectful approach to others’ experiences. 

Here are 17 things you’ll never hear a truly empathetic person say… 

1) “Stop being so sensitive.”

Empathetic people understand that everyone has different levels of sensitivity. They wouldn’t belittle someone for experiencing their feelings more intensely than others.

Being empathetic means validating emotions, not dismissing them. So instead of telling someone they’re being too sensitive, an empathetic person would offer comfort and understanding.

2) “I don’t care.”

As an empathetic person, you inherently care about people’s feelings. Saying “I don’t care” is simply not in your nature.

Your compassion for others means you always take others’ feelings into account. 

Even in situations where you disagree with someone, you would express it in a way that acknowledges their perspective and feelings.

3) “That’s not my problem.”

Empathetic individuals have a strong sense of social responsibility. They don’t shrug off issues that don’t directly affect them.

Just because something isn’t directly your problem doesn’t mean you don’t care about it or want to help if you can. 

This willingness to assist others even when there’s no obligation to do so is a sign of your empathy.

4) “Just get over it.”

If you’re an empath, you’d find this a cardinal sin to say to someone.

Empathetic people understand that emotions aren’t something you can simply turn off or get over at will. They would never tell someone to simply “get over” their feelings.

Empathy involves acknowledging and respecting how someone is feeling, not trying to rush them through their emotions. You understand that healing takes time, and everyone moves at their own pace.

5) “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

Empathetic people are open-minded. They know that there are many perspectives in any situation, and they don’t dismiss others just because they think differently.

As an empath myself, even when I know I’m right, I don’t point it out. I know that my counterpart might honestly not know they’re wrong. I am empathetic enough to let them come to that conclusion on their own when the time is right. 

You understand that it’s not about who’s right or wrong; it’s about understanding where the other person is coming from. 

Your focus is on understanding, not winning an argument.

6) “I can’t be bothered.”

As someone with a lot of empathy, you’re always ready to lend an ear or a helping hand. The phrase “I can’t be bothered” doesn’t align with your compassionate nature.

You know that being there for someone, even when it’s not convenient, can make a world of difference to them. 

This willingness to go out of your way for others is a testament to your empathy.

7) “That’s just how I am.”

odd traits that make you a magnet for toxic people 1 17 things you'll never hear a truly empathetic person say

Empathetic people are self-aware and open to personal growth. They don’t use “that’s just how I am” as an excuse for behavior that may hurt or inconvenience others.

They strive to improve and have a growth mindset. They are open to changing for the better. 

If you’re a true empath, you’re constantly checking in with yourself and reflecting on your actions. 

You understand that personal growth is a lifelong journey, and you’re willing to make changes if they lead to better relationships and a better understanding of yourself and others.

8) “You’re overreacting.”

Telling someone they’re overreacting is a way of invalidating their feelings, something an empathetic person would never do. 

You understand that people react differently to situations based on their past experiences and current state of mind.

Instead of accusing someone of overreacting, you’d show understanding and provide a comforting presence, allowing them to process their emotions in their own way and time.

9) “You should feel…”

Empathetic people understand that everyone has a right to their feelings. They would never dictate how someone else should feel.

Your role as an empathetic person is not to control or dictate emotions but to understand and validate them. 

You respect that everyone’s emotional experience is personal and unique to them.

10) “It’s not a big deal.”

What might not be a big deal to you could be a significant issue for someone else. 

As an empathetic person, you wouldn’t dismiss someone’s concerns or emotions.

Your approach is to listen, understand, and offer support, not to minimize their experiences or feelings. You know that everyone’s perspectives and experiences are valid.

11) “I don’t understand why you’re so upset.”

As an empathetic individual, you make an effort to understand why someone is upset rather than dismissing their feelings.

In fact, you’re so intune with other people’s emotions, you probably can figure out why someone is upset without them even having to say a word. 

Even if you don’t initially understand why someone is feeling a certain way, you’d ask questions and strive to gain a better understanding. Your goal is always to empathize, never to belittle or invalidate.

12) “I told you so.”

Saying “I told you so” can often come off as gloating or condescending, which goes against the empathetic person’s nature.

Instead of rubbing someone’s mistakes in their face, you’d offer comfort, help them learn from the situation, and assure them that everyone makes mistakes.

13) “Why can’t you be more like…”

Comparisons can be hurtful and damaging. 

Empathetic people understand this, and they would never compare someone to others in a negative way.

You value individuality and know that everyone has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Your focus is on understanding and appreciating people for who they are, not who you think they should be.

14) “It could be worse.”

While it’s true that things could always be worse, saying this to someone who’s struggling can feel dismissive and invalidating.

Empathetic people know to avoid this phrase because they don’t aim to kick someone while they’re already down. 

You understand that while someone else might be in a worse situation, that doesn’t make someone else’s pain or struggles any less real or significant.

15) “You’re just being emotional.”

use these little phrases to instantly brighten someones day 17 things you'll never hear a truly empathetic person say

As an empathetic person, you would never invalidate someone’s feelings by calling them “just emotional.”

You understand that emotions are a normal, healthy part of being human, not something to be dismissed or ashamed of. You respect emotions and see them as a way to connect with and understand others better.

16) “That’s not how I would have done it.”

Telling someone “that’s not how I would have done it” can come off as condescending and unsupportive. As an empathetic person, you avoid making such comments.

Instead, you try to understand the thought process behind someone else’s actions, even if they differ from your own. 

You respect the differences and learn from them.

17) “It’s all in your head.”

As an empathetic person, you understand that mental and emotional struggles are just as real as physical ones. 

You’d never tell someone their pain is “all in their head.”

Thanks, empath, for validating other people’s emotions and struggles. You know that validation can often be the first step towards healing and understanding.

What makes an empathetic person?

Someone with empathy possesses certain characteristics that allow them to understand and share the feelings of others. 

Here are some key traits that define an empathetic person:

  • Understanding: They have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. 
  • Emotionally aware: They recognize and validate their own feelings, as well as those of others.
  • Good communicators: They can communicate that they care and understand without belittling or dismissing the feelings of others.
  • Sensitive to others’ needs: They can often pick up on non-verbal cues that indicate someone else’s emotional state.
  • Resilience in emotionally charged situations: They are often the calming force in crisis situations, able to provide comfort and understanding.
  • Strong moral compass: They often stand up for others and advocate for those who may not be able to do so for themselves.
  • Selfless: They have a strong desire to help and comfort others, even if it means setting aside their own needs or comfort.
  • Reflective: They are often introspective and reflective, taking time to think about their actions, how they impact others, and how they can improve.
  • Respect for boundaries: They know that while they can share in someone’s emotional experience, they can’t fix or own those feelings for them.

At the end of the day, being an empathetic person is about more than just understanding other people’s feelings. 

It’s about respecting those feelings, validating them, and responding with kindness and sensitivity. It’s about being a source of comfort and understanding in a world that often moves too quickly to care.

Picture of Ysolt Usigan Schmidt

Ysolt Usigan Schmidt

Ysolt Usigan is a lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years of experience working in digital media. She has created share-worthy content for publishers WomansDay.com, Shape, WhatToExpect, CafeMom, TODAY, CBSNews, HuffingtonPost, TheBump, Health Magazine, and AskMen. A working mom of two, her editorial expertise in relationships, spirituality, mental wellness, shopping, and home are rooted in her everyday life.

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