If you’d like to learn how to develop an empathetic mindset, you’re in the right place.
In my role as a life coach, I am often teaching people how to curate stronger relationships with those around them.
Empathy plays a key role here. That’s why I was keen to publish a helpful guide on this subject.
Below, you’ll learn 11 key traits of an empathetic person, why showing empathy is important and how it can help you connect with other people.
So, let’s dive in.
Empathetic Person Traits
It’s commonly suggested that some people are naturally empathetic, while others aren’t.
While this might be true to an extent, it has also been argued that humans naturally show empathy to others. It’s certainly possible to learn how to feel and show more empathy.
Below, we’ll explore 11 traits of an empathic mindset and how you can learn to develop them yourself.
1. They Consciously Try To Experience Another Person’s Perspective
We all live in our own version of reality. Our unique view of the world based on our senses, values and experiences.
An empathetic person will make the conscious effort to try and understand the world from someone else’s reality too.
Their efforts to do this immediately helps to create a stronger bond with those around them.
2. They Actively Think Beyond Their Own Needs
In any given situation, an empath will consider what everyone else needs. Their school of thought always extends beyond themselves.
In other words, they behave with selflessness. This is a great way to get people to like you.
3. They Have The Emotional Intelligence To Observe And Understand Others
To be aware of what other people want and need, it’s important to observe their behavior.
Empaths have the emotional intelligence to be able to read what others may need based on their facial expressions, tone of voice, body language etc.
This skill can be gained through social experience, although only if one is actively attempting to care what other people need in the first place.
A good first step is to practice observing other people – and trying to imagine how they might be feeling. Are they at ease? Are they experiencing some form of anxiety? What could make this other person feel better in this moment? After a while, you could try asking yourself these questions about people as you talk to them.
These perspective-taking exercises can make it easier to connect with others over time.
4. They Use Active Listening
During a typical conversation, most people are stuck in self-reflection. They’re usually too busy formulating a response to actively listen to someone or care deeply about what they’re saying. Either that or they caught up in thoughts like:
“How do I feel about this?”
“How does this affect me?”
“When is my turn to talk?”
You can boost your empathy mindset by scrapping these habits and adopting active listening behaviors instead.
Active listening requires you to fully focus on whoever is talking to you. Be present. Maintain eye contact. Show them you’re listening. Keep encouraging them to talk using nods or verbal cues.
Rather than rushing to share your opinion on the matter, take a moment to consider their statement. Why are they saying it? Is there something they’re feeling but not saying? Ask them follow-up questions to ensure you fully understand what they’re trying to tell you.
When you adopt active listening techniques, it becomes much easier to connect with people and create lasting bonds.
5. They Take The Time To Try And Understand Other’s Beliefs
When someone has strong differences in opinion to us, it’s common to shut down this person’s perspective and blindly fight for our own point of view.
An empath will resist this urge and try to understand why someone has a different perspective on a certain topic. It’s possible to understand, acknowledge and respect someone’s opinion without sharing it.
When two people have this mutual understanding, it becomes easier to have a debate without hurting each other’s feelings.
6. They Don’t Label People
It’s common to quickly judge people who have a certain perspective on life or behave in a certain way. Often, we’ll label them as a specific category of person without bothering to fish for more evidence.
An empath will have the self-awareness to ignore this confirmation bias. Instead, they’ll try to gain insight into why someone is thinking or acting a certain way.
7. They Address Emotions Before Fixing A Problem
When someone comes to you with a problem, it can be tempting to jump straight into fixing it.
Indeed, this is sometimes the best thing to do. A quick-fix is often needed in a fast-paced business environment, for example.
However, in social situations, it usually makes more sense to address someone’s feelings about the problem first, then find solutions afterwards. This is especially within families and especially in romantic relationships
An empath is more likely to do this – and this is why they’re especially good at handling personal conflicts.
8. They Consider Other People’s Feelings When Giving Feedback
A boss who lacks basic soft skills might be prone to giving blunt feedback.
“This research is wrong. Do it like this.”
A more intelligent and empathetic boss will consider how someone may feel about their request and address this within their instructions.
“I see you’ve put effort into this research – and perhaps this might frustrate you – but we need it done like this.”
Delivering feedback with empathy is a vital skill to learn if you’re a leader of any type. When you do so, you’re far more likely to encourage someone to empathize with what you need.
If you want to get better at this skill, research these guides on Constructive Conversations: KEY Aspects To Master and How To Say What You Mean – Ways To Clear Communication.
9. They Figure Out When To Build People Up – And When To Tear Them Down
Some people respond awfully to blunt criticism, while others are inspired to prove their critic wrong.
An empath will consider what a person needs to perform better next time, rather than delivering feedback based purely on their own emotions.
10. They Are Quicker To Forgive Others
When you take the time to understand the motives behind someone’s behavior, it becomes easier to forgive them.
The ability to forgive someone is great for your overall emotional state. Holding grudges does nothing but weigh you down emotionally.
If you’d like to improve at being able to forgive people, check out this list of 31 Forgiveness Exercises & Activities With Breakthrough Exercises.
11. They Show Compassion
When you gain a stronger understanding of how people are feeling, it is natural to feel the urge to help them out. When you see someone in need and offer assistamce, that is often referred to as ‘compassionate empathy’.
Why Should You Aim To Become More Empathetic
Wondering why it’s important to show empathy to your fellow man?
If you take these steps to cultivate a more empathic mindset today, you can expect to benefit from the following advantages:
- You’ll cultivate stronger relationships with others.
- You’ll understand the needs of those around you better.
- You’ll become better at dealing with conflict.
- You’ll become better at teaching, leading and motivating others.
- You’ll become better at persuading others.
- You’ll be less likely to hurt other people’s feelings.
- You’ll find it easier to tolerate others, particularly those who think differently to you.
Whether you’re teaching children at school or asking for help from work colleagues, the ability to feel empathy will go a long way. In fact, it’s arguably an essential skill to help you succeed in your personal or professional life. Once you develop it, you might find the way people react to you has completely changed.
You might find it tough to cultivate empathy for others at first. But, like with all people skills, it gets easier the more you practice.
Related content: 11 Secrets Why You Are Capable Of Amazing Things
Empathic Mindset: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some short answers to some frequently asked questions about empathy.
What Does It Mean To Be Empathic?: Psychology
According to the Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, empathy is defined as understanding another person’s experience by imagining oneself in that other person’s situation.
Is Empathy A Mindset?
Yes, empathy is an emotion you can consciously choose to cultivate within yourself. This isn’t a feeling which some people have and others don’t.
Empathetic Attitude Meaning
An empathetic attitude means that someone is often likely to consider other people’s thoughts, feelings, desires and emotions.
What Does Empathetic Personality Mean?
If one of a person’s defining strengths was the ability to consider other people’s feelings, they might be considered to have an ‘empathetic personality’.
What Is Empathy Behavior?
We’ve explored the traits of an empathic mindset, but how does this translate in terms of real-life behavior?
Here is a short list of behaviors you can expect to witness from an empath:
- Performing acts of kindness;
- Checking how others are feeling;
- Asking other people’s opinions;
- Listening more than talking;
- Doing favors for others;
- Calming conflicts;
- Helping people out of tough situations.
Empathetic Person Example
An empathetic person is someone with the ability to feel how you’re feeling.
Let’s imagine you share some bad news from your life. An empathetic person might respond by crying. The news has no direct impact on their life, but they feel the same negative emotion as you do.
They may respond by giving words of comfort, based on how you must be feeling. They put themselves in your shoes and were able to give an appropriate response.
These feelings could lead to them helping you out. However, it is also possible to help someone out without feeling any empathy.
Remember, empathy is the feeling, not the act.
Empathic Personality Disorder
Psychologists use this term “Empathic Personality Disorder” to describe someone who has too much empathy. Empathic Personality Disorder might lead someone to harm their lives via the denial of their own needs, wishes and desires.
Hyper-empathy is the term used to describe the behavior of someone with Empathic Personality Disorder.
Teaching Empathy To Others
It’s often argued that it’s human nature to feel empathy for others. It’s not something that students learn at school.
However, there’s plenty of evidence that empathy is something which kids struggle to understand at a young age.
What’s more, there would appear to be plenty of older children and adults out there who could do with a lesson in the importance of empathy.
The exercises mentioned in this article should be able to help them.
Any More Questions About The Empathetic Mindset?
Thanks for reading my guide about the empath mindset. I hope you found it helpful.
Hopefully, it’s given you the knowledge and motivation to show higher levels of empathy to others.
If you have any stories to tell, ideas to share or questions to ask about this subject, feel free to do so in the comments section below.
It’s always great to hear what other people are thinking about these topics, and it would mean the world to hear from you.