Empathetic people aren’t always that easy to find – we’re those rare foil-wrapped Lindt truffles, smooth on the outside and gooey in the center. So how d’you spot an empathetic person from a mile off? Here are 16 habits to help you find these shining jewels among the crowd – because they are very worth finding.
1. They overspend on presents
The most empathetic of us trawl the internet for the perfect gift to light up birthdays everywhere. That expensive lawn mower that we can’t really afford for Mum, that newest of the cool gadgets Dad wanted, the signed Britney CD for our best friend (who is slightly stuck in the past…) Because as empathasisers, we don’t just feel others’ pain, we feel their pleasure.
2. They overthink
Because we are always stuck in the shoes of other people, looking through the eyes of those around us, we can be rather harsh on ourselves and overthink things. We’retoonice. Sometimes we take it too hard when we are criticized and are too keen to please. We should be better to ourselves and stop caring quite so much about what other people think.
3. They’re mega affectionate on social media
Do you have that one friend who likesevery singlephoto, status, blog post and whatever else you throw at the internet? I know, we’re like an army of like-happy stalkers, all over your Instagram, your Facebook, your Twitter – we even endorse you on LinkedIn. Because we know how it feels when no one likes our stuff and we love you far too much to let that happen.
4. They never bail
You have plans? You’ve been looking forward to that fat burger at Five Guys all day? Never fear, we may have trying headaches and an early start tomorrow but we will be there, because we hate how it feels to be let down and we refuse to be the cause of that in our friends.
5. They’re great bakers
When you’re down in the dumps, we get our oven mitts on, because we know all you need is a moist slice of cakey goodness to get you back on your feet. We’ve perfected the art of Oreo brownies and we know your favorite desserts by heart.
6. They’re great in the sack
We’re great at romance and we like to know what makes you tick. We’ll always treat you well and we’re always aware of just how much fun you’rereallyhaving. You want generosity? Check in with an empie.
7. They always use their pleases and thank yous
You barrel into us on the street and knock our bags out of our hands? We’ll probably be the ones to apologize first. And when someone thanks us, our instinct is not ‘you’re welcome’, but a ‘thank you’ right back (we know it makes no sense, it’s just hardwired into our niceness…) We’re uber polite, perhaps too polite, but our parents taught us our manners and we stick to them.
8. They’ll always leave you the last Malteser
If you know any empathisers in your life, treat them to the last biscuit in the barrel, the last donut, the last Revel (even if it is that shriveled chocolate raisin). Because empiesalways, without fail,give out the last goodie to anyone else who will take it. Because it makes us happier to make your day than to indulge ourselves.
9. They love animals
If we see a golden retriever on the train or find a cat in a car park, we will love that little fur ball as if we have known the critter our whole life. Lock your pets away because we might just steal them (except we would feel your loss and return said creature immediately, before the cycle started all over again).
10. Theyalwaysfeel guilty
We didn’t text you back, we forgot about an appointment and wasted the doctor’s much-sought-after time, we dropped the ball on the most high-profile project of the year at the office – it all cuts us like a knife. Because we don’t just feel our own pain, we take the bullet for the whole building.
11. They’re big on comfort eating
Empathisers really appreciate a good tasty treat, because we’re so aware of the comfort it gives us. And man, when the boyfriend dumps us in Zizzi’s or our boss demotes us for photocopying our unmentionables, boy do we hit Ben and Jerry’s hard. Because it makes us feel so damn good.
12. They sometimes cry in bathrooms
Empathisers are always there for you, but rarely ask for that support to be returned. We’re so attuned to others that we jump to aid anyone who is upset, which means that we often expect others to have the same intuition. Which often leads to lonely emotional outpourings in public toilets.
13. They couldn’t harm a fly
Literally. Empies are even sensitive to insects and no matter how many nightmares we have about that hairy eight-legged monster in the corner of the bedroom, we willnotdestroy. We’ll cup-and-paper it if we’re feeling brave, but mostly, we’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist. And when our cat brings in a half dead mouse? The pet ambulance is here – we’ll race down the road to the nearest vet and if that mouse can be saved, we’ll make damn sure that it is.
14. They are experts in all things tea-related
White, with two sugars, lukewarm? Half a dash of milk and one sweetener? We’ve got your back. We remember how much you love your cuppa and we do not disappoint with those warming leaves of glory. Which makes us the very best of hosts – no need to grin and bear it, your empie friend knows how you feel before you do and has used their magical empathetic skills to suss you out.
15. They give great hugs
None of those reserved bodies-barely-touching hugs from us empies – full on close cuddles are our forte. We’ll get all up in your grill and invade your personal space, because that’s where we know we belong.
16. They stick like glue
You’ll never get rid of an empie once you’ve befriended them. You can have the biggest row and your empie will forgive you immediately – because we know what you’re really feeling, what the fight is really about, and we couldn’t possibly hold it against you when you’re in such emotional distress over the loss of poor Mr Flops, the cutest, most loyal bunny in the country. So kick and scream but you can’t get rid of us that easily – we’ll just hug you into submission for years to come.
Featured photo credit: Flikr, John Remy via flickr.com