Is empathy towards bad people bad

Empathy: Perhaps the most important quality of our time

Why could empathy be perhaps the most important quality of our time? In a world that is characterized by profound changes, support and orientation are two important resources. This support and this orientation offer values ​​and characteristics that should actually be taken for granted. Empathy is one of them.

The ability to empathize with other people should be something everyone should strive for. But instead of understanding and compassion, we all too often encounter ease and selfishness. In this article you will find out why empathy is perhaps the most important quality of our time and how you can become (even) more empathic.

What is empathy?

"Participation is the golden key that opens the hearts of others."

Samuel Smiles

In order to understand how important empathy is, one should be aware that there are situations in our life every day that require sensitivity. For example, there is the colleague who was unable to perform at her best today and had to take a nasty comment for it. Or the partner who wishes they would be listened to more carefully. Instead, turn the TV up louder. After all, work is over and you deserve relaxation. Some people don't care how the other goes in such situations. A little more compassion would do our society incredibly good.

Just imagine if your colleagues had behaved a little more tolerantly. Perhaps they would have motivated their colleague so much that she would have been in top form after all. Or you would have been a little more sensitive to your partner. Wouldn't it be better for everyone involved? Empathy means taking responsibility and responding to other people's feelings. Those who have empathic skills can see the world through someone else's eyes. He feels compassion and compassion.

Our mirror neurons are responsible for this. If they are "coded" with experiences, then we can interpret the actions of others. But the prerequisite for this is that we perceive ourselves. Only then can we recognize connections and respond to other people. The better we understand ourselves, the easier it is for us to deal with strengths and weaknesses. And the more life and self-experience we gather, the more we train our empathy.

Sensitivity and the ability to empathize are the basis of every relationship. Whether in a love affair, with your family, with work colleagues or with strangers. In politics as well as in business and in all other areas of life, empathy is a social intelligence, without which no relationship can function.

The pros and cons of empathy

Empathy has advantages and disadvantages for people. In the following, we would like to give you 10 advantages and disadvantages of empathy and at the same time go into corresponding examples.

10 benefits of empathy

  • Questioning feelingsn
    Empathetic people are very self-reflective. They get to the bottom of their feelings and thus have a better understanding of their inner state.
  • Great social environment
    People who have a lot of empathy have a large social environment, many friends and people who support them in all areas of life.
  • Long lasting relationships
    A high level of empathy also helps create friendships and other relationships that last for a long time.
  • Appear encouraging
    Those who have a high level of empathy can motivate others (privately and professionally) to develop their full potential.
  • Are solution-oriented
    Those who have a high level of empathy are usually less self-centered. Instead, people with a high level of empathy are concerned with solutions and the common good.
  • Are popular
    People with high empathy are popular because they feel a friendly aura. Other people always feel comfortable around them.
  • Resolve conflicts
    Those who have empathy are able to resolve conflicts and act as a mediator. And that both in everyday private life and at work.
  • self reflection
    Empathetic people also deal a lot with themselves. They reflect their thoughts and feelings and derive new knowledge from them.
  • Understanding of people
    Those who have a high level of empathy can read between the lines and thus also better interpret gestures, facial expressions and tonality in conversations.
  • Low stress level
    Due to their nature, people with high empathy ensure a low level of stress. In other words: You are usually much happier in everyday life.

10 disadvantages of empathy

  • Empathy steals strength
    If you repeatedly put yourself in the emotional state of the other person, it will damage the substance and can lead to you being drained.
  • Empathy stresses relationships
    Whoever takes in the feelings of others often projects them onto the partner. This can often lead to arguments.
  • Empathy easily turns into pity
    Very empathetic people often have too much pity and accept everything. Occasionally bad things that don't deserve pity.
  • Empathy hinders women
    It is well known that women have more empathy than men. This is not necessarily an advantage in the professional world. There it is also important to assert your own opinion.
  • Empathy limits
    Too much empathy often leads to your own interests being neglected. In the long run, this approach makes you noticeably unhappy.
  • Empathy is unfairly shared
    We often only show empathy towards people who are similar to us. If our counterpart differs (e.g. due to their origin), we tend to keep a distance.
  • Empathy affirms injustice
    If we only see the good in everything, we also encourage injustice. And above all with people who consciously gain an advantage at the expense of third parties.
  • Empathy is unfair
    We often feel sorry for people who have suffered bad things. But only if we didn't have this stroke of fate ourselves.
  • Empathy is overrated
    Empathy is of course an important factor in interpersonal communication. However, factors such as intelligence or good communication skills also have a strong effect.
  • Empathy can be manipulated
    People with a keen mind can manipulate empathetic people and thus benefit from these people.

The 4 pillars of empathy

What distinguishes a high level of empathy? What factors can people with a high level of empathy use to determine how the other person feels? Basically there are 4 pillars according to which empathic people evaluate the condition of their counterpart.

1. Perception

People with a high level of empathy can use their body language (e.g. bent over), voice (e.g. shaky) or choice of words (e.g. negative) to infer the state of the other person.

2. Understanding

In addition, empathetic people try to shed more light on the motives for the emotional state of the other.

3. Response

In addition, the other person should finally be given a feeling of acceptance so that they can get emotionally back in bad times.

4. Anticipation

Furthermore, the emathic person thinks strongly about how the respective interlocutor will behave in the future based on his or her emotional state.

What types of empathy are there?

In psychology, a distinction is made between 3 types of empathy: emotional, cognitive & social empathy. In the following I would like to tell you exactly how these 3 forms differ.

Emotional empathy
Emotional empathy means "empathizing" and "reacting" to the emotional state of the other person. The feelings of the other person are often transferred to your own mood. Emotional empathy is especially important for interpersonal relationships.

Cognitive empathy
Cognitive empathy helps us to understand the feelings of the other person. Anyone who has strong cognitive empathy can perceive non-verbal and paraverbal expressions well and use them to derive the emotional state of the other person.

Social empathy
Social empathy helps us adjust to different types of characters. People who have a high level of social empathy get along pretty well with different personality types.

Can You Learn Compassion?

Yes, it can be trained like a muscle. And actually the formula is very simple. It reads: Less ego, less self-interest, less calculation and instead all the more humanity!

The easiest way to train empathy is to show genuine interest in other people. Learn to set aside your own interests and goals a little. Ask others what their wants and needs are. Take your time, listen to other people and put yourself in their world. Try to leave out your own rating or opinion. She doesn't count in these moments. After all, you want to understand what is going on in the other person. The more you practice this approach, the more empathic you can become.

Learning empathy: 7 valuable tips for everyday life

Empathy can be learned! In order for you to succeed, we would like to reveal 7 tips below with which you can learn to train your compassion in order to better respond to your fellow human beings in your private and professional everyday life.

Actively listen

Hans on heart: How often do the words of the other person go in one ear and out the other? It probably happens every now and then. And that's why: Concentrate on your counterpart in a conversation. This is how you learn to read between the lines and that helps you to understand your counterpart better.


As you have already learned in this article, body language can be used to interpret the emotional state of the other person. And that is why it is particularly important that you pay attention to the body language of the other person during the conversation. Gestures, facial expressions and posture are particularly important here.

show interest

Conversation is not a one-way street. It is therefore important that you ask questions that will make the other person open up. It is also important that your interest is real and not played. The latter would be noticed by your counterpart on a subconscious level. And of course that would not be an advantage for your relationship.

Be empathetic

As soon as the other person begins to open up, it is important that you respond to their feelings and give them comfort. Because he probably opens his heart to you and shares thoughts and feelings with you that make him vulnerable. Your task is therefore to give your counterpart security, so that he feels comfortable in your environment.

take your time

It doesn't happen overnight that a person opens up to you completely. It takes time and trust. You create trust by giving your time to someone. And that's why: If you want someone to open up to you, give yourself enough time so that the necessary basis of trust can develop.

Don't be prejudiced

Prejudices often contribute to the fact that we close ourselves off and thus leave no room for free interaction with our counterpart. For this reason, it is extremely important that we throw our prejudices overboard. This is the only way we can face our counterparts with an open mind and only then can we get to know them better.

Gain experience

As a rule, we only surround ourselves with people who are just like us. That's a shame, because that's how we limit our own horizons. And therefore the final tip: Surround yourself with different people. You are guaranteed to learn a lot from them and thus develop a new level of empathy.

How Children Learn Compassion

Parents are the most important caregivers for children in all areas of life. Of course, this also applies to empathy. That means: A warm-hearted, cordial and open interaction with the youngsters helps that they develop empathy over the years.

After all, children learn through imitation. If the parents always keep their distance, do not take their time and show no compassion, then the child will adopt these characteristics and become the mirror image of the parents.

As a parent, it is therefore important to talk to your child about feelings, to ask them how they feel and to offer consolation. Because children in particular are very sensitive and need twice as much warmth and love.

An inductive parenting style is also important. That means: The child is given the ability to analyze his actions and analyze with foresight what they can cause in the worst case.

For example: "If you only annoy your sister, it will make her very sad." So it would be better to give the child tips on how to behave lovingly and sensitively towards their fellow human beings.

Incidentally, if you are struggling with challenges in bringing up your child, a child coach will be happy to help you. Such a coach specializes in helping people so that the children can develop freely.

Caution Ekpathie - What to look out for

To be ecpathetic means not to get emotionally involved with your counterpart. That is good to a certain extent. After all, you want to avoid the negative feelings of a counterpart from passing over to you.

On the other hand, there is the risk of closing yourself emotionally and thus losing access to other people. In this context, it is important to learn to differentiate in different situations.

At work, disapproving behavior protects against toxic colleagues, for example. In the private environment, on the other hand, it means that friends, family or life partner may get at a distance and that of course damages the relationship.

Conclusion: empathy takes you further in life

Empathy alone doesn't move mountains. But it is the first important step towards a tolerant, colorful coexistence. The good news is that there are various studies. According to them, none of the past generations has been as tolerant and advocated as much for equality as today.

So we are on the right track. Everyone can start small. Strengthen one's self-awareness. Concentrate more on the needs and feelings of others in your private and professional environment. Then a unique, thrilling movement could soon emerge from it! Because compassion is a raw material that the world needs more urgently than oil, coal and silicon combined.

What do you think? What about your empathy? Have you already thought about what kind of personality you are? If not, then we now have a great tip for you. Just take the Greator Personality Test (takes less than 3 minutes) and find out what your personality type is. You can take the test for free here.