You put others’ needs first
An empathetic person places the needs of people—even animals—over his or her own. “Empathic people are often people pleasers who put other people first,” says Judith Orloff, MD, author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA with a private psychotherapy practice specializing in empathy. “They want to help others and have large hearts, but they often give too much away and end up exhausted.” Since you’re so giving and concerned about others, you dislike people who always put themselves first.
You’re an amazing listener
You like to listen rather than speak. You want to hear all the details about a situation so you can understand it completely. “You truly and actively care about others and what they’re saying,” says Stacey Laura Lloyd, a health and relationships writer and co-author of Is Your Job Making You Fat? How to Lose the Office 15…and More!. “It’s one thing to simply hear the words of others, and it’s something entirely different to internalize what others are expressing and then understand and experience their feelings, needs, and motivations.” To take in what you’re hearing, you listen to verbal cues and observe nonverbal ones, keeping yourself engaged in the conversation. “Being an empathetic listener means you put the speaker first and have a desire to understand what’s on his mind and what he’s dealing with,” says Cherie Burbach, author of Art and Faith: Mixed Media Art With a Faith-Filled Message, who specializes in relationships and helping people connect. Here’s what good listeners do in daily conversations.