Types Of Empathy You Need To Know

Last Update on May 19, 2022 : Published on November 15, 2020
Types Of Empathy You Need To Know

Are you aware of the feelings and emotions of the people around you? So you find it easy to relate and be aware of their emotions? This feeling of knowing and understanding others’ emotions is what empathy is.

It is not feeling for someone – that is sympathy. Empathy is when you feel with someone.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

Empathy is the ability to acknowledge, appreciate, and experience the feelings and emotions of others. Having an empathetic attitude is crucial in maintaining relationships and compassion.

Empathy helps us to connect with others in a helping/healing way. When we are empathetic towards others we can replace their negative energy with our positive one.

Types Of Empathy:

There are three main types of empathy that you need to know about:

1. Cognitive Empathy

Cognitive empathy is when we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and see their viewpoint. Cognitive empathy is focused on the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of a person on an intellectual level. It can be beneficial in negotiations, motivating others, and understanding different perspectives.

Cognitive empathy is about understanding and placing yourself in someone else’s situation and gaining a better perspective of their experience.

Also Read: Empathy Statements to help you in Difficult Situations

2. Emotional Empathy

Emotional empathy is when you can feel the other person’s emotions alongside them. This is also known as “emotional communication” as you are directly emotionally communicating with someone else. When you see someone you love or care about being emotional, you are more likely to get emotional with them, or when some get hit, you cringe. This is the behavior of an emotional empath.

Emotional empathy can be good and bad. Good because we are easily able to understand someone’s feelings and emotions. A person working in the field of medicine, hospitality, or caretakers are more likely to be emotionally empathetic.

Emotional empathy can be bad when a person has a habit of becoming overwhelmed by emotions. People who lack self-control when it comes to their own emotions cannot be emotionally empathetic.

3. Compassionate Empathy

Compassionate empathy is when we can understand someone’s pain and take an action to help them get through that pain. Many people lean towards compassionate empathy as they just need someone to understand their emotions and feelings and help them take an action to resolve their distress.

Compassionate empathy is ideal as it requires a person to use their emotional intelligence to respond to someone in need of help while keeping in mind their emotions and feelings.

Sometimes all someone need is a strong and understanding shoulder to lean on.

Finding The Balance

Finding The Balance

Cognitive empathy can be under-emotional and unsympathetic. Emotional empathy can be too emotional and can be sometimes overcome with our own emotions. Compassionate empathy, in consideration, the balance between cognitive and emotional empathy. It understands logic and emotion together and provides appropriate support to someone in need.

When you perform compassionate empathy towards someone, it helps you to be:

  • Creative
  • Become emotionally connected
  • Evaluate the situation
  • Identify needs
  • Solve problems
  • Be trustworthy

Also Read: The Importance Of Creative Thinking In Life

Too much empathy can leave you feeling emotionally drained, overwhelmed, and burned out. Not enough empathy can make you look cold-hearted and unsympathetic. It can lead to strained relationships and isolation.

How To Practice Empathy?

Practice Empathy

Practicing any kind of empathy can be challenging but with lots of practice, it can be done easily. All you need to do is manage your emotions and of those around you.

To be empathetic, you need to:

  • Put aside your opinions and experiences and focus on the other person
  • Use your imagination to get a better understanding of the other person’s emotions
  • Be a good listener and understand what the other person is trying to say
  • Be curious about their experiences and ask questions. Sometimes people need to be heard and understood
  • Try not to ‘fix’ others’ problems. Just provide them a safe space to share

Final Words

These days empathy is hard to find. Even if someone is not empathetic towards us doesn’t mean that we can’t be empathetic towards others. Remember that empathy can be learned with practice and patience.

Begin at home, workplace, or your community. Empathy is about forming emotional connections and providing a safe place for someone to share their experiences – good and bad.

“The nature of humanity, its essence, is to feel another’s pain as one’s own, and to act to take that pain away. There is nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.” – John Connolly

Be empathetic, be kind, and be compassionate!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.


  1. Chris Smith
    Chris Smith

    There is a thin line between empathy and sympathy and if you know the difference, you can choose the right word for the right time. Trust me, it really works!

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