People With These 5 Personality Traits Have No Idea What Empathy Means

Photo: Getty
What Is A Lack Of Empathy? Personality Traits Of People Who Aren't Empathetic

A critical factor in all relationships, romantic or otherwise, is the ability to understand and be sensitive to the other person's feelings, whether or not you feel the same way about the same things at the same moment in time.

So when it comes to dating and choosing someone you can not only fall in love with, but with whom you can establish a meaningful, satisfying partnership, empathy is one of the most important traits for you to know how to identify.

Being empathetic is a fundamental aspect of intimacy and emotional intelligence.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of empathy is "the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner," as well as "the capacity for this."

Unfortunately, there are men and women who go through life with a complete lack of empathy.

They simply do not understand the meaning of empathy or why it's important to empathize with others. For a variety of reasons, empathy remains completely beyond their frame of reference, and they are simply incapable of — or even disinterested in — grasping the feelings of others.

RELATED: The 7 Most Common Negative Personality Traits (And What They're Trying to Teach You About Yourself)

If you hope to find true love and a happy, healthy relationship, it's important to look for someone who can empathize with you and what you are feeling (and that you do the same).

To help you quickly identify a lack of empathy, keep an eye out for (and stay away from!) people with these 5 personality traits, because they have no idea what it means to be empathetic.

1. Unemotional

People who are unemotional are fundamentally not equipped to understand what empathy means.

People who are unemotional do not feel their feelings themselves. When they are struggling with sadness, anxiety, or depression, they do their best to stuff their feelings downs. They "keep busy" or "suck it up" and push through whatever it is that they are feeling.

And if people can’t understand their own feelings, it is impossible for them to understand the feelings of others. They expect others to also ignore their feelings, pack them away, unexamined, and go on with their lives.

So, if expressing emotions is important for you, stay away from people who are unemotional. If they are that way now, they will never change.

2. Self-absorbed

People who are self-absorbed think of themselves, their issues, and their place in the world first. Sometimes, they can think of no one other than themselves. They put their needs above the needs of all others.

Imagine sitting across from someone who is concerned only with themselves and trying to get that person to care about how you are thinking or feeling. You want them to work to understand your emotions and support you in them.

Impossible, doesn't it seem?

So, if you are with a guy who thinks only of himself and you need him to support you in difficult times, move on. He will always put himself first and never give you the empathy that you need.

RELATED: 6 Lesser-Known (But Equally Toxic) Personality Traits Of A Narcissist

3. Judgmental

People who are judgmental tend to judge everyone around them harshly. They are sometimes even overly judgmental of themselves.

As a result, their first instinct is not to empathize with how someone is feeling but, instead, judges them.

Imagine trying to explain to someone how devastated you are that your boyfriend is fooling around on you again. You are so sad and confused and need some empathy. Most likely, a judgmental person isn't going to feel your pain but is going to judge you for being such a loser that you keep going back to your guy.

They will tell you to suck it up and move on and don’t look back. How helpful will that be?

4. Insecure

Many people who just can’t understand the meaning of empathy are people who are fundamentally insecure. And people who are insecure have a hard time connecting with the emotions of others because they are so unsure of who they are in the world.

Someone who is insecure struggles with their own feelings of self-worth and the validity of their own emotions so trying to understand and feel the feelings of another will be almost impossible.

Don’t seek empathy from someone who isn't happy with who they are in the world. They might mean to be empathetic and work hard to be so, but, fundamentally, they just won’t have the capacity to be so ... at least, not right now.

5. Selfish

The personality trait that is most prevalent in people who don’t understand the meaning of empathy are people who are selfish.

People who are selfish often also exhibit all the traits above PLUS an overwhelming tendency to not care about anyone other than themselves. Not only are they not capable of empathy but they aren't even interested in trying to be empathetic in any way.

First and foremost, their needs and emotions are center stage and how anyone else is feeling doesn't even register on their awareness meter.

So, if you need empathy, stay away from that friend who always thinks of herself first. Find someone who is willing to think of others first, at least some of the time.

For many, many people, understanding the meaning of empathy is impossible because emotions are scary and the emotions of others are even scarier.

Those people are not only unhelpful when others need empathy but they can often cause more harm than good because their inability to connect can make the other feel neglected or abandoned.

So, as you pick your lover, and your friends, stay away from people who display the personality traits that have no idea what empathy means.

If they are self-absorbed, selfish, insecure, emotionless, or judgmental they might be fun to go to hang out with but they are not the people who you can trust when you are at your most vulnerable.

And remember, people are as you see them today. Don’t expect anyone to change just because you need them.

So be cautious. You will be glad you were!

RELATED: If He Has Any Of These 7 Personality Traits, He's More Likely To Cheat On You

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate whose writing has been published in The Huffington Post, Prevention Magazine, and The Good Men Project, among others. Let her help you life the life of your dreams by contacting her now via email to get started!

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!