Does Empathy make you a better friend?? πŸ€”

The other day, I came across a short video on YouTube about empathy. It basically said that those who have suffered in life, experienced loss, pain, grief etc undergo changes in their feelings and attitude towards others, all of which makes them more compassionate, more understanding, better listeners and in turn better friends, especially towards people who have had their share of ups and downs, challenges and ordeals. Basically, empaths turn out to be a godsent friend to someone whose lives have been less than rosy and far from perfect.

Among the hundreds of meaningless reels, vidoes we see everyday and swipe on to the next, there are very few that actually make an impact and stay on with you. This one did. And it made me reflect on the most important relationships I have (not too many unfortunately). Whether these people are empathetic or sympathetic and how has that changed our equation over the course of time.

Case 1-

Let me go back about a decade back, when I started my first job (damn, that makes me feel so old), I met this guy, a year junior to me. He was like an answer to all my dreams. Not romantic dreams!! But dreams to have a sibling. One with whom I can share all my joys and sorrows. Let’s call him Lil bro. We bonded instantly and were inseparable during those 3 years we spent working in the same team. We used to share everything about our personal lives, the mess that was our love lives back then, the heartbreaks we had endured and bitching about the idiots we dated then and before. We had formed a bond of a lifetime. He became the brother I never had and always wanted. He had a roommate who was also like a brother to me and we too bonded well.

Over the course of the next few years, Lil bro settled abroad, earned in dollars, married the girl who fulfilled all the criteria in his checklist (good looks, good looks and good looks), lived the American dream life. His flight of life had taken off and soaring high, while mine was on the runway briefly, but ultimately grounded for repair work and maintenance. (whoa, gotta admit, that was a good metaphor, wasn’t it?πŸ˜†). Either ways, we got busy with our lives and eventually the frequency of calls and meet ups reduced.

Meanwhile, his roommate settled for a less lucrative job in his hometown. His father fell sick around the same time as I did. He came to meet me in the hospital several times. We kept in touch. I used to keep asking about his father’s health and he followed up on mine. His father passed away 2 years later. He was devastated. I used to message him daily to check up on him. He always asked me how I was feeling, how i was dealing with my changed circumstances. Whenever I go back home, we make it a point to meet, and whine, bitch, crib and also laugh at our miserable lives over delicious food and wine. Our trysts with sickness, ill health and the long drawn repurcussions of it made us both empathetic towards each other. We bonded over discussions based on hard, painful, uncomfortable topics.

As of today, I am in touch with both of them. But conversations with Lil bro (few and far apart) are usually about the good old days, all the fun parts. Nothing unpleasant. Nothing awkward, nothing heartfelt. Coz I somewhere feel that he won’t get it. By god’s grace, he hasn’t experienced anything so painful or suffered through any real tragedies. And while I am extremely happy for him, I do find it hard to relate to him these days. Whereas, i have grown much closer to his roommate. He has truly become a younger brother, a confidant, a supporter and a friend to whom I can rant about the unfairness of life as well as laugh over the silly things. Our brush with suffering, grief, pain, sickness and loss has helped us bond and cemented a friendship based on the unpleasantness of life. πŸ’–πŸ’–

Case 2-

My cousin sister and I are of the same age and ever since we were little, we were inseparable. We were soul sisters even before we had heard or the word or knew what it meant. If she had a secret, i was the first to know. And vice versa. And it continued to be so till about college. Then work, marriage took us to different cities. Our lives took us on different paths. She got busy with work, husband, kid. I got busy with my shitshow of a life. We did keep in touch. But when I really needed a friend, a sister, she never reached out. Probably, her lack of similar experience or suffering, made it difficult for her to become an empath and reach out and offer support. As of today, we do talk on and off, but safe to say, that if she has a secret now, i am not going to be the first to know. Infact, i probably won’t know it at all. And same for me. 🀷

Case 3-

This is about yours truly. The past few years have been very challenging for me. Sickness, grief, loss, fear, anxiety have never left my side. I was always emotional and sensitive. But my life experiences have now made me over emotional and over sensitive. So the other day, my husband’s friend and his wife came over for dinner. I have met her 3-4 times in total. She’s cool and I like her. That night our general chitchat veered off to unchartered territory and she ended up sharing a lot about all the troubles in her married life. I guess my own life experiences have made me an empath as well, as I just sat there, listening to her, letting her vent, letting her ramble on. And Seeing her cry and narrate her ordeals just broke my heart. I advised her based on what I thought was right. And I do genuinely hope she can sort things out. πŸ’”πŸ’”

Well these are just 3 instances i could think of, where the presence of empathy or the lack of it changed some of the relationships in my life. Where empathy created new bonds, formed new unexpected friendships, the lack of it depleted the closeness and the emotional attachment in existing relations. So yes, based on my personal experiences, i do think that empathy makes you a better friend. It makes you more sensitive to other people’s pain, their suffering. Because, you too have experienced the grief, suffering at some point, maybe of a different kind, maybe of a different intensity. But you do know what it feels like, when you’re down and out. Whether it’s failure or sickness or loss or just silent suffering, once you have experienced it, it’s easier for you to understand what the other person might be feeling. It makes you feel empathy and that empathy often makes you reach out and offer a shoulder to cry on or atleast lend an ear to listen to them rant, ramble, vent and sometimes, this act of reaching out and showing care and concern paves the way for a forever kind of friendship. πŸ’–πŸ’–

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think empaths make better friends? Do let me know in the comments. Will look forward to reading them. Happy weekend friends 😊😊

61 thoughts on “Does Empathy make you a better friend?? πŸ€”

      1. πŸ’œ Only if Boundaries ARE Set and Asserted; otherwise OverCareTakers Resentment kicks in

        …πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes you’re right Maggie…the bond fizzles if your friend doesn’t or cannot empathize , especially when things are going downward for you and you want to reach out and share the struggles with someone. So glad we both agree on this β˜ΊοΈπŸ’“πŸ’“

      Liked by 1 person

  1. πŸ’œ A USE 🍸 β™₯️ (Ultra Sensitive “Empath”) is Used by Others for Others to Feel Better Leaving a USE Drained and Upset due to Transmutation, Alchemisation and Transformation; the Solution for The USE is Rest, Relaxation and Recovery then Go For πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ πŸšΆπŸΏβ€β™‚οΈ 🚢 πŸ˜€ πŸ‘πŸΎ It Again…because, after ALL, YOU!!! ARE An Angel; with Wings on YOUR!!! Hips πŸ˜‡ ✨️ πŸ’–

    …πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you’re so right, I did read about this too , how a USE (that’s a new term i learnt thanks to you) often find themselves drained with all these feelings and emotions and how it’s imperative for them to let loose and detach once a while … beautifully surmised here by you …thank you so much for your valuable point of view πŸ’ŸπŸ’Ÿ

      Liked by 2 people

      1. πŸ’œ YOU!!! ARE Most Welcome πŸ™πŸΏ πŸ€— ☺️

        …πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad to know we both agree on that..i am pretty sure you’re an empath too and thus you found it relatable…thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on it ❀️❀️

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My thoughts on this?
    Gibberish…. you know how much I LOVE your writing, your heart, your thoughts and your empathy. A great post and so relatable.

    YES!!! This was an amazing metaphor my friend:

    “.His flight of life had taken off and soaring high, while mine was on the runway briefly, but ultimately grounded for repair work and maintenance. (whoa, gotta admit, that was a good metaphor, wasn’t it?πŸ˜†). ”
    laughing πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Being empathetic is a Godsend, being a dormat is a curse and knowing who deserves our heart and ear is imperative.

    I do know what you mean here. I have a new friend is my dad’s neighbor that brings him down and since I don’t have a brother that can share the burden of support, he has become my surrogate brother.

    LOVED you post and you my frinedπŸ’–

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow Cindy….your comment just made my day…so glad you liked the metaphor as well (its funny how i was gloating about it myself πŸ˜‚)….thank you so much for all the wonderful things you have said..truly truly appreciate it πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

      Liked by 4 people

  3. SMiLes Dear Gibberish Wonderful Post
    on The Gift That Keeps Giving Human Empathy

    When Driven From Within Our Mirror Neurons Help

    Deliver When Well Tuned Along With Helpful Neurochemicals
    And Neurohormones Like Oxytocin, Dopamine, And Serotonin All
    in Balance

    And Amazingly

    Social Empathic Intelligence

    may Be Increased Through Arts

    Like Dancing And Singing Free with

    Others As Poetry Connects Emotions
    With Words Better To Regulate Emotions

    And Dance Integrates Senses As Well

    As Even Our Cerebellums That Are
    Connecting to Every Move

    Enhance Our Ability

    to Sense and

    Feel What

    Another Person is
    Going Through Better
    And Indeed Come Closer
    to Walking in Their Shoes Now

    And True As Well Empathy is An
    Intelligence That May Wither Away

    if We Stick With Only Problem Solving
    Mechanical Cognition Like Computer Science
    And Accounting Fields and Such As That As True

    Even in the Engineering Classes And Computer Labs
    When i Went to College (Hehe in the Early 80’s) Cautions

    Were Posted
    Don’t Forget

    to Get Out
    And Move
    Connect
    And Co-Create
    With Other Humans
    In Social Empathic Activities
    Then Now Yes As Simple as Dancing
    And Singing Free Together Yes Opening Up

    HeARTS From Head to Toe More Where Reason
    May Follow More in Balance of Mind And Body Soul…

    Yet A Most Difficult Kind of Empathy is Cognitive Empathy

    Coming to Understand The Shoes of Others We Have Never

    Really Walked in At All And Oh How Blogs And Other Arts That
    Clue Us in On

    Other People’s
    Lives and Life

    Histories Help Develop
    Greater Cognitive Empathy
    As Every Human Life Experience May Now…

    Hehe, i’m A Pretty Good Case Study Example
    As There is An Autism Quotient Test Online (AQ Test)
    Developed By Scientist Simon Baron Cohen That Measures
    Social Empathic Intelligence Verses Systemizing Intelligence…

    The Higher The Score Through 50, The Higher The Systemizing
    Intelligence Versus Lower Scores to 0 For Social Empathic Intelligence…

    Spending my Last 5 Years At Work Doing Computer Science, Financial
    Management, And Other Associated Systemizing Intelligence Activities,

    i Scored A 45 And Was Also Diagnosed With Asperger’s Syndrome in
    2008 At Age 47; At Age 53 After Writing Free Verse Poetry And Public

    Dancing i Scored 11 And the Doctor’s Were Amazed At How i Turned
    My Soul Around and Opened Up My HeART And SPiRiT This Way

    All In Balance

    Yet’s It’s True

    i Was Retired

    i No Longer

    Had to Serve
    Systemizing Intelligence

    to Exist i Came Out of that
    Cocoon And No Longer Tripping
    Over So Many Caterpillar Legs i Truly

    Became A Butterfly With Wings Dancing Singing
    Loving Moving Connecting Co-Creating With Other

    Butterfly Winged Human Empaths True As Well
    It’s Kind of Exciting to Think That A Human
    Who Was Once Assessed As A Machine

    Could Be
    Reborn
    As Human
    Again This Way…

    True i Spent The 18 Years
    Before that 5 Years Behind the
    Computers Working With People…

    i Wasn’t Nearly the Machine i Came to Be then
    It’s True It Seems Use it or Lose it Applies to Most All Stuff Existence..:)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow Katie….your story of transformation is so commendable and an eye opener for all, that we don’t have to be born with empathy, but we can become one through various means…we just need to be aware of who we are and how compassionate we are towards others. You are truly inspirational. β€οΈβ€οΈπŸ’πŸ’

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Totally agreed 100%!! I like to think I had always been a good friend but after a bout of illness, I am definitely more empathetic, and I value my relationships even more. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I guess suffering from your illness enabled you to feel other’s pain even more deeply…that’s how empathy is developed in us….. thank you so much for reading, liking and commenting on my post. Your kind words mean a lot to me Janice πŸ˜ŠπŸ’ŸπŸ’–πŸ₯°

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Priti for sharing your thoughts on this…glad i could convey my point through the 3 instances mentioned…. thank you again for reading and commenting πŸ˜Šβ€οΈπŸ’πŸ’–

      Like

    1. Thank you to you as well…very happy to connect with you and read about your fascinating journey of self discovery that took you across countries, cultures… πŸ’ŸπŸ’Ÿ

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts. Yes I agree being more sympathetic and empathic leads to more rewarding friendships and deeper connections with people. When I was younger I mistakenly thought that being highly sensitive and empathetic was more of a curse than a blessing. It greatly affected my mental wellbeing through constant anxiety, overthinking and low self esteem. Life experience, positive relationships and professional support has helped me to manage and change these negative beliefs and symptoms about myself. Additionally, if you are a deeply empathic and/ or highly sensitive person then it’s very important to establish emotional boundaries to avoid being mentally drained. Peace and Love πŸ€—πŸ˜πŸ‘

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Paul, being an empath yourself, i don’t think anyone will get it better than you that having empathy is definitely better than having sympathy and helps to form deeper bonds and longer lasting relationships..so glad to know that you are now able to look at yourself as an empath in a more positive way…and yes , setting boundaries is so very important…thank you again for sharing your heartfelt thoughts…truly appreciate itπŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I totally agree with you. After going through a lot of pain and suffering be it from physical health issues or mental health issues, I have felt certain change in myself, and truly made me an empath. But sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by feeling everyone’s pain that somehow it makes difficult for me to have a clear thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true, empaths often feel tired and exhausted by soaking in other people’s feelings and feel drained. You must disconnect from everything and just make time for yourself. Breathe, relax, rejuvenate. πŸ’–πŸ’–

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re more than welcome my friend this post was a much needed one it really made my day. I love reality post there’s so much truth, knowledge and admiration in them. So blessed to meet you here. Great minds definitely think alike Have a blessed day!πŸ™πŸ©πŸ™πŸ’•πŸ‘‘

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Beautifully written piece, and you sound like one of those friends who shine in value and support ~ and the world needs more of πŸ™‚ Wishing you a great week ahead, a serene and relaxing week ahead for you deserve it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh thank you so much for your kind wordsπŸ’•πŸ’•…I can only hope that I am a valuable friend to anyone who wants someone to share their stories and pain with…that’s what we all should strive to be…a good friend πŸ’–πŸ€©

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely right…i think it’s so important to teach kids the virtue of empathy….it will definitely help them build stronger relations and make them capable of understanding others around them πŸ’ŸπŸ’Ÿ

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Do you think empaths make better friends? Not necessarily. Friendships are often fostered on the grounds of trust and mutual respect. More often than not they are formed because of common ground, they share a common story or something similar. The test of a lasting friendship is knowing that there is no power at play between the two people, It’s true that unfortunately friendships sometimes come to an end due to life circumstances, long-distance, marital discord where the wife or husband doesn’t like the friend because they’re insecure etc., adding a layer of complexity that’s too difficult to maintain.

    The other thing I think is when someone mentions ‘boundaries’ it conjures up thoughts of someone that is not fully available to give their time to others for fear that they will be used or taken advantage of, which is a valid fear and can certainly happen.

    Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you G for your such an insightful responseπŸ’•πŸ’•….you are right, friendships can start so easily but sometimes maintaining them becomes a real challenge..we have to put in some effort, pay attention, be there for each other thats where empathy plays a huge part in my opinion. Either ways, only the strongest of bonds survive in the long run..😊🌟

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful post and thoughts. It sounds like you are a very good friend. I have 3 women whom I have been friends with for most of my life. We are always there to support and celebrate with one another even though we live in different states. While I have felt close to other people throughout my life, I’ve found many do not know how, or are not willing to reciprocate in the loyalty necessary to be a true friend. I agree with G~’s last statement as I have had this happen to me recently. Someone pretended to be a friend while using and secretly copying me in every way she could. She hurt me deeply and I have become much more guarded as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Denise for reading and liking the post…it’s wonderful that you have 3 such dearly beloved friends who have been with you through thick and thin…i have one best friend and am so grateful for that…if the friendship is not based on love, loyalty, respect and empathy, than sooner or later the relationship fizzles and does not stand the test of time…hold on to the dear friends you have..you’re lucky to have them and they are surely Lucy to have you 😊πŸ₯°πŸ˜πŸ’•

      Like

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