8 signs that a man lacks empathy and kindness, according to psychology

Understanding empathy and kindness in a man can often feel like deciphering a complex puzzle. But psychology simplifies it, giving us cues to look for.

Empathy and kindness are not just about being nice. They involve understanding others’ emotions and showing genuine care.

Sadly, some men may lack these qualities, making relationships with them challenging.

Psychology offers some tell-tale signs to identify such men. And I’m here to share eight of those signs with you.

So, let’s delve into the topic of “8 signs that a man lacks empathy and kindness, according to psychology”. By the end of this, you’ll be equipped to spot these traits better than before.

1) Unresponsive to others’ feelings

We all know that human interaction is a two-way street.

And empathy, a crucial part of this interaction, involves understanding and responding to the emotions of others.

When a man lacks empathy, he may appear unresponsive or dismissive of others’ feelings. This isn’t about agreeing with every emotion; it’s about acknowledging and respecting them.

Psychology tells us that empathetic individuals are tuned into the emotions of those around them. They might not always have the right words, but their actions and body language show understanding.

So, if you find a man frequently ignoring or invalidating how others feel, it could be a clear sign of lacking empathy.

But remember, everyone has off days. It’s a consistent pattern of such behavior we need to look out for. Just like a single occurrence doesn’t define empathy, one instance of insensitivity shouldn’t brand someone as unkind.

2) Difficulty showing care in relationships

In my own life, I’ve experienced how vital empathy and kindness are in relationships.

I once knew a guy who was incredibly smart and charming. But when it came to relationships, he struggled. He had difficulty showing genuine care and concern for his partners.

I remember one incident when his girlfriend was going through a tough time at work. Instead of offering support or lending an ear, he brushed off her concerns, saying she was overreacting and needed to toughen up.

He didn’t understand that what she needed at that moment wasn’t advice but empathy – someone to simply acknowledge her feelings and reassure her.

This lack of emotional support had a negative effect on his relationships. His partners often felt alone and misunderstood, leading to repeated breakups.

A consistent inability to show care in relationships might be a sign that a man lacks empathy and kindness, according to psychology. It’s not about grand gestures but the little acts of understanding and care that truly matter.

3) Excessive self-focus

Empathy requires us to momentarily step outside our own experiences and emotions to understand another’s viewpoint.

However, some men might find it challenging to deviate from their own perspective. They may excessively focus on their needs, wants, and feelings, leaving little room to consider others’.

Psychology suggests this trait is linked to a lack of empathy. Interestingly, research reveals that narcissism, characterized by excessive self-focus and grandiosity, often coincides with lower levels of empathy.

So if you notice a man who consistently prioritizes his feelings over others’, barely showing interest in others’ experiences, it could be indicative of a lack of empathy and kindness. Not all self-focused individuals are unkind or empathetic; it’s the excessive and consistent disregard for others that raises a red flag.

4) Struggle with emotional language

Expressing empathy and kindness often requires a certain level of emotional literacy.

This means being able to name and recognize various emotions, both in oneself and others. It’s about understanding that emotions are a natural part of the human experience and being able to communicate that understanding effectively.

A man who lacks empathy and kindness might struggle with this emotional language. He may find it hard to identify or articulate emotions beyond the basic ones like anger or happiness.

For example, he might not understand when someone is feeling anxious or overwhelmed, or he may struggle to express his own complex emotions. This lack of emotional understanding can impede the empathy process, making it hard for him to connect with others on a deeper level.

Remember, everyone has different levels of emotional literacy. But if a man consistently struggles with understanding and expressing emotions, it might be a sign of lacking empathy and kindness.

5) Absence of active listening

Listening to someone isn’t just about being quiet while they talk. It’s about actively engaging, showing interest, and responding in a way that communicates understanding. It’s about being present with them in their emotional landscape.

A man who lacks empathy and kindness might not show signs of active listening. He may be quick to interrupt, offer unsolicited advice, or shift the conversation back to himself, missing the opportunity to genuinely connect with the speaker.

To be heard and understood is a deeply human need. When we actively listen to someone, we’re not just hearing their words; we’re acknowledging their feelings and experiences. We’re telling them: “I see you. I hear you. Your emotions matter.”

If a man consistently fails to listen actively, showing little interest or understanding of others’ experiences, it could indicate a lack of empathy and kindness. It’s not about being a perfect listener but about making an effort to truly understand others.

6) Lack of emotional support

I remember a time in my life when I was going through a rough patch. A close friend was diagnosed with a serious illness, and I was having trouble processing it.

I turned to a male friend, hoping to find some comfort. Instead of offering emotional support, he chose to focus on the practical aspects – suggesting doctors, treatments, and research papers.

While his intentions were good, what I needed at that moment wasn’t practical solutions but emotional support – a shoulder to lean on, someone to tell me it’s okay to feel scared and overwhelmed.

This inability to provide emotional support when needed can be a sign of lacking empathy and kindness. It’s not about solving problems but about being there for someone, acknowledging their feelings, and offering comfort in their time of need.

If a man consistently fails to provide emotional support during tough times, focusing solely on practical solutions or dismissing emotions altogether, it could indicate a lack of empathy and kindness.

7) Ignoring boundaries

Empathy and kindness aren’t just about understanding and responding to emotions. They also involve respecting others’ personal boundaries.

A man who lacks empathy might consistently ignore or violate these boundaries. He may impose his thoughts or feelings on others, neglect to ask for consent, or dismiss others when they express discomfort.

For example, if someone tells him they’re not comfortable discussing a particular topic, he might press on regardless, disregarding their feelings and boundaries.

Remember, respecting boundaries is a fundamental aspect of empathy and kindness. If a man consistently ignores or violates these boundaries, it could be a sign of lacking these traits. It’s not about always getting it right but about showing respect and consideration for others’ comfort and autonomy.

8) Absence of remorse or guilt

One of the most telling signs of a man lacking empathy and kindness is the absence of remorse or guilt after hurting others.

We all make mistakes and sometimes, unintentionally hurt others. Empathy drives us to recognize this hurt, feel remorse, and make amends.

However, a man lacking empathy may not feel this sense of guilt or show any desire to make things right. He might deny responsibility, deflect blame, or even justify his actions, showing little concern for the emotional pain he’s caused.

This absence of remorse or guilt is a red flag. It’s not about being perfect but about taking responsibility for our actions and their impact on others. Without this, empathy and kindness can’t truly exist.

Final thoughts: It’s about connection

Understanding empathy and kindness is like unlocking a door to deeper human connections.

These traits allow us to relate to others’ experiences, creating bonds that transcend the superficial level. They are the threads that weave the fabric of our shared humanity.

A man who lacks empathy and kindness might find it challenging to establish genuine connections, resulting in relationships that lack depth and emotional resonance.

A quote by American author Leo Buscaglia echoes this sentiment: “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.”

If we encounter someone who consistently exhibits these signs of lacking empathy and kindness, don’t be quick to judge. Sometimes, it’s not about character flaws but about unlearned skills or unhealed wounds.

And for those of us who recognize these signs within ourselves, it’s never too late to learn and grow. After all, empathy and kindness are not inherent traits but skills that can be developed over time.

In the end, it’s about striving for connection – with ourselves, with others, and with the world around us.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

8 signs that you’re a truly decent person, according to psychology

If a woman wants to be more successful in life, say goodbye to these 7 habits