If a man displays these 8 behaviors, empathy isn’t in his emotional toolkit

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Listen, I get it.

We’re all human (and nobody’s perfect).

So, if you’re holding out for the man of your dreams, your prince charming, your ideal soulmate, you might be waiting a while!

But at the same time, it would at least be nice to find a guy who cares (just a little bit).

Because at times, I wonder if they exist.

The fact is, men on average have less empathy than women.

But then there are the extreme cases (where you wonder if they’re actually normal or if something is seriously wrong).

I know what you’re thinking (the obvious question).

How can you tell if a man has a deep-rooted empathy problem?

Well, check out these eight behaviors. If you recognize them, it could mean your guy is literally incapable of being empathetic (like, ever).

1) Uninterested in what you say

Not all listening is equal!

There’s listening and there’s active listening.

I’m talking about both verbal and non-verbal cues, appropriate feedback (nodding or gesturing), and generally being fully engaged and focused on the speaker.

In other words, listening on purpose.

We all like to talk, especially on topics we’re passionate about.

But actively listening is more of a challenge. As a result, it shows respect, empathy, and demonstrates that (even if it’s boring) you’re happy to spend your time indulging someone.

So, if a man has a problem sitting still and listening with interest to what you have to say, it’s a telltale sign they lack empathy (and could be a big red flag for your future relationship).

2) Makes insensitive (cringe) remarks

Don’t get me wrong.

We all occasionally put our foot in it (I know I do). Often resulting in hours (sometimes days) of embarrassment and regret.

But if a man regularly makes insensitive comments (not just to you, but to friends too) it could signal they’re missing the empathy gene!

There are just some things that you shouldn’t say, ever!

I’m talking about commenting on a woman’s weight, saying how old someone looks, or asking personal finance or money-related questions.

They’re simply oblivious! Which relates to our next point.

3) Can’t read the room

Being empathetic is all about putting yourself in other people’s shoes and seeing the world from their point of view.

This includes group situations and social norms (i.e. reading the room).

It comes down to how perceptive and aware you are as an individual but also your emotional intelligence (EQ).

Imagine the scene…

You’re at a funeral. Someone arrives wearing bright colorful clothes while loudly sharing upbeat stories about themselves.

Now, for you and me (or anyone with a normal level of empathy) this is blatantly inappropriate behavior.

Simply put, their lack of awareness is out of touch and insensitive.

But in reality, they could just not get it (and are incapable of empathy).

4) Fails to acknowledge other people’s success

If a friend is proudly announcing their recent promotion, it’s pretty normal to be happy for them (and buy them a drink).

Right? Why wouldn’t you?

Well, good question.

Either you’re seriously jealous (maybe you wanted the promotion) or you lack empathy (and just don’t get it).

Here’s the deal.

If a man constantly ignores the success stories of his close friends and family it’s probably because he doesn’t understand how to behave. He can’t see the situation from their point of view and therefore overlooks congratulating them.

He might even go one step further and downplay their accomplishment or shift the conversation back to himself.

Remember, they’re not being obnoxious on purpose. They just lack empathy!

5) Not great at apologizing

A good apology goes beyond just words.

It involves a genuine acknowledgment of responsibility, a commitment to making amends, and (you’ve guessed it) empathy for the other person’s feelings.

So it should come as no surprise, that if a man struggles with apologizing, they may lack real empathy.

Think about it.

Sincerely recognizing the other person’s feelings is absolutely essential for rebuilding trust.

And if a man mumbles his apology while avoiding eye contact, it doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence that he actually believes in what he’s saying.

This leads nicely to our next point…

6) Negative body language

Body language (or lack thereof) can be a big giveaway to the empathy level of a man.

I’m talking about facing your partner, smiling, maybe touching a shoulder, and nodding in agreement.

There are also more complex actions like mirroring and matching (that we actually do subconsciously). This helps establish a sense of connection by signaling that you understand and resonate with the other person’s emotional state.

Then there’s the negative stuff.

For example, let’s say you’re sharing an idea at work. A colleague crosses his arms, rolls his eyes, and continues to sigh throughout the presentation.

He avoids eye contact and once you’re finished, he dismissively waves his hands, brushing off your suggestions.

These non-verbal cues suggest a lack of interest, disrespect, and of course, a failure to empathize.

7) Ignores boundaries

I’m talking about both physical and emotional boundaries here.

So everything from literally standing too close when you speak, to asking personal questions that make you uncomfortable.

When a man ignores these boundaries, it shows their disregard for your feelings (and a complete lack of empathy).

Especially if you’ve clearly defined your boundaries or previously called them out on overstepping the mark.

In some extreme cases, they’ll even persist. 

For example, a work colleague once sat uncomfortably close to me on my lunch break. I subtly shifted away toward my friend, but he continued to move closer and invade my space.

The fact he didn’t pick up on my non-verbal cues suggests he has a problem empathizing with people.

8) Fails to offer support

Life isn’t always a bed of roses.

We all have our ups and downs. But every cloud has a silver lining and it’s nice when those around us can pick up on our needs and offer some support.

That is, of course, unless they lack empathy!

Because if a man can’t see when you’re in need of some TLC, it’s a telltale sign empathy isn’t in their emotional toolkit.

You shouldn’t have to ask for support from those closest to you.

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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