12 signs you’re an empath and how it affects your relationships

Do you often feel like you are too sensitive for this world?

Things going on around you just seem to touch you more deeply.

If so, then you may well be an empath.

Empaths have the powerful ability to understand and share the emotions of others, sometimes to an overwhelming degree.

It’s no wonder that this heightened sensitivity changes your relationships, both for good and for bad.

1) You feel a heightened sensitivity to other people’s emotions

One of the most defining features of being an empath is that you experience emotions intensely and are highly attuned to the feelings of others too.

This in itself can have both negative and positive influences on your relationships.

On the one hand, you form deep and meaningful connections, which is great.

But on the other, this antenna you have for other people’s emotions can become a bit too much.

That’s why empaths may feel emotionally drained after being in social situations. Because, much like a sponge, they’re soaking up what others are feeling.

2) You create deep empathetic connections with others

You’ve probably heard that empathy is one of the most important ingredients for creating strong bonds.

So it’s going to come as no surprise that empaths have this in spades. That’s why they effortlessly form emotional connections with their partners, friends, and community.

The reason you quickly click with people is your skillful ability to understand and validate the experiences of others.

It’s just one of the reasons empaths are known for their compassionate and supportive nature.

3) You are the one people go to with their problems

Being caring, understanding, and a great listener, people naturally flock to you when they need advice.

You are probably the sage in your friendship group, dispensing tea and sympathy.

People know that you will happily listen to them, and genuinely care about what they are saying.

This makes you a much-valued confidant.

The catch?

Being there for everyone else can quickly start to drain your battery.

4) You often fall foul of emotional overload

Emotional overload is all too common for empaths.

Here’s why:

The constant influx of emotions left, right and center is a lot to deal with.

Sometimes you may find it challenging to manage your own emotions while simultaneously trying to navigate the feelings of everybody else.

You may feel like you have so many emotions bubbling under the surface that you simply don’t know what to do with them all.

If you try to ignore this feeling, you will start to become utterly emotionally exhausted. Burnout happens when you neglect your own self-care.

You may feel guilty for filling your own cup, but trust me, your relationships will be all the better for it.

Spending time in nature or meditation can be a good way for empaths to relax their fried nervous systems.

When overload strikes, this is often when you have to retreat into yourself to get some rest bite.

5) As it can quickly become intense, intimacy can be tricky at times

Being an empath is a unique and often misunderstood trait.

Someone who doesn’t experience it for themselves doesn’t always see how it is both a gift and a challenge.

So they don’t always understand why it gets too much sometimes.

They see you as this loving and giving person (which you are). But it seems at odds with your character when you then withdraw from intimacy.

What they don’t realize is that too much time spent with someone can quite frankly stress you out.

This can also create an internal struggle in you. You simultaneously want a loving and long-lasting relationship, but can also recoil from the intensity of that closeness.

As much as you love people, you can have a tendency to withdraw into yourself too.

6) Alone time is how you recharge

Much like introverts, empaths also need plenty of chill time. This serves as a sanctuary for them.

You need this time to disconnect from the constant emotional stimuli you absorb from others and create a space for self-reflection and rejuvenation.

When you don’t have enough energetic space, it’s a recipe for overwhelm, anxiety, and exhaustion.

So this doesn’t negatively affect your relationships, the people in your life have to understand this need.

If they take it personally, it can cause tension. So be sure to explain to loved ones why peace and quiet is so important to your well-being.

7) You are able to understand people intuitively

Words aren’t even needed for you to tap into what is going on with someone.

You sense it.

Whilst this can feel like a mystical gift you have, really it’s your intuitive communication that is kicking in.

Empaths tend to possess a clever ability to intuitively understand non-verbal cues and emotions.

You get a vibe very easily and tune into that.

But what is often happening is that you are picking up on subtle shifts in body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

Reading between the lines is a really useful skill to have when it comes to managing relationships.

Whilst other people may remain oblivious, you are able to communicate more effectively with loved ones.

This uncanny ability to seemingly look inside someone else and be able to tell what they are feeling makes you better placed to be a comforting presence to them.

8) Big groups and busy places can become too much

This is another thing empaths and introverts often have in common.

You are super sensitive to stimuli in general. So that includes not just emotions, but also noise, sounds, sights, energy, etc.

The result?

A busy bar full of people is a feast for the senses.

In order to manage your sensory intake you probably prefer smaller groups and one-on-one catch-ups with people.

9) Your caring nature leaves you more susceptible to manipulation

Do you feel like your sensitive nature leaves you more vulnerable?

Sadly, it’s an empath hazard.

Your understanding nature can leave you more susceptible to manipulative people who want to exploit your compassion and desire to help.

It can mean you have to be extra cautious of being taken advantage of in your relationships.

Developing a strong sense of self-awareness can help you with this. That way it’s easier to recognize manipulative behavior.

Setting boundaries is also vital, yet unfortunately, this is something you may well struggle with too.

10) It can feel tricky for you to create and stick to clear boundaries

It’s another unfortunate sticking point for empaths in relationships.

You probably have a hard time setting healthy boundaries.

As an empath myself, this has been a big problem for me in the past.

One thing that really helped me was this:

Learning the important difference between understanding someone’s behavior and accepting it.

We can still see where someone is coming from without tolerating their actions.

We can even forgive bad behavior, but simultaneously remove them from our lives.

When you have a tendency to prioritize the needs and feelings of others it becomes even more crucial that you know where to draw the line.

This usually means us emphaths have to learn better assertiveness skills.

11) You hate conflict and try to avoid it at all cost

It makes sense when you think about it:

When you absorb all of the emotions and energy around you, it’s understandable why you want to dodge any confrontation.

Sucking up all those bad vibes can feel excruciating to an empath.

So you tend to avoid conflict due to your aversion to negative emotions.

The problem is, that all relationships will involve conflict at some point.

If yours don’t it’s actually a bad sign.

Years ago, after a painful breakup, a therapist pointed out to me how it was a big red flag that I never argued with my ex.

I’d always thought it was a good thing that we tried to keep the peace.

But she pointed out that it meant we weren’t expressing our needs and wants in healthy ways.

It was a lightbulb moment for me as an empath.

Striving for harmony is one thing, but we can’t do it by pushing away or ignoring problems.

For the sake of our relationships, we need to find ways to navigate disagreements and practice truly open communication.

12) You care too much

It sounds sort of strange.

I mean, how can we care too much? After all, kindness is so valuable.

But it’s hard for you to switch off and separate someone else’s feelings from your own. And that becomes a lot.

The world around us is sadly full of suffering. Rather than feel bad for people, you feel bad with them.

So in many ways, you are absorbing their suffering. This can leave you feeling like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

You always want to help out those around you. But sometimes you can’t. 

It’s a wonderful thing to care deeply. You just need to make sure it doesn’t come at the expense of your own well-being.

Final thoughts

As we’ve seen, being an empath does have a significant impact on your relationships. It should be seen as a gift that can bring even more joy and depth to your connections.

While it offers unique strengths like greater understanding and intuitive communication, it also presents challenges such as emotional overload and difficulty setting boundaries.

But by embracing and better getting to grips with your empathetic nature, you can nurture healthier and more fulfilling relationships with your loved ones.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

If a man displays these 14 traits, people will naturally respect him

9 simple ways to be happier in life, according to psychology