13 things you should never say to an empath

Being insensitive to empaths (people who are highly sensitive) reserves you a special place in Hell. 

It’s in the same space as serving meat to a vegan or buying a gun as a present to someone who lost a family member in a shooting. 

Most of us know someone who’d do these kinds of things. But do you want to be that person? Hopefully not.

So, without further delay, here are things you should never ever say to an empath. 

1) “You’re too sensitive”

No sh*t, Sherlock! By saying this to an empath, you’re suggesting empaths are somehow flawed or overly emotional. 

You fail to acknowledge that their sensitivity is a part of who they are, often linked to their ability to connect deeply with others’ emotions and experiences.

If the world were filled with empaths, it would look much differently. You want to know why? 

Because empaths can put themselves in other people’s shoes, and that’s a skill many people so desperately lack. 

2) “Just toughen up”

Telling empaths to toughen up disregards the fact that their empathy is a strength. It implies that they should suppress their natural tendencies to fit societal expectations of emotional toughness.

A person saying “Just toughen up” to empaths obviously holds traditional beliefs about emotions, believing that displaying vulnerability or sensitivity is a sign of weakness. 

They equate emotional toughness with resilience. I won’t lie to you and tell you that wasn’t me until ten or so years ago. But I have since realized there isn’t one correct approach to life. 

Everyone is on their own journey, and we shouldn’t judge them for it. You know, within reason. 

3) “Stop overreacting”

When you accuse empaths of overreacting, you basically invalidate their feelings, making them second-guess their emotions. 

But what may seem like an overreaction to you and others is often a genuine response based on their heightened empathy.

For example, when an empath feels overwhelmed or stressed at work and expresses their feelings, a colleague might respond with, “You’re overreacting to the workload. Everyone has to deal with stress.”

While it’s true that everyone is dealing with stress, what might be manageable for one person could feel overwhelming for another. People have varying stress thresholds.

4) “You’re just being dramatic”

Ah, the old ace up the sleeve. If you want to dismiss someone, simply label them as being dramatic. This will quickly diminish the authenticity of their emotions. 

Telling someone they’re being dramatic is also incredibly condescending. It often comes from a person with authority or a family member. 

They say it because they know it will sting a lot. 

5) “You need to be more logical”

By saying this, you imply that logic is superior to emotions, which is an unfair judgment. You see, empaths often use their emotional intelligence to navigate complex situations successfully.

When someone uses logic, they use their strong intuition, compassion, great listening skills, and high emotional intelligence. 

Logic obviously has a place in this world, but other things can help us navigate society, too. 

6) “Why are you always so emotional?”

This question can put empaths on the spot and make them feel like there’s something wrong with them for experiencing emotions more intensely than others. 

By saying this, you obviously don’t respect and/or understand their emotional responses.

Apart from empaths, women are also a common target with this statement. That’s because people believe women are more emotional than men.

And while they are more emotionally expressive, they don’t experience more emotions than men. 

Additionally, men are typically seen as passionate when expressing their emotions. For women (and empaths), that switches to irrational. 

How unfair is that? 

7) “You’re too empathetic for your own good”

Many people think empathy is a burden, not a gift. They fail to recognize the positive aspects of their compassion, like building deeper connections and helping others.

You might be saying something like this because you’re concerned for them. Maybe the empath in question really is overwhelmed. 

You see them overextending themselves in trying to help everyone around them, leading to burnout, anxiety, or depression. 

Naturally, you want to help them but perhaps don’t know how. However, framing it like this (“You’re too empathetic for your own good”) isn’t much of a help. 

It’s far better to start by listening to their concerns and feelings without judgment. Help them establish and maintain healthy boundaries. 

They may need advice on when to say “no” to additional requests for help and how to assert their own needs.

8) “You take things too personally”

For empaths, personal and emotional connections are significant. When you suggest they take things too personally, you make them feel like they need to distance themselves from their emotions, potentially leading to emotional detachment.

Yes, it’s not good to take everything to heart, but it also isn’t good to be like a robot and be detached from everyone and everything. 

9) “Can’t you just let it go?”

Telling someone, anyone, to let something go is a great piece of advice, right? I mean, how didn’t they think of this before. 

If only it were that simple. The real world doesn’t work like that. Even people who aren’t empathetic can’t let go of things and people so easily.  

Therefore, it’s no surprise that empaths find it challenging to let go of strong emotions or situations that deeply affect them. 

By asking them this question, you’re simplifying their emotional experiences and making them feel inadequate for struggling to move on.

10) “You’re too emotional for this job”

While it’s true that some jobs require you to be gritty and almost detached, most jobs aren’t like that. 

In fact, if more people took their jobs with compassion and empathy toward their fellow humans, the world would be a much better and more enjoyable place.

We all joke about the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and the bureaucracy in general. It seems like most people working in these jobs are soulless husks. 

I mean, I should know. I’ve worked at a similar job. It sucks all life out of you incredibly fast. You’re just looking at the clock all the time and waiting to run out of this place. 

Yet, some clerks actually love their jobs and are incredibly helpful. Now that I think of it, they must be empaths. 

If you ever encounter one of these angels, thank them from the bottom of your heart. Although, I’m not sure you’ll ever see this incredible sight. 

Nevertheless, telling an empath they’re too emotional for a job can harm their self-esteem and professional confidence. 

It overlooks the unique skills they bring to the workplace, such as their extremely important ability to empathize with colleagues and clients.

11) “I don’t understand why you feel that way”

Expressing a lack of understanding can isolate empaths and make them reluctant to open up about their feelings. 

While it’s only natural to not understand a person and their emotions, it’s better to try and understand them with their help. 

That’s why this sentence should end with, “Can you please try and explain this to me?” now, it’s up to them whether they’ll try and clarify their emotions and actions. 

You should accept whatever they choose as it’s not their job to explain themselves to others anyway. 

12) “You’re too soft”

When you describe empaths as “soft,” you suggest they lack resilience or toughness, which is an unfair characterization. 

Empaths can be incredibly resilient, often using their emotional depth to bounce back from challenges.

Let’s say an empath is in a romantic relationship, and there’s a period of conflict and misunderstanding with their partner. 

Despite feeling hurt and emotional, the empath takes the time to communicate openly, understand their partner’s perspective, and work together to resolve the issues. 

They don’t resort to emotional outbursts, silent treatment, or giving the cold shoulder. 

They use their emotional depth to repair the relationship and overcome the challenge even stronger.

13) “You’re just looking for attention”

This is another incredibly condescending statement that can hurt empath’s feelings. It implies that their emotional expressions are insincere, when in fact, they express their emotions genuinely and authentically.

When they express empathy or concern, it’s because they’re genuinely attuned to the emotional experiences of others, not because they seek attention.

Those who make this accusation may not fully understand or appreciate the empath’s emotional depth and empathetic nature

They obviously interpret the empath’s actions through a lens of skepticism or cynicism.

Final thoughts

Treat others like you would want to be treated. Don’t be a hardass to people who are different than you. If you don’t understand their perspective, try to inform yourself.

Articles like this one can help. But if you want to learn even more, I suggest you check out 8 surprising traits of highly empathetic people and The top 10 habits of highly empathetic people.

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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