15 Clear Signs Someone Lacks Empathy 


We’ve all encountered insensitive, uncompassionate people who don’t understand or care about others’ feelings. While occasional lapses in consideration are expected, a persistent inability to empathize is a major red flag. Check out these 15 traits that experts say are huge empathy deficits.

They Struggle With Emotional Intelligence


A core component of empathy involves recognizing, processing, and responding to emotional states—skills that make up emotional intelligence. Those devoid of empathy are impassionate, leaving them inept at deciphering or managing their own emotions, let alone someone else’s.

Extreme Selfishness and Self-Absorption

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People who lack empathy are gripped by excessive self-focus and preoccupation with their own interests, sentiments, and agenda to the exclusion of others. It’s all about their wants and needs.

Rigid, Dogmatic Views and Beliefs


Being empathetic involves theorizing about and imagining another person’s perspective—the insensitive individual grapples with conceptualizing how situations look from viewpoints other than their own.

Oblivious to Social Cues


The unempathetic person lacks the antennae to pick up on sentimental and social signals conveyed through facial expressions, body language, vocal tones, and other subtle cues that typically shape human interactions.

Feelings Invalidation and Denial


Rather than acknowledging and working through emotions, those without empathy mock, dismiss, or deny the existence and significance of their and others’ feelings.

Highly Judgmental and Critical


Empathy promotes a nuanced understanding of different perspectives. Devoid of this, the insensitive individual tends to judge situations and people through an excessively critical, disparaging, black-and-white mindset.

Detached and Unemotional Communication Style


Deprived of the warmth and emotional resonance that consideration facilitates, the inconsiderate person’s interpersonal style comes across as robotic, cold, and emotionally disconnected in their interactions and communication.

Difficulty with Intimacy and Closeness


Since empathy is so central to human connection, those chronically lacking consideration often struggle to develop and maintain close relationships and have a history of unstable personal relationships.

Prone to Cruelty and Bullying Acts


People who lack empathy don’t have a natural aversion to distressing others. As a result, they are more prone to behaving callously or demeaningly. This can also lead to aggressive actions, such as insults, threats, and physical intimidation.

Deflects Responsibility and Accountability


Unempathetic individuals are unaware of how their words and actions might negatively affect others. Consequently, they do not feel the need to apologize and fail to take ownership of their mistakes or make amends for their actions.

Emotionally Unswayable by Others

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As the inconsiderate person struggles to provide solace, they also seem impervious to having their distressed moods soothed, calm, or reassured.

Drawn to Sadistic or Disturbing Content

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With a little empathetic aversion to depictions of suffering, those lacking this trait may exhibit an unsettling interest in or desensitization to sadistic, graphically violent, or psychologically disturbing material in entertainment and media.

Exploitative and Machiavellian Tendencies

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The profound inability to consider others’ thoughts and sentiments can manifest in the most extreme, malignant form—a willingness to employ devious manipulation tactics, violate principles of honesty and trust, and exploit others in distressingly self-serving ways.

Struggles with Charitable Giving or Helping Others


A core component of consideration is feeling motivated to help or show compassion toward those in need. Unempathetic people have little inclination toward charity, volunteering, or assisting others.

Limited Capacity for Gratitude


Having empathy provides a passionate appreciation for kind gestures and good deeds from others. Those with consideration deficits often need help to fully resonate with, value, or reciprocate such acts of consideration.


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