How to Help a Loved One Lack Empathy?

You might feel uncomfortable helping someone who lacks empathy. it feels like you’re giving them a hand up when they haven’t helped others. But in truth, most people with low empathy aren’t aware of how their actions affect others. 

Start with small talk

First and foremost, you need to build a rapport with someone who lacks empathy. You can start by talking about anything and everything to get the ball rolling. 

– Discuss the weather, sports, pop culture, or the latest news stories;

– Get to know the person, what their interests are, and what makes them happy; 

– Don’t go straight into discussing their lack of empathy. This can come across as accusatory and defensive; 

Do this and they’ll be more likely to open up to you and accept your empathy coaching.

Mirror and match their body language

When you’re talking with the person, match their body language. This includes the way they’re sitting, standing, and the speed at which they’re talking. Matching their body language will help them feel more comfortable around you. It will also help ease any discomfort they may be feeling while in conversation with you. If they’re leaning back in their chair, you lean back. This may seem like a lot, but it’s something you can do without even thinking about it. It’s a non-verbal way to communicate that you’re interested in what they’re saying and that you’re on their side.

Be very literal in explaining why an action is hurtful

When the person is doing something hurtful, confront them about it. Be very literal in your explanation. Explain why their action was hurtful and how they could have handled it differently. Be sure to apologize for them so they understand how their words or actions have affected you. For example, if they use an offensive slur, tell them it’s hurtful and why. If they make fun of another person for their choice in clothing, explain that it’s hurtful and why. If they assume something about you that isn’t true, correct them and explain why it was hurtful and how they could have handled it differently.

Provide tools to help build empathy

There are many ways to help someone develop empathy. One way is by providing them with resources:

–If the person is a fan of reading, recommend books about mental illness or books about being a better friend. 

– If they like watching movies and TV shows, suggest shows and movies that focus on mental illness and friendship. 

– If they like social media, share posts and articles regarding mental illness and friendship. 

– You can also suggest getting involved in organizations that support mental illness and improving friendship skills.


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