Empath: 8 Signs You Might Be One With Quiz!

Are you an Empath?
Are you an Empath? | Source

Are you an empath?

Do you frequently experience the intense emotions of other, particularly in public settings? Do you find that at times these feelings are intrusive?

Do you struggle with trying to push these emotions away, causing you to become drained and depleted?

Are you able to feel the physical distress of other living creatures, like aches and pains? When a major global event happens that involves significant loss of life, are you able to sense the enormity of the tragedy before it hits the news?

Do strangers approach you and share their personal problems without your prompting?

If you answered yes to these questions, you may very well be an empath. In plain-speak, these abilities are more commonly used to characterize a person who is empathic; a term which may very describe you.

You are not crazy nor do you have bipolar disorder or some other kind of mental health issue. For emapths, these experiences described above are very common and occur on a regular, ongoing basis.

Empath Self-Assessment
Empath Self-Assessment | Source

What is an empath?

Empaths are very special people who for reasons we do not yet understand have the ability to scan another person’s psyche for emotions and thoughts that are connected to the past or present. A good number of empaths are not concerned about where they gained this ability and have accepted this trait as part of who they are.

Empaths are not mind readers or people who are involved with magic or any of other stereotypical non-sense that you see T.V. Instead, they are very much like everyone else except they have a “chip” that gives them the ability to tune into the feelings and emotions of other living creatures.

An empath will be the first to tell you that their unique abilities can be a double edged sword, often carrying more minuses than plusses.

How to tell an empath
How to tell an empath | Source

Empath traits

This article will provide the 8 common traits and characteristics of empaths , which you can use as a self-assessment tool in order to gauge your own empathic abilities. People who are empaths commonly involve themselves with different forms of mindfulness, which is a 25-cent term for being present in the here and now with the added characteristic of being focused on the moment.

One however does not need to be involved in activities like Zen Meditation in order to be an empath. You are either born empathic or you are not. Certain astrological signs may be more empathic than others, including Pisces, Cancers and Scorpios. Both women and men can be empathic but it is thought that as a population group, incidences of empathic traits occur more frequently in women.

As a group, empaths struggle with romantic relationships and often confuse love with obsession because of problematic emotional bonding.

Let’s walk through the 8 common traits and characteristics of empaths and find out how many of these traits you may possess.

Empath Poll

Can a person be an empath

  • Yes - absolutely
  • I am skeptical
  • No - it's a bunch of nonsense
  • I am open to this possibility
  • I'm not sure
See results without voting

Empath Self-Assessment

The 8 characteristics listed below are most commonly experienced by individuals who have the gift of being empathic. These traits however do not represent the complete list of skills. I am just touching upon the “biggies” here.

As a general rule, you will need to circle 3 out of the 8 traits appearing here in order to qualify as being empathic. Keep in mind, some empaths are more gifted than others and no two empaths are alike. I have included a rating scale towards the end of this article.

1. Empaths feel overwhelmed by other peoples' emotions in public
1. Empaths feel overwhelmed by other peoples' emotions in public

1. You feel emotionally overwhelmed in the presence of others.

This is a very common trait of an empath. When in public places, like a shopping mall, house of worship, school or workplace function, empaths feel overwhelmed by the emotions of others for reasons they cannot explain.

Example: During a causal walk in the park, you pass by a group of children. Out of nowhere, you get a tingly feeling down your spine and begin to sense a myriad of emotions from one of the children in your presence. You experience these emotions in a powerful way which can be overwhelming. Even though you try to block these feelings, they continue to stick with you, particularly if these feelings are profoundly sad. Needing to escape these emotions, you decide to go home in order to be alone and away from others.

2. Animals are attracted to you in an unusual way
2. Animals are attracted to you in an unusual way | Source

2. You are drawn to animals and can sense their emotions

Empaths are drawn to animals and in the reverse, animals to empaths. For the most part, animal emotions are experienced as happy by empaths, which helps to balance out some of the sad emotions felt in the presence of other people. Empaths however can tell when an animal is depressed or feeling blue – and can also sense if an animal is sick or in pain.

Example: A dog runs up to you that you have never met. As you begin to pet him, he looks into your eyes and makes strong eye contact. You begin to feel a bit strange and suddenly are able to experience the fullness of the dog’s feelings. During time spent together, you sense he has back pain. Later, the dog’s owner appears and tells you that the pooch has arthritis. He also shares that normally; the dog does not like other people and is confused about why he ran to you.

3. You sense great loss of life
3. You sense great loss of life | Source

3.When catastrophe strikes, you experience a torrent of emotions

One of the major signs that a person is an empath is their unique ability to sense that a tragic event has just happened, impacting many people somewhere on the planet. Empaths often know something “bad” has happened before they are ever told. While they may not know specifics of the event, they absolutely experience a torrent of connected emotions, primarily loss and sadness.

Example: You are out gardening when suddenly you start to feel a bit odd. Moments later, strong feelings of sadness begin to overtake you. It becomes clear to you that something tragic has happened somewhere on the planet. Depending upon the intensity of feelings, you may even begin to feel like you are going to pass out because of their power. Suddenly, your cellphone rings. On the other end of the line is a friend who just informs you that an earthquake has happened, killing hundreds.

4. You are drawn to others pain
4. You are drawn to others pain | Source

4. You are powerfully drawn to people in emotional pain

As mentioned earlier, being an empath can be a double edged sword. On the one hand, empaths are able to “be” with someone during emotional difficulty. On the other hand, empaths are often drawn to those in emotional turmoil, particularly folks who live in chaos or in emotional pain. Empths often try to resist people who are experiencing these emotions but are unable to do so because they can’t help themselves.

Example: The lady down the hall seems to constantly be in and out of abusive relationships. Even though you have tried to help her in the past, she doesn’t listen to your advice. You swear that you are done with her and make the conscious choice to not engage in her drama. Your ability to do this however only lasts a week because you are compelled to listen to her problems and allow her to unburden her pain.

5. You need to frequently be alone
5. You need to frequently be alone | Source

5. You need to isolate yourself from others on a regular basis

Another hallmark of the empath is their ongoing need for “alone time”. Empaths often need to isolate because they “feel” so much. The alone time allows time to emotionally decompress and clear the mind of thoughts and feelings. Isolation is a normal part of life for empaths and is not a sign of being arrogant, narcissistic or “crazy”.

Example: You decide that this weekend you will spend time by yourself and away from others. You make it a point of disconnecting yourself from the world, meaning no television or Internet. You do this so that you can relax and detoxify your mind and body of pent up feelings and emotions. During this time, you find yourself draw to creative things, like writing or painting to help purge emotions. During this period, only your pet (pets) can be around.

6. You struggle with self-care
6. You struggle with self-care | Source

6. You struggle with self-care

This is yet another sign of the empath. Because these individuals are magnetically drawn to other people’s problems, feelings and emotions, they often have little time or energy to engage in proper self-care. As a result, serious consequences can happen in the areas of general health and finance.

Example: Sandy tells her friend Helen that she needs to exercise more and eat a “clean” diet so that she can reduce her bad cholesterol levels. Helen is eventually able to do this with Sandy’s help however, Sandy has done very little to address her own weight and high blood pressure issues.

7. You have the Power to Heal
7. You have the Power to Heal | Source

Are you an Empath?

How many empath traits do you possess?

  • One
  • Two
  • Three
  • Four
  • Five
  • Six
  • Seven
  • Eight
See results without voting

7. You have the power to heal

One of the final traits that some empaths have is the ability to heal other living creatures. This ability however is not universally shared and does not manifest itself in the same way for every empath. Some empathic folks for example can heal animals. Others can heal people. Healing may be limited to different realms, such as emotional or physical healing.

Example: (emotional): An old man walks up to you and begins to talk about how alone he feels since his wife died. After you spend time with him, allowing him to share, he tells you that he suddenly feels much “lighter” and as a result, better.

Example: (physical): A young girl approaches you at the mall. You notice that she limped a bit on her way over. After spending time with her, you are compelled to touch her ankle. The little girl tells you that she feels heat coming from around her leg. She giggles and walks away, leaving you feeling a bit drained. Moments later, the girl’s mother approaches you and says, “How did you do that – she sprained her ankle last week at school. She seems totally fine now”.

Example: (animal): You are walking to your car and notice a small bird on the sidewalk, trying to flap her wings to gain flight. You are drawn to the bird and bend down to pick it up. The bird doesn’t seem to flinch when you do this and makes no cries for help. As you cup the bird in your hands, you stroke her wing. Moments later, you empathically know to toss the bird into the air because she is healed. You watch as the bird disappears into the sky.

8. During dreams you have visions of future
8. During dreams you have visions of future | Source

8. You dream of future events

Many empaths are able to see future events unfold during sleep, particularly deep sleep. While not all empathic people possess this ability, those who do see blurry imagery that represent an event of something yet to unfold. Attached to the imagery, empaths will feel powerful emotions connected to the future event.

Example: You see flames shooting up from a building during a dream. You are unable to make out a bunch of detail however, you can see the outline of a brick house with a dark colored roof. A week later, you learn that your nephew’s home caught fire where a pet cat was trapped inside and died. Your nephew and his family are devastated over the loss of the home and the animal. Somehow you sensed the loss before you were told about it.

Empath Assessment Results Based on Responses

Low Empath
Moderate Empath
Strong Empath
3 out of 8
5 out of 8
8 out of 8
You have some empath skills
You have moderate empath skills
You are a strong empath
Skills may increase over time advancing you to moderate status
Some people never advance from here while others can through self-training
Highest level an empath achieves
Empath Summary
Empath Summary | Source

Summary: Empaths

Empaths are very special people. Many empaths can be found in the helping professions, including the worlds of counseling, psychology, medicine and natural healing. If you are an empath, you already know the ability to experience the emotions of other living creatures can at times be overwhelming.

Empaths are encouraged to engage in as much self-care as possible. If left unchecked, your special abilities can get the best of you and cause you great personal, emotional and financial pain. You have been given something very unique by the universe.

The rest of the planet desperately needs your special powers for karmic harmony. You may not have asked for these abilities but you have them anyway – it was never your choice to begin with.

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Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 2 years ago from New Jersey

This sounds like me! I cast and read astrology charts and do tarot readings for people who are trying to better understand themselves, and have waking psychic visions. Since they are normally about deaths of people I love, which will occur in the near future, I am currently taking a course in Intuition and Clairvoyance, so I can learn to use this energy and learn more positive things.

Early this year, my husband and lover of 39 yrs. passed on suddenly at 58. I am heartbroken and trying to keep busy, but there are days when I am paralyzed with grief. I received your email and will answer you soon, I appreciate the traffic you threw my way, and only have lately begun writing again here on HP. My blog needs a complete overhaul.

It is, but I never made much money on it, even though Google seems to like it, it advertises it for a whole page. I am considering taking my better pieces from there and moving them here. I have written on a lot of sites, and this is the best, even with the changes the Squidoo people will bring, that should only bring us new readers. If you have any suggestions for new people for my "Famous People of the Zodiac" series, I'm all ears! I do switch them out to put new people in, but am in my 50's and am not always sure who younger people want to hear more about. The series has a Part 1 on here, and Part 2 on my blog.

Talk soon.

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author


You have one of the BEST blogs here on Hubpages, hands down! I sent you a note to share we have begun linking to your astrological posts here on Hubpages - they are that good!

I am sorry to hear about your husband. That has to have been devastating. To be with someone as many years as you were with your husband and to lose him is just hard to even emotionally digest. I am a Scorpio and have "fixed" relationships. I've been with my partner now for 25 years and cannot imagine what it would be like to experience the loss you have.

Going back to your blog - my sense is you just need the right exposure. I have been reading astrology for many years and know when I see garbage and when I see the real deal. The real deal is you!

Finally, I think you are a bit of a spiritual healer. I encourage you to continue working your blog here on HP as well as your website. People really need your help and guidance. While a lot of folks never comment on what they read, it is important that we remember they do read the information.

Thanks again for coming by to post here.

PS that course you are taking sounds amazing!

Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 2 years ago from New Jersey


I wrote a note back to you too. Of course, a Scorpio isn't the type for flings, fixed sign people fall hard and are in a relationship for the long haul. Both my husband and I have/had Scorpio Ascendants, and that means we felt the same way about the important issues in life. But we had enough aspects of challenge to keep it interesting. It's been rough, in the beginning there's so much to do to try to see how secure your life is, we spent what was his whole adult life together, and I was only a few weeks short of 19 when we met. Thankfully he left me in pretty good shape, I paid off our house and bought a new car. I'm going to Antigua for Christmas, since it will be too hard to be here.

Our 26 yr. old son is a teacher, and Scorpio Sun and Moon. He still lives at home, teaching doesn't pay well, and he's having some trouble finding a job in kindergarten or 1st grade, his passion. Kids just gravitate to him. But you know how people judge and get odd ideas in their heads, I'm sure. The U.S. has become so conservative, and parents think a children's teacher should be a middle aged woman. People really need to get into the 21st century. I'm happy he's here with me at this time though, we need to help each other through our grief.

What you say about my work is kind, and you insight is spot on. One man in my Clairvoyant group says I'm a Wounded Healer, and also encourages me to keep on. I will. People always begin telling me about their problems, and even though I'm a nervous person with my Gemini planets, for some reason I have the ability to calm people down and give them good advice.

It's true I get visitors who don't comment on the blog, I'm always shocked by the stats, since so few say much. So I'm not going to give up. Thanks for your encouragement.

Rick 2 years ago

I've got 7 of these. I always wondered why I felt odd around people and why animals run up to me. Now I know!

Theresa Jonathan profile image

Theresa Jonathan 2 years ago from Maseru, Lesotho

I am grateful to read this article which explains me. I do not really like animals, actually I fear them but strangely I feel their needs and would sympathize with a chained dogs. This a good hub.

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author

Thanks, Theresa for coming by to share:)!

GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 2 years ago from Northern California

I often feel overwhelmed and overly sensitive to others, especially in a group. I have often dreamed of coming events. In a local library I visit, I usually have to run out as a feeling of "something wrong" overwhelms me. It is nice to see a hub on this as I have always experienced these emotions. My sensitivity has saved my life many times (I was nearly murdered in 1986 but sensed it coming) but it is also somewhat of a burden as it makes life painful and difficult at times. Thank you for writing this--I invite you to read my Hub "What NOT to say when people are grieving," which also addresses the issue of empathy.

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author

Hi, GarnetBird,

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. It sounds like you have empathic abilities big-time! Sorry to hear about what happened in 1986 by the way.

I am going to check out the hub you mentioned right away. Thanks again!

esatchel profile image

esatchel 2 years ago from Kentucky

I have seven of the eight traits, very strongly; I won't judge myself for healing as I have, to my knowledge, never done anything as theatrical and clear cut as make the lame walk or the blind see.

I have chosen a healing profession, which in many ways was a horrible mistake. For me. I am always told that I have a very calming and centering presence - that they feel safe and better in my care - but it exhausts me, physically and emotionally.

I require a lot of alone time. Or alone with my husband, who gives me rest.

My son does not exhaust me; I hate to say my daughter does. That girl (young woman now) saps A LOT of energy, and always has. Bless her heart.

Cheeky Kid profile image

Cheeky Kid 2 years ago from Milky Way

I don't know if I'm actually an empath (mixed feelings on that). But I know that I'm apathetic. But that's also the reason why I can see farther the most and feel deeper than most. Empath or not, I don't know.

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author

Hi, Estachel,

Thanks for sharing. My sense, based on what you shared, is that you really are an empath. Very few people hit all 7 of the 8. I can imagine that at times that you gift really is a plus and a minus. I am glad you are in the healing professions. Goodness knows we need people like you!

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author

Hi, Cheeky Kid,

Thanks for the share and for the self-reflection. A lot of people have mixed feelings on this topic for sure. I appreciate you taking the time to pop by and respond!

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 2 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Very interesting hub misterhollywood. Like most things being an empath has good bits and bad bits and I think it is very important for all sensitive people to learn how to ground and themselves on a regular basis.

The trouble I have found is setting boundaries. For a lot of people it seems the more you give out to them the more they will keep taking, but I find it hard to say no. One of my life lessons and I just have to keep plugging away at it!

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author

Hi, CMHypno,

Thanks for sharing. I never even thought of the boundaries issue until you mentioned here. That makes a LOT of sense. I'm going over to your hubs now to check them out:)!!

Hankscita profile image

Hankscita 2 years ago from Florida

Excellent Hub. For a long time, I thought everyone could tell what everyone else was feeling. Once I realized they couldn't, I changed my perception of the world, (for the better). I also used to feel bad that I wanted to be alone so much. Once I realized that I was "re-charging" I changed my view on that too. Now I know it's one of the ways to take care of myself. Thank you for writing this. I shared it on my Facebook with another empath.

Theresa Jonathan profile image

Theresa Jonathan 2 years ago from Maseru, Lesotho

Needing to be alone could be complicated if you are married and cannot let your spouse understand this need. I remember I used to ask my spouse to take the children and visit his parents so that I could have that day alone. It could also sent wrong message! This is a personality trait spouses need to research on so that they could be supportive and not judgmental. What a complex life we have!

LL Fugate profile image

LL Fugate 2 years ago from Central Virginia

Interesting hub. Voted up.

(Not empathic at all.)

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author

Thanks, LL!!

Amy Choisser profile image

Amy Choisser 2 years ago from Melbourne Fl

Great article. I am a newly self accepted empath. Previously not knowing why I was still different from other idealist in personality, learning about empaths has put the final piece together. I am also taking a course on how to effectivley block out others emotions so I can enjoy social events and such and be a better counselor. The only thing I noticed was empathic is defined as Highly sensitive people and they may not be an empath. That cmes from my own research. Thanks so much!

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author

Hi, Amy,

Thanks for sharing. I wanted to post this hub as a way of creating greater awareness around the phenomenon of empaths. It sounds like you are one for sure. Glad you liked!

Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 2 years ago from Texas USA

I find this so interesting. Your information resonates on many levels with me and who I am. Great hub.

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 2 years ago from Hollywood, CA Author

I am glad you enjoyed Arachnea!

Smilealot 22 months ago

A really interesting read, I never considered the possibility that people could be 'empaths' as I had never heard of the term before. Than you for sharing:-))

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 22 months ago from Hollywood, CA Author

I am glad you liked and I just started following you!

Bobby 21 months ago

glad there is somebody else, very well wrtietn article.i have always been able to feel the people around me, if somebody in my family has a nightmare at my house and wake up, i wake up at the same time feeling terrified even if i was having a good dream. i almost couldn't be at my grandmothers viewing when she passed because there was about 30 or so people there and it was like all those emotions and my emotions crushing me, i hate crowded situations.i actually have a small question, are withdrawals related to emotion, currently my mother is quitting smoking and i feel nervous, jittery, i can't sleep or eat, when i do eat i get sick. its just bad, if this is how it feels to go through withdrawals then i am never ever ever doing anything ever.i found that i do have to be in a mile radius for any emotions to come through though except people i really have built a bond with, then they can be 200 miles away and i can feel how they feel when there is a larger emotion, so im pretty sure that if i want to get away from my mother's emotions i would have to fly to another continent to get any kind of relief. but i don't ever want to get rid of it, it helps a lot when i know people need help.

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 21 months ago from Hollywood, CA Author

Glad you liked!

Firefly 20 months ago

I had a dream about the death of a man's mother. I had a terrible feeling about his future. I wished him a Happy New Year and told him that he was going to have a wonderful year, even though I knew that wasn't true.

I tried to distance myself from him, and even tried to be hostile towards him, but each time that I closed the door, another would open and reconnect me to him.

Then, a few months later, I had this terrible emotional feeling that made me physically unwell. I had terrible heart pain and even ended up in the A&E. They couldn't find anything wrong with me. After a few days, I checked his blog for a post that was due, but as I'd suspected, he hadn't posted. I knew that when I looked at the family notices in the paper that a notice about her passing would be there, and it was.

I've never even met this man in real life.

This is an example of the things that happen to me, a lot. I was aware of it very Early on in my childhood.

The story, above, was the most intense that I have ever experienced it though. I don't know why. I drew a mind map about it, and there were many connections to this man that I still don't understand.

I don't have contact with him now, but I still have this feeling that I need to keep a door open for him.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm normal. I feel so alone, even when among people. I don't know anyone that is like me. I feel like I'm the only person in the world that is like this.

Medusa13 profile image

Medusa13 20 months ago from Henrietta, New York

Very interesting. I have often joked and called myself an empath. It is emotionally draining to be more in tune to other's feelings and pain.

georgia 18 months ago

Ive loved reading this and now understand why i seem to need to b alone with my thoughts for such long periods of time after being out in public.hoping to gain some more insight to hold off the exhaustion and drained feelings that seem to surround me at times.

misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 18 months ago from Hollywood, CA Author

I'm glad this was helpful to you!

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 18 months ago from Baltimore, MD

I've just recently learned the term empath. The more I've learned, the more it explains a lot about me. I always thought I was just very sensitive and introverted. I think I am actually an empath instead. I dreamed about the Oklahoma City bombing and other events before they happened. People I just met often tell me personal things they never tell anyone else. I feel like I almost absorb other people's emotions. It is good to know there is a term for this.

poncho 5 months ago

People have told me I am empathic. One of the things that happens is when I am in an old structure that has been abandoned, I wind up standing perfectly still and "absorbing" something from inside the structure. It is always painful. There are old houses I will not go in even if the person living there is nice. If I get the feeling that something bad has happened there, I won't go in. With people, I feel like a sponge that absorbs pain.

mavric 4 months ago

I have often wondered about things like this and I've have many questions that go unanswered. It seems like something in my life is lacking and that I don't fit in. I want so bad to find my place in the world and I try very hard to be understanding and try and look at everyone's situation. I don't judge but often find that people are taking me they wrong way or misunderstanding the things i say and do. My intentions are always good and I have a bad habit of putting others before me even strangers. Like mentioned above I feel its like a double edge sword. I have always know that something has been different about me and I have always tried to do the right thing. No one is perfect and I've made my share of mistakes. I find that most find me intimidating or think that I'm trying to be better than them and its not the case. It is hard living in a world where everyone doubts you and your intentions and when you try so hard for so long it gets discourageing. I'm not going to change who i am regardless of anyone else or there opinions. We're all here to work together and build a world that our kids can grow up and be safe. People have a choice to make a difference and make things better but most are too selfish or have been through so much that life has damaged them. I came close to letting it get to me and when people do me wrong or assume accuse or threaten the people I care about I can feel my skin began to burn. God has been a big part of my journey and has carried me when I thought he gave up on me. My faith and my heart has been tested over and over and it is now stronger than ever. I'm ready to start living my life and finding my place in the world and I know God is revealing things in his time and when times get hard I will turn to him guide me through.

alice 6 weeks ago

just recently realized i to am an empath, now it all makes sense to me, why people open up to me, when they never met me before= just like yesterday at the mechanics, this man starts telling me of his divorce and what a rough 14 yrs of marriage he had, then he met another female who took advantage of him etc, The man then tells me he doesn't tell everyone his story... I never met this guy before in my life... People do this to me more often than not... I believe I am a moderate empath.

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    John Hollywood (misterhollywood)241 Followers
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    John Hollywood is a pop culture reporter that writes articles with a psychological twist or wellness slant.

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