7 Struggles Empaths Face Every Day In Their Social Lives

7 Struggles Empaths Face Every Day In Their Social Lives

Carrying extra emotional weight is a challenge.
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Most people, when asked to define the word “empath,” would say something about having the ability to take on the emotional and mental states of others. This is definitely a big part of the meaning, but as all empaths know, there’s much more to it than that.

Lately I have been coming across articles aimed at people who are often criticized for their emotionality and sensitivity, offering solace and support and encouraging them to view these traits as blessings. I’m very glad that there are people who see it this way and are trying to empower the more emotion- and intuition-driven people of the world.

Sadly, however, these comforting words don’t just magically change the reality that being an empath, and carrying extra emotional weight, is a challenge, a burden we usually wish we didn’t have to bear.

It tends to cause complications in different areas of our lives, and the area I want to discuss specifically in this article is social life:

1. They don’t do well in large groups.

Many empaths are people-lovers, but just cannot handle large group socialization. All the different energies can become overwhelming and just hard to take in all at once. Plus, in larger groups, there tends to be more potential for conflict and negativity, which empaths will sense immediately and respond to very strongly.

2. They can’t stand to hear people being gossiped about or spoken of badly.

It brings them a sense of personal disturbance and discomfort, and more often than not, it will dampen their mood, as they imagine themselves in the position of the person being talked about.

3. Conflict causes them distress regardless of whether or not they are directly involved.

Nope, it doesn’t matter if the empath isn’t a central figure in the conflict or if the negative feelings aren’t directed at them. In any social group—friends, roommates, organizations, teams, sororities/fraternities, etc—any sort of disruption of the usual peace and contentment will cause tension for empaths. In fact, it can be really upsetting.

4. They prefer to avoid confrontations.

If there is no direct issue between an empath and another person, said empath certainly isn’t going to risk doing anything that may create one. It can be tricky because there may be a legitimately bothersome problem going on, but figuring out how to deal with it can take such a big emotional toll.

5. They may come across as moody or distant.

Empaths sometimes don’t even realize that they are picking up negative vibes or feelings from other people or from the situation—they just feel the shift in their own mood. Other people may not sense any change at all, and so it will seem strange to them that the empath suddenly seems more withdrawn.

6. They care deeply about the problems of others…sometimes even more than their own problems.

I once found myself in a conversation with a relatively new friend that I couldn't extract myself from. She began telling me vivid stories about her childhood and personal life, none of them happy. Afterwards, I felt really uncomfortable in a strange way. People will often feel inclined to talk to empaths about difficult situations that they’ve been through or are currently going through, as they will always express genuine concern and be supportive. But hearing all of that can be harmful for an empath’s well-being. They often end up with unwanted information and thus unwanted sad, negative feelings. But they want to be there for everyone, always, and don’t want to turn their back on anyone who seems in crisis.

7. They just know. Even when no one else does. And that can be frustrating.

Empaths are intuitive. They know when one friend says something to another that hits a nerve—they feel the emotional twitch themselves. They notice when a friend is smiling less than usual or making his sarcastic, witty comments with less enthusiasm. They can tell when someone is enjoying life less than they used to. They’re silent observers and they just have that sixth sense. They know, though, that they likely won’t get explanations or answers about these feelings, and that they might not even be talked about at all, so a lot of the time they just end up feeling stuck.


Cover Image Credit: Ariana Leo

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


@abidickson01 on twitter.com


Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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