Are You Addicted to Empathy? Consider alternatives to automatic empathy.

Empathy feels good in the moment, but it is not always the best thing in the long run. Sometimes, an authentic response is better for you and for the person you’re trying to connect with. In today’s culture, we are expected to empathize with things we don’t really agree with. Empathy has become synonymous with “good.” The habit of automatic empathy is rarely questioned because it makes you look “bad.” So I was pleased to find a fellow blogger questioning it, and we decided to write a joint blog on the subject.


Romanian Psychologist Lucia Grosaru described to me the crisis mentality in Bucharest as a result of recent small earthquakes. “You hear a lot of anxiety, but the earthquake risk is the same as it has always been,” Ms. Grosaru explains. This interested me because I am a resident of the earthquake-prone San Francisco Bay Area, and I too dislike jumping on anxiety bandwagons. 


by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D.