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The Enemies of Love, Part 8: Lack of Empathy

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Did you put the “Pathetic” in “Empathetic?” How relatable are you?

Your level of relatability will be directly proportionate to how loveable you are. And empathy is essential when you want to relate to another human being…especially a woman.

Lots of times you’ll hear people say:

“I’m sorry that happened to you.”?“I understand…I’ve been there.”?“I feel your pain.”

But which of those statements are empathy, and which is sympathy?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines “empathy” as identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.

That means that you feel empathy when you’ve experienced what your lady has experienced.

You feel sympathy when you have not experienced the same experience, but you can imagine what your lady is going through.

Women are very different from men…we already know that. There are a lot of female life experiences that we guys will never understand. Menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, wearing bras, makeup, high heels, pressure to be attractive to men…they’re all foreign to men. We can never be empathetic in these examples…unless you’re a cross-dresser. That’s a whole different article.

So, how can you become more empathetic…instead of just being pathetic?

First, know the difference between empathy and sympathy. Then, don’t say things like “I know how you feel” if you haven’t had the same or similar experiences. Your lady might consider that dishonest or fake.

Suppose that your lady’s mom/sister/cat just died. If you’ve actually gone through that experience, you can say things like “I’ve been there, and know how you feel.”

But if you haven’t gone through it, you should limit your comments to “So sorry to hear of your loss” or comments like that.

Empathy can be expressed verbally. But you can also express your empathy by some of the things you do. Look for things you can do to support her. Take over jobs and tasks she does while she’s dealing with the event…if she ASKS.

Once you have established that you actually have feelings and you acknowledge HER feelings, the best thing you can do is listen attentively. Make a big deal about it. Turn off the TV. Put your phone on “vibrate.” Then TELL HER that you are doing this stuff so you can hear what she has to say.

Then LISTEN. Don’t try to fix her, or fix the situation. Just listen.

If she asks for your help…help. But don’t take over unless she asks you to.

Look for ways to be empathetic. You’ll be a Great Lover.


For more articles by Russ Longcore, go to Russ Longcore’s Blog.


About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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