5 Things Fake Empaths Do That Make Them Different from Real Ones

Published by
Becky Storey

Our world is plagued with fake people who pretend to be something they aren’t. It’s not unusual to fall for a fake, no matter what they’re pretending to be. Sometimes, we just trust too easily. When you fall for a fake empath’s lies, it could be emotionally or mentally damaging. For your own sake, it’s a good idea to know what to look for when spotting a fake.

Despite how wholesome being an empath is at its root, there are still people who make it into something less than that. Fake empaths are, unfortunately, common. People claim to have this gift for all sorts of reasons. Often, fake empaths are narcissists.

Empaths and narcissists are on opposite ends of the same spectrum. They insist that they are highly sensitive to other people’s emotions and can “just tell how you feel” in order to manipulate you in some way for their own gain.

What Is an Empath?

A real empath is a person who can tune in, or feel, the emotions of others. This extends to animals and even the emotional “vibe” of certain places. Oftentimes, empaths are portrayed as having a psychic ability similar to mind reading.

Fake empaths particularly love the recognition that comes with this theory. While some might believe in the psychic aspects, others lean more towards the idea that empaths are just highly sensitive to emotions and actively try to feel the emotions of others.

Real empaths are born with their abilities and may never know they have such a gift. They may live their entire lives assuming that it’s normal to pick up on everyone’s emotions so easily. With or without their knowledge, empaths use a whole array of tools to understand another person’s emotions. These include body language, tone of voice and even the words a person uses. Fake empaths are unlikely to even notice such subtle changes.

For strongly empathic people, distance has no impact on their abilities. Even live TV, documentaries and reality shows can give emotional impressions to an empath. For this reason, real empaths will often avoid seeing shows that are heavy with emotion.

5 Differences between Fake Empaths and Real Empaths

1. They Want to Diagnose You

Fake empaths want to tell YOU how YOU feel. Instead of simply trying to understand and be in tune with how you feel, as a real empath would do, they want to read you. They want to diagnose your feelings and they want everyone to know about it.

For example, imagine you’re having a hard time and have been a little quieter than usual. A real empath would naturally feel this and would understand why. Be it anxiety or maybe sadness, they’ll feel it too. They probably won’t tell you that they feel your emotions too, they’ll just try to help without making a fuss.

A fake empath will turn it into a guessing game, without a sympathetic approach. They just want you to notice that they’ve “read you”.

2. They Don’t Take “No” Well

If a fake empath comes up with an incorrect assumption of you, which is most likely, they won’t handle being corrected very well. Fake empaths pretend to be this way for attention and to feel like they have a special power that makes them superior, and sometimes even god-like.

Whilst a real empath would be apologetic and uncomfortable if they had been wrong about how you felt, a fake one would be defensive. They’re likely to insist that you’re wrong about your own emotions. After all, they’re the ones with the magical powers, right?

3. They Will Note Your Negative Emotions, Not Positive Ones

Fake empaths want to feel like they’ve caught you out, so they’ll try to reveal emotions you would be keeping secret. If they think you’re angry at someone, they’ll announce that “they can feel it” because they’re empathetic. The same goes for any sadness or discomfort they might think you have.

Real empaths enjoy when others feel positive emotions because they can feel it too. They get to share in the good feelings and they’re happy to tell you they’re experiencing the same emotions. Fake empaths won’t bother with noting your positive emotions, because they’re not as exciting or dramatic enough to get them attention.

4. They Tell Everyone They’re Empaths

There are very few signs that make it clearer that someone is not an empath than them telling everyone that they are. Real empaths don’t need or want the attention and confusion that comes from sharing their abilities. If you reveal that you can feel the emotions of others, you’re likely to be met with questions. Fake empaths love this. They crave the attention.

5. They Blame Emotional Influence

As a real empath, you’re constantly taking in the emotional experiences of the people and places around you. This can be fatiguing and will have some impact on your own mood. Fake empaths will let this be an excuse for their bad moods and bad behavior, while real empaths would never.

Real empaths understand that it is possible to be influenced by the outside world, but they wouldn’t let it become negative or impact the people around them. If emotions get too strong, they would rather take themselves away for a while than hurt their family or friends.

Fake empaths will become angry and even rude and snappy, then blame it on the influence of others instead of taking responsibility for lashing out.

Fake Empaths Can Be Dangerous

Fake empaths are particularly dangerous people because of their assumed control over your emotions. In order to protect yourself from these people, it’s important to know the differences between things a fake empath and a real one. If someone in your life shows signs of being fake, it’s best to stay away.


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com

View Comments

  • A well done and much needed article. Another angle they can do is brag about being an Empath (or psychic or a mind reader) and behave that way to others but fail or pretend not to pick up on your obvious hurt feelings as a way to undermine you.

    • for the third one, even as an empath I am guilty of that, albeit not on purpose. It's just easier to read negative emotions than positive ones, and its often times harder to "see"/"feel" happiness because the negative emotions stick out and grab your attention more, and often times I cant even find any happiness in people because its soo rare these daays, especially in 2020.

    • I see the distinctions you are making and it is worth talking about Empath care etc. but the word ‘fake’ doesn’t quite sit with me. Many of these items apply to the “unconscious empath” others apply to an empath who hasn’t found her tribe and maybe going it alone and feeling overwhelmed. The point is a real empath could also participate in all of these behaviors because they need healing or awareness. Thank you for writing the article though because it will alert people to behaviors that aren’t great whether empath or not.

  • I'm wondering about the connection between empathy and intro/extroversion. I never really thought of myself as being an empath, but I do avoid emotionally charged situations or entertainment as I just find them too upsetting, even if they'e entirely fictional. I'm also an introvert, because I find being with other people is unusually exhausting, though I could never say why. Now it occurs to me that this is largely due to the emotional beating that even a casual encounter involves...

  • Not necessarily true. Your logic is similar to "If you say you're a genius, it means you're not a genius" (regardless of your IQ). I hear these sort of beliefs all the time from those who have been brainwashed by others and don't realize they've been brainwashed. I avoid any sort of "New Age" spirituality like the plague.

  • This is just ....so crazy. I have never even heard of the term empath until today. After reading an article explaining the meaning I'm just like.....This explains who I am. And then after reading THIS article is described to the T the types of things my ex gf does.
    She was born with a face that will let her get her way. Also, she does alot of nice and seemingly caring things while appearing to be so fuckin genuine and sincere. Now she never claimed to be anything, so I can't call her a fake. I just always attributed her behavior as a result of the abuse and unfortunate things that ha happened to her throughout her life. Like she was goin to make sure that she was In charge, and what she said was right because she could maintain control of every situation and leave zero chances of gettin hurt So maybe someone can become a fake empath without knowing or meaning to do so.

  • hmmm... it seems everyone is a self-proclaimed empath in astrology groups... though I wouldn't say all fake empaths are necessarily narcissists. just people looking for some self-validation, perhaps? it does get frustrating with these people, though, particularly in how they often split the world between two sides, their team and the other, as though we aren't all different yet also so very similar. sure, in retrospect they might admit to their gross over generalization, and who doesn't often overly generalize here and there for whatever affect they're looking for out of people?

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Published by
Becky Storey