People who lack empathy and respect for others usually display these 8 behaviors

Lucas Graham by Lucas Graham | June 16, 2024, 3:03 pm

It’s one of those things that can leave you feeling cold, hollow, and undeniably hurt:

You’re dealing with someone who just doesn’t seem to get it, who can’t or won’t understand your feelings or the feelings of others.

You’ve tried to discuss it, tried to explain and show them how their actions impact those around them, but it’s like talking to a brick wall.

Sometimes, it’s not even a huge, glaring issue.

It’s just this lingering sense that something is off, a lack of empathy or respect that slowly gnaws away at your patience and goodwill.

Here’s how to identify these behaviors that indicate a surprising lack of empathy and respect for others.

1) They often invalidate others’ feelings

It’s a situation most of us have been in at one point or another.

You’re pouring out your heart, sharing a deep, personal experience or emotion, only to be met with a shrug, a blank stare or worse, outright dismissal.

This is a classic behavior displayed by those who lack empathy and respect for others.

They just don’t seem to get the depth of your feelings or the importance of your experiences.

It’s as though your emotions are a foreign language they can’t comprehend or don’t care to learn.

This constant invalidation can gradually chip away at your self-esteem and create an unhealthy dynamic, making you feel unheard and unimportant.

If you notice someone consistently invalidating the feelings and experiences of others, it’s a clear sign that they’re struggling with empathy and respect.

2) They deflect rather than accept responsibility

I’ve been there, and it’s a tough place to be.

I shared a concern, pointed out an issue, or simply tried to discuss something that was bothering me. And instead of acknowledging the problem, the person I was talking to just deflected the blame right back at me.

It was as if they were playing a game of emotional dodgeball, constantly avoiding any responsibility for their actions while making you feel like the one at fault.

It’s a confusing and frustrating experience, especially when you’re trying to build a healthy relationship or maintain a positive environment.

This behavior is typical of those who lack empathy and respect for others. They’re more focused on protecting their ego than understanding how their actions affect those around them. 

3) They consistently fail to show appreciation

I remember a time when I went out of my way to do something special for a friend. I put in a lot of effort, time, and even money to create a memorable experience for them.

But when the moment came, their reaction was less than enthusiastic. In fact, it was downright indifferent. They barely acknowledged the effort I’d put in and didn’t seem to appreciate the gesture at all.

It was incredibly disheartening.

In hindsight, it was a clear indicator of their lack of empathy and respect. They were so wrapped up in their own world that they couldn’t see or appreciate the efforts others made for them.

If you notice someone consistently failing to show appreciation towards others, it’s a strong sign of their struggle with empathy and respect.

4) They often engage in manipulative behaviors

Did you know that manipulation often stems from a lack of empathy and respect? It’s true.

I’ve seen it happen countless times in different settings, from personal relationships to professional environments.

Someone wants something from you, be it attention, validation, or a specific outcome. But instead of asking directly or working towards it in a fair way, they resort to manipulation.

They might use guilt trips, emotional blackmail, or even subtle forms of deceit to get what they want. 

This type of behavior isn’t just unfair; it’s a clear sign of a lack of empathy and respect.

5) They have a difficult time expressing genuine happiness for others

Ever noticed how some people struggle to be genuinely happy for others?

I’ve encountered it myself. I share a piece of good news, an achievement, or a moment of joy, expecting a positive response. But instead, I’m met with a lukewarm reaction or even a hint of resentment.

It’s as if they can’t understand why I’m happy or they just can’t bring themselves to celebrate with me.

This failure to express genuine happiness for others is a common behavior among those who lack empathy and respect. They are so focused on themselves that they find it hard to appreciate the happiness and successes of others.

6) They often belittle or dismiss others’ ideas

I’m sure you’ve had this experience before. You’re in a conversation, you share an idea or a suggestion, and the person you’re talking to just dismisses it outright.

No consideration, no discussion, just a blunt dismissal as if your idea isn’t worth their time or attention.

It can leave you feeling small and unimportant, as if your thoughts and opinions don’t matter.

This shows that they’re not interested in understanding your perspective or valuing your contribution.

7) They struggle with genuine apologies

There’s something about a genuine apology that’s incredibly powerful. It acknowledges a mistake, shows understanding of the impact, and expresses a sincere intent to make things right.

But you know what? Some people really struggle with this.

Whether it’s a minor misunderstanding or a major fallout, they can’t seem to utter those simple words: “I’m sorry.” And if they do, it often lacks sincerity or is quickly followed up with a “but”.

This struggle to apologize sincerely shows an inability to fully acknowledge their wrongdoing and the impact it has had on others.

8) They show a lack of active listening

You know that feeling when you’re talking to someone, and you can tell they’re just waiting for their turn to speak rather than actually listening to what you’re saying?

It’s such a frustrating experience. You’re trying to share something important, but the person you’re talking to doesn’t seem interested in understanding your point of view.

Active listening is more than just hearing words. It involves understanding, responding, and showing that you value the speaker’s thoughts and feelings.

When someone consistently fails to listen actively, it’s a glaring sign of a lack of empathy and respect. They are so focused on their own thoughts and feelings that they neglect to truly understand those of others.

The final thought

If you’ve recognized some of these behaviors in people around you, it can be a tough pill to swallow. It’s not easy dealing with individuals who lack empathy and respect.

But it’s crucial to remember – you can’t change others, but you can control how you respond to them.

Start by setting solid boundaries. It’s okay to distance yourself from those who consistently display these behaviors. You deserve respect and understanding, too.

If these behaviors are present in someone close to you, consider having an open conversation about your feelings. It won’t be easy, and it may not yield immediate results, but expressing your concerns is a step towards resolution.

And if you’ve noticed some of these behaviors in yourself, don’t be too hard on yourself. Acknowledging our shortcomings is the first step towards improvement.

A quote by the renowned psychologist Carl Rogers comes to mind here: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Self-awareness paves the way for growth and transformation. So take this awareness as an opportunity for self-improvement.

At the end of the day, empathy and respect are skills that can be nurtured with time and practice. So keep learning, growing and striving for better understanding of yourself and others.