Empathy is the ability to ‘feel’ with another person, to identify oneself with oneself, and to experience one’s own experiences. It is sometimes seen as the ability to ‘read’ other people’s feelings, or the ability to imagine how they feel, by ‘putting themselves in their shoes.’ In other words, empathy is seen as the ability to understand, in the same lines as the ability to think about future situations or to solve problems based on past experience. But in my opinion, empathy is more than just that. It is the ability to form mental and emotional connections with another person, to get into their mental space. When we feel real empathy or empathy, our identity is actually connected to that of someone else. The division between you and another person ends. ‘Your border’ is melting, so that in some way – or to some extent – it becomes.
Studies have shown that women are generally more sensitive than men. For example, research has shown that women are much better at ‘reading’ people’s emotions from looking at their eyes. Some studies have shown that female friendships tend to depend on helping each other and sharing problems, while men tend to build friendships based on shared interests, such as sports and hobbies. Men and women have also been shown to have different ways of speaking. Women’s conversations tend to last longer, due to their extensive use of ‘back channel support’, such as nodding, smiles, and other gestures. When they do not agree, they tend to express their opinions more indirectly than they do in the statement, helping to avoid conflict. Men, on the other hand, tend to talk too much and too little. They use a lot of needs and tend to ‘talk more’ more. As psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen puts it, ‘men spend a lot of time using language to express their knowledge, skills, and status.’ This makes sense: after all, most ‘human violence’ throughout history was actually not human. Almost every war is organized and fought by humans, and much of the social pressure comes from high-ranking men, who want to protect and increase their power and wealth.