Why Is Empathy Important?

By Brad Bell

Empathy may be one of the most important attributes.  Empathy involves being able to see things from another person’s perspective, as well as being able to feel what another person feels.  There may be several reasons why empathy is important.  These reasons include building rapport, reducing conflicts, and increasing helping behavior.

Building Rapport

Expressing empathy may be an effective way of building rapport.  People may wish to feel understood. Thus, expressing empathy may increase liking.  Also, if a person express empathy they may be trusted more.  This may be true because they perceive the person as more caring.   

Reducing Conflicts

Some conflicts may result from failing to see things from another person’s perspective.  This may result in hurt feelings. Stating that one understand and appreciate another person’s perspective may result in the person feeling better about the situation.  This may reduce or resolve the conflict.

Increasing Helping Behavior

There may be a number of motives for helping behavior.  One of the motives is the joy of helping others, and this may reflect feeling empathy.  This expression of empathy may involve understanding the person’s situation, and feeling what the other person feels in the situation.