We all have those people in our life who just *get* you. You know the ones. The friends that can instantly read your feelings and know what's going on. Then there are those people you've known who are a little... disconnected from the feelings of those around them.
That's because there are some people in society who are more prone to empathy than others. In fact, more so than most 'normal' people.
According to Dr Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and author of The Empath’s Survival Guide, each of us sit at different levels of an empathy scale.
Dr Orloff describes it as a spectrum, where there's people with no empathy (narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths), regular people who have empathy, highly sensitive people, and at the other end of the spectrum are empaths.
Watch: How to know if you're dating a narcissist. Post continues below.
And no, before you even ask - it doesn't mean anything is wrong with you.
"Researchers have found that empaths have more active mirror neurons - this means they can tap into the micro-changes in others," said psychotherapist Lissy Abrahams.
"Whilst this ability is helpful at times, it can be problematic for empaths as they’re overworking in the emotional domain, often soaking up too much. Sometimes they can be filled up with feelings yet have no idea where they originated," she adds.
Here's absolutely everything you need to know about empaths - including what it means and how to tell if you are one.
What is an empath?
Being an empath means a little more than just being a sensitive person or being really empathetic to others - it's a whole other level.
"Empaths are acutely aware of other people’s emotions and can often feel these emotions within themselves," explains Abrahams.
"Empaths connect with people emotionally and can easily understand them. It’s not a mental exercise but an intuitive ability. It’s their gut instinct."
And while it's something that can be seen as a beneficial trait, there are some occasional disadvantages of feeling too much, too deeply.