3 Potential Partner Type Matches for Empaths

Do you feel things first, then think? Do you hear what people not say? Do you, as Judith Orloff says, “sense other people’s emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in [y]our bodies, without the usual filters”?

If so, you probably are an empath. If not, do any friends spring to mind?

Being an empath means being susceptible to the energies around you, either in people or in places. It is thus vital for empaths to be more conscious of the energies they elect to welcome into their lives, not least of which in romantic partners.

In ‘The Empath’s Survival Guide’, Orloff identifies 3 broad types of persons who may prove ideal fits for empaths. Interestingly, no distinction is made between introversion and extroversion, arguably the most salient distinction drawn by everyday experts.

1. The Intellectual, or Intense Thinker

Intellectuals feel most comfortable in their minds, examining the world by means of logic and rational thought. They often avoid their emotions and mentally bland activities.

Match: They can provide logical anchors to the empath’s emotional intensity.
Mismatch: They can fail to empathize with the empath’s volatility.

2. The Empath, or Emotional Sponge

Empaths are highly sensitive to the energies of others. They can readily burn out or become triggered, thus require unusual amounts of quiet downtime.

Match: They can easily connect with each other deeply.
Mismatch: They can aggravate each other’s anxiety

3. The Rock, or Strong and Silent Type

Rocks are stable and reliable, providing consistent support. They tend not to be critical or alarmed by emotional displays, but also highly guard their own feelings.

Match: They can provide dependability to the empath’s volatility.
Mismatch: They can be tough to open up emotionally.

Empath Partner Types

[Credit: Flickr]

A Practical Critique

For a start, these types are easy to identify with. Names pop up right as I read the descriptors. They cut to the chase. Yet full-fledged intellectuals must be fuming, especially those who distrust the MBTI: How can we classify people into just three types?

Orloff never claims that all people fit within these 3 types, but also does not attempt to complete the typology. What suffers is argumentation. The subset is arbitrary, and types minimally elaborated. The mismatches with Type 1 and Type 3 were inferred rather than stated.

Despite the distinct caricatures, Orloff also alludes to the possibility of hybrids. An obvious example here is the self-proclaimed intellectual empath majoring in an often-misunderstood social science. How such hybrids behave is an untouched mystery.

Much seems assumed, just like most self-help books. Not to degrade self-help, of course; reduction is often necessary for tending to practical concerns. Yet even application can do with more elaboration.

But I did figure which type(s) I prefer, with some imagination. A suspension of intellect can do us good sometimes.

Socio Empath

Hi, my name is Eugene. I am a Sociology graduate from the National University of Singapore. This blog is an invitation: To see our selves as colored by cultures, and to brighten the colors of our society. I seek to help you create freedom in everyday life, with empathy and the sociological imagination.

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