You know roughly what it means to be an empath — to feel what others are feeling.
But did you know there are several different types of empaths?
Maybe you’ve read about levels of empaths, but the word “levels” can be misleading.
We’re not here to compare one empath’s abilities to another’s as if they’re in competition.
Empathic ability is meant to connect people on a deeper level.
It’s just that there are different ways to do this.
Understanding The Empath Personality Type
The main thing you should know about empaths is they absorb information about other people, things, and the world around them in ways the majority of people typically cannot.
Though empaths come in a variety of types, many of them share the following traits:
- Sensitivity to loud noises and crowded or chaotic environments;
- Sensitivity to scratchy fabrics, toe seams, styrofoam sounds, and other sensations most people find only mildly annoying;
- Emotional response to the drama between characters in movies and TV shows;
- Sensitivity to the prevailing mood in a room even as you’re entering it;
- Sensitivity to caffeine and other stimulants, as well as to alcohol, etc.;
- Sensitivity to strong smells or flavors;
- Tendency to sense things in others without needing to be told.
The empath doesn’t have to do this consciously, either. As a rule, though, the more aware they are of their empathic ability, how it works, and how it can affect them, the better off they tend to be.
9 Types of Empaths You Should Know About
1. Emotional Empath
This is the most common type of empath, and, as you’ll see further down, this can be the foundational layer for a multi-level empath.
For now, let’s focus on what the emotional empath does: they soak up the emotions felt by the people around them, especially those with whom they feel connected.
The stronger the connection (even if it’s one-sided, as in relationships with narcissists), the more this empath soaks up — like a sponge.
If you don’t know you’re an emotional empath, you can easily become overwhelmed by other people’s emotions.
Because you don’t realize all of what you’re feeling comes from you.
On the other hand, this type comes with some pretty amazing gifts, too:
- You’re great at listening (when you’re not feeling overwhelmed);
- You can more easily determine how to put others at ease;
- You learn coping skills you can then share with others;
- You notice things that might bother other highly sensitive people;
- You’re more motivated to ensure that everyone feels welcome and included.
2. Intuitive Empath / Claircognizant Empath
While emotional empaths pick up on what those around them are feeling, the intuitive empath can also sense what’s going on behind those feelings.
They can also often intuit the motives behind other people’s words and behavior as well as anticipate what they’re likely to do next.
Unfortunately, if you’re an intuitive empath and you “go with your gut” in a way that less intuitive people around you don’t understand, you can expect some criticism.
Those who don’t feel what you feel around a particular person may assume you’re “being paranoid” or overreacting to something that “isn’t a big deal.”
It’s up to you to decide whether to trust your intuition or put it aside to please others. The more you choose to rely on your intuition, the stronger it becomes.
Now, let’s talk about gifts:
- You’re more likely to choose a meaningful career;
- You surround yourself with positive things (as a coping skill);
- You have a gift for restoring peace and harmony between others;
- You don’t rush into making important decisions (unless you’re also impulsive);
- You’re better at detecting dishonesty in others;
- You pick up on non-verbal cues without the need for a conscious, detail-specific analysis
3. Physical Empath / Medical Empath
A physical (or “medical”) empath picks up on other people’s physical symptoms — things like headaches, stomach aches, the feeling of being cold or overheated, itchiness, etc.
True, it doesn’t sound like a picnic. But if someone near you complains of a headache or stomach pains, and you feel the same thing, you know they’re not making things up.
The downside, of course, is that you actually experience the same discomfort. But just knowing that the pain is someone else’s rather than uniquely yours can make it easier to accept and then to release it.
It’s easier to accept and get through the pain when you know the reason for it.
Another aspect of physical empathy is a stronger sense of what your own body needs and isn’t getting.
Let’s consider what gifts go with this type of empathy:
- Feeling in tune with your body and aware of needs not being (sufficiently) met;
- Intuitive leaning toward foods and beverages that provide what your body needs;
- Tendency to make changes to your lifestyle that improve your overall health;
- Ability to sense physical discomfort in others so you can take remedial action;
- Ability to sense whether someone’s physical symptoms are related to emotions.
4. Plant Empath / Flora Empath
If you have an innate sense of what the plants around you need and are quick to advocate for them, you may be a plant empath. You have a special love for things that grow, especially of the plant variety.
You’re the type of empath who would shush anyone who made comments that could cause distress to the plants nearby. Because you can feel it.
You might even say something like, “Sshh! They can hear you.”
You know plants thrive like humans do when they feel not only safe but valued. You talk to your plants lovingly and never neglect them. The very idea of settling for an artificial plant repulses you; it’s an affront to your connection with these quiet but powerful beings.
Let’s look at some of the gifts:
- You feel an immediate affinity with plants and take special care of the ones entrusted to you;
- You don’t doubt for a second that a particular plant chose you and not vice-versa;
- You attribute detailed personalities to each plant based on what they “tell” you;
- You tend to be far less stressed, thanks to the peaceful influence of your plant familiars;
- Your plants tend to thrive and blooming plants produce more, thanks to your loving care and attention.
5. Animal Empath / Fauna Empath
If you feel more of an empathic affinity toward animals than toward human people, and you’re a passionate advocate for animal rights, you may be an animal empath.
As such, you’re more likely to surround yourself with animals and even to choose a career that involves caring for them. When visiting others, you’re often the first person to approach any pets your host may have. You might even have one of your own with you.
You also pick up on distress in the animals around you and feel motivated to take action to alleviate that distress, even if other people around you think you’re overreacting.
It’s not your fault they didn’t notice what was happening right in front of them. But you also recognize not everyone feels what you do.
So, what gifts go with this type of empathy:
- A quick and warm connection with animals (you just get them, and vice-versa);
- A tendency to always have at least one pet or animal familiar;
- A special love for animals whom the world has rejected or (even worse) abused;
- A telepathic connection with your pets/familiars and understanding of their needs;
- A gift for discerning animal ailments and finding the best treatments for them.
6. Earth Empath or Geomantic Empath
The earth empath is sensitive to changes in the earth itself. If you’re an earth empath, you likely feel recharged by spending time alone in nature.
You feel in tune with the natural world. And you, more than anyone, are likely to take action to protect the wilderness and the animals who depend on it.
You embrace nature in a way few can. And nature embraces you back, infusing you with new energy and helping you restore balance and peace every time you connect with it.
An earth empath can also be a vibrational empath, meaning they sense vibrations in their environment — in this case from the earth and the atmosphere — and can learn to interpret those connected with earthquakes, forest fires, storm fronts and other dangers.
Earth empaths enjoy gifts like the following:
- Feeling in tune with the earth and with the natural world;
- Intuiting what the earth needs and what you can do to meet those needs;
- Tendency to take action to protect the natural world and fight for it;
- Intuiting what’s at stake — for all living — the more we abuse the earth we live on;
- An intuitive sense of impending earthquakes or tremors and other natural disasters.
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7. Dream Empath or Precognitive Empath
Dream empaths access otherwise unavailable information through the medium of dreams.
A dream empath can be a type of precognitive empath, which is someone whose empathy allows them to perceive things before they actually happen.
Other dream empaths gain a deeper understanding of people they’ve met and the experiences they’ve had. The more they trust and act on the insights they gain from their dreams, the more likely they are to have more of them.
Dream empaths who take their gifts seriously are also more likely to see those gifts develop into something more.
If you’re a dream empath, it pays to have a notebook and pen near your bedside so you can immediately capture any details you remember from the dreams you’ve had.
It also pays, at any stage of your growth, to be more aware of the gifts you have:
- Tendency to dream about experiences that have left an impression on you;
- Tendency to dream about people who’ve left an impression on you;
- Intuitive grasp of what those dreams are telling you about a person or experience;
- Deepened understanding of why certain people stay on your mind longer;
- Deepened understanding of the significance of a particular experience (however painful).
8. Telepathic Empath
If you’re a telepathic empath, you can actually sense what someone is thinking, often as a result of a touch. If you’ve ever given someone a hug only to be hit with a thought that could only have come from the person you’re hugging, this may be your gift.
The first time you perceive another’s thoughts, it can feel overwhelming — especially if you confirm that the other person did indeed have those thoughts.
Another form of telepathic empathy comes into play when you’re reading something another person wrote or listening to what they’re saying.
When you paraphrase their words to better reflect what you believe they’re trying to say — as an editor or as an active listener — they react with “How did you do that? How did you know exactly what I was trying to say?”
The gifts shouldn’t be hard to guess:
- You make a great listener because those who confide in you feel heard;
- You can often sense with a touch what someone is thinking;
- You can often articulate other people’s thoughts better than they can;
- You can sense what someone is thinking of you without asking or assessing their body language;
- You can often sense when someone in the room is thinking of you.
9. Heyoka Empath
Perhaps the rarest type of empath is the Heyoka empath. The name “Heyoka” — from the Lakota or Dakota Native American dialects — means “sacred clown” or “spiritual fool.”
These empaths act as a spiritual mirror to the people around them. If you have this gift, you can use it to help others grow by reflecting back at them how their true spirituality is manifesting.
For example, think of someone who is trying to convince others they have a deep “connection to the divine” when, in reality, they’re putting on a show to persuade others to finance their lifestyle as a sought-after “guru” or spiritual guide.
A heyoka empath will mirror the essence behind the show in a way the fraudulent “guide” will find impossible to ignore. Then they have a choice: continue on as they are or get to know themselves better and choose a more honest path.
Let’s wrap up with some of their tell-tale gifts:
- Tendency to mirror another’s spiritual state to show them what they’re not seeing;
- Ability to see through a performance to the essence of a person’s motives;
- Preference for helping and healing people rather than judging or condeming them;
- Ability to play the fool for someone else’s benefit without worrying what others might think;
- Tendency to prioritize personal growth and learning over recognition for their gifts.
Can You Be More Than One Type of Empath?
The short answer is “Yes.” it is possible. If you’re an intuitive empath, you have an advantage in this area, since your intuition connects you with information unavailable to most people.
The more you honor your intuition, the more likely you are to access other types of empathic connections.
Your gifts can manifest in even rarer ways — as a psychic/medium empath or a moonlight empath, to name a few examples. Moonlight empaths have a special connection to the moon and a gift for intuiting the effects of the moon’s phases and positions on people, including themselves.
In truth, any of the types of empaths described here can cultivate and expand on their empathic gifts by practicing openness to and gratitude for the empathy they have.
Now that you’re better acquainted with the different types of empaths described here, we hope you found something that will help you appreciate your own unique gifts.
Take a moment to write about what you’ve learned and how you’d like to apply it.
May your curiosity and effort enrich your life and those of the people you love.