TikTokers have had it with empaths. But are empaths even a thing?

A psychologist tells us what the term actually means.

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Empaths are all over pop culture right now, and #empath is trending on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. But even though the term “empath” has become ubiquitous (to the point of mockery), is it a legitimate identity marker?


As you might guess, “empath” is derived from the word “empathy,” and used to describe a person with deeply empathetic personality traits. People on social media often tout “empath” as a psychological term, but it’s actually not.

The term “empath” actually comes to us from fiction, more specifically science fiction.