Egocentric empathy is when a person recognizes distress in another person and responds to it in the same way one would respond if the distress were one's own.

Egocentric empathy is a term that is used in psychology to describe the type of empathy that is focused on oneself, rather than on the feelings and experiences of others. It involves a person attempting to understand and relate to others, but primarily from the perspective of how it affects them personally.

Here are some examples of egocentric empathy:

  • A person tries to understand their friend's feelings of sadness after a break-up, but only because they want to know how to make themselves feel better.

  • A person tries to understand their coworker's frustration with a project, but only because they want to avoid being blamed or criticized.

  • A person tries to understand their partner's anger over a disagreement, but only because they want to avoid further conflict.

Egocentric empathy can be problematic because it does not involve genuine concern for the other person's feelings or experiences. It is more focused on the self and how the situation affects the person exhibiting egocentric empathy. In contrast, genuine empathy involves putting oneself in the other person's shoes and trying to understand their perspective and feelings from their point of view. This type of empathy is more likely to lead to positive outcomes in relationships and can foster feelings of connection and understanding.