One of the signs of being a good friend is how much EMPATHY you have. Empathy is when you fully understand another person’s feelings; you can ‘put yourself in their shoes’. Empathy helps us be kinder to people around us and it also means we are more likely to listen well and deal with difficult situations better.
How much empathy do you have? Take this quiz to find out!
- It’s the first day of term. Your friend is upset and cross because the zip on his new bag broke on the way into school. You:
a) try to distract him by saying, ‘Never mind that, look what I brought in!’
b) give him a big hug and say ‘that’s rubbish, what bad luck’.
b) say, ‘It looks fine to me, no one will notice’.
2. Friend A has asked you to hang out with her at lunchtime, but only if you leave out Friend B. ‘It’s exclusive,’ she says. ‘Just you and me, OK?’ You:
a) say ‘OK,’ because Friend B has other people she can hang out with, so she won’t mind.
b) explain to Friend B that this break you’d like to hang out with Friend A but you know she might feel left out so you want to make sure she’s OK with that.
c) feel uncomfortable about it but go along with Friend A because, let’s face it, she’s pretty cool.
3. There’s a new boy in your class and he doesn’t know anyone. The teacher has asked you to look after him, but the new boy looks grumpy all the time and doesn’t seem in the least grateful. You:
a) dump him as soon as possible because he clearly doesn’t want your help.
b) find a quiet moment to tell him you know starting a new school is scary, and ask him if he would prefer a different kind of help.
c) have a word with the teacher and ask if someone else could look after him.
4. In your circle of friends, Friend A always talks over the others and tries to get everyone to do what she wants, rather than listening to other people’s opinions. You:
a) get together with the rest of your friends and agree you won’t let her in the group any more.
b) talk to Friend A and say you really like her ideas but that maybe they could be even better if she let other people contribute too.
c) grumble about Friend A behind her back but agree there’s nothing you can do to change anything.
5. A supply teacher is taking your lesson. She doesn’t know any of your names, and she’s not very good at keeping control of the class. Your friends are starting to mess around. The teacher is beginning to look upset. You:
a) mess around too. Why not? If she can’t teach, why should you try to listen?
b) refuse to join in with the messing around because you feel bad for the teacher.
c) sneakily pull out your slime or squishy and play with it under the desk while pretending to listen to the teacher.
6. You’re having a pool party for your birthday, but one of your friends has just told you he’s afraid of water. You:
a) laugh and say, ‘Afraid of water? No way, that’s crazy!’
b) say, ‘Oh no, I didn’t realise! What do you want to do? Do you want to join us for the bit after when we go for food?’
c) pull a face and say you’re really sorry he won’t be able to come then.
7. Your big sister has just been dumped by her boyfriend. She’s upstairs in her room with the door closed and she yells at anyone who tries to help. You:
a) leave her to it. She doesn’t want to talk to anyone, and you don’t want to be shouted at.
b) write a note asking if she’d like a hug, and slide it under her door.
c) decide that when she finally comes out later, you’ll try to be extra quiet and stay out of her way then too.
8. You unexpectedly walk in on your dad crying. You:
a) back out immediately, pretending you didn’t see anything.
b) go over and sit next to him and offer a hug.
c) stand awkwardly in the doorway wondering what to do and then when he notices you, smile and say hopefully, ‘You OK?’
The moment of truth has arrived! How did you score?
Mostly As: Weeeell, I wouldn’t say you’re the most empathetic person I’ve ever met! Seriously though, try to remember that other people have feelings and that those feelings can be easily hurt. You run the risk of losing support from your own friends if you don’t consider their feelings more.
Mostly Bs: Congratulations! You are a really empathetic person and you can understand and share other people’s feelings. This is a really important skill to have, so don’t be pressured into behaving in ways that are less kind. Equally though, remember that YOU have feelings too, and they are just as important as other people’s, so make sure you don’t end up trying to please everyone else at the expense of your own needs.
Mostly Cs: Your heart is in the right place but often you don’t seem to know how to help. The best thing you can ever do is to ask the other person how they feel and what kind of help they would like. And then to let them know that even if they’re not ready to talk, you’ll still be around when they are ready.