The Empath TikTok Joke Explained

Earlier in 2022, the internet was split into two camps. Those who sincerely identify as an "empath" and those who ridicule empaths. Technically, an empath, according to therapist Kim Egel, has "a higher sensitivity to outside stimuli such as sounds, big personalities, and hectic environments. They bring a lot of heart and care to the world and feel things very deeply," (via Healthline). Empaths tend to feel overwhelmed and overloaded by other people's feelings and can often have boundary issues.


However, as searches for empath skyrocketed on Google in late 2021 and early 2022, there emerged more viral jokes, tweets, and TikToks about the term. On the hugely-popular video-sharing app, the empath hashtag has 1.5 billion views at the time of writing, which includes a mix of mockery and genuine advice for empaths. Meanwhile, Twitter is also a treasure trove of empath experiences. "As an empath, I'm deeply aware that a vibe shift is underway," one user tweeted. Another joked, "I always pick the squeakiest, wobbliest cart at the grocery store because I'm an empath." But, why did the word create such a divide, and where does the joke actually come from?

Self-identifying empaths sparked a wave of memes

In 2019, according to Know Your Meme, people who believed they were empaths began non-ironically posting their struggles on Twitter.

"*the smallest inconvenience ever happens*" one Twitter user posted back in 2019, for example. They added, "me, an empath: *feels 920 emotions at once, is drained beyond exhaustion, needs to sleep for a week, wouldn't be surprised if earth just split in half and the human race gets wiped out.*" 


However, many on social media weren't convinced of this apparent hypersensitivity. One Redditor said, "People who identify as empaths are annoying...Congratulations on not being a sociopath, I guess?"

Subsequently, jokes surrounding being an empath began to emerge, often using the prefix "Me, an empath." This format eventually migrated over to TikTok, where users post-ironic situations on being an empath. If you'd like to find more empath TikTok jokes, you can find them by simply scrolling through the relevant hashtag. Alternatively, you can check out plenty of TikTok empath compilations on YouTube