Emotionally Empty People Can Make You Lonely

Emotionally "empty" people not only drain themselves, but also those around them. In this article we explain the reasons for this.
Emotionally Empty People Can Make You Lonely
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

They say that the world is full of empty people. They’re bodies with hollow souls that need to feed on the feelings of others to feel useful and important in their loneliness. To feel alive.

There are several types of solitude. The one that we most appreciate is the one that allows us to get in touch with ourselves. It means listening to ourselves and pleasing ourselves.  Furthermore, it means knowing how to love ourselves.

However, there’s another type of solitude or loneliness, that’s both destructive and dangerous. It’s the one you feel when you share your time and your life with people, who, while they’re important to you, are empty. They’re important to you because you’ve chosen to have them in your life. You might even have projected your emotions and even intense feelings onto them. However, little by little, you realize that they’re actually doing you harm.

Understanding the process by which you can fall in love with an empty person is complex. However, you also may have friends and close family with this trait. Therefore, what should you do in the face of such weakness of emotion, and lack of empathy and reciprocity for yourself and your integrity? Let’s take a look.

Emotional loneliness in empty people

loneliness (2)

Plato said that “empty vessels make most sound”. This symbolic phrase stresses the fact that empty people tend to be extremely noticeable. In fact, they have an unmistakable effect on our lives.

However, why do we define these people as empty? Furthermore, what lies behind their behavior?

1. Lack of emotional reciprocity

We’re not going to have a debate about the existence or not of the soul. Even though this is the first thing you usually think of when you hear the expression “empty people”. However, what we mean by the expression is the “non-existence” of a series of basic dimensions in these kinds of people. For instance:

  • They’re incapable of projecting themselves onto others to understand, to empathize, and to understand the personal perspective of the person in front of them.
  • Their behavior is based on a set of unconscious rules. These state that they and their own needs always come first.
  • Their rules are unconscious, because these people always act automatically, without evaluating the results. Furthermore, there’s no room for misunderstandings in their lives. Being wrong is a weakness that they simply can’t afford.
  • Empty people aren’t good at listening or opening up to others. In fact, if at any time they do, it’ll only be for their own benefit.

2. The need to submit and “attach” to someone more emotional than them

Empty people are usually characterized by something very basic, a lack of happiness.

In their world, they only seek to pull the strings so that others fill their unfathomable voids. In addition, they cover their deficiencies by manipulating the emotions of others. However, they’re never generous, or altruistic. Nor do they possess a love of life. That’s because there’s never any middle ground or balance with them.

As a matter of fact, they tend to oscillate between the extremes. It’s all or nothing.  For example, they might love excessively to cover up their need. However, once their need has been satisfied they’ll exhibit absolute indifference. This leaves their partner feeling desperately lonely.

Empty people are incomplete personalities who establish immature relationships. Don’t allow yourself to be the water that fills their voids, or the spark that lights their passing daily happiness, or the light that illuminates their loneliness. Because, in the end, you’ll be the one who gets hurt.


How to deal with life with empty people

The first thing you might be thinking about is to get away from them. However, we’re talking here about emotions and people to whom you may be extremely close. Therefore, you probably need to think really carefully before deciding whether or not you want to end these relationships completely.

You’ll experience many different types of relationships throughout your life. There might be some empty people with whom you get along better than others. It’s entirely up to you what you ultimately decide to do. Ask yourself what each of these relationships brings to you. For instance, it might be the case that, although they lack empathy, you know they’re good-hearted deep down. In fact, if you have a good relationship with them, it might be time to sit down and have a frank and friendly conversation with them.

It’s often said that we’re all a little broken. However, some of us file down our edges while others sharpen them.

Making someone see their “failures” doesn’t always have to be negative. Indeed, often, someone might approach you to correct something they think you’re doing wrong. Through their advice, you can work out whether or not you think they’re right or if they just want to cause you harm. Working on the same basis, if the empty person is unable to reflect on themselves and doesn’t convey any kind of positive emotion, it’s probably time to say goodbye to them.

Sometimes, one personality type fits well with another. However, one thing is certain. It’s the fact that people don’t change from one day to the next, no matter how much you may want them to. With this in mind, you must always protect your own emotional balance and integrity.

What to do

Let’s see what resources you can put into practice:

  • With relatives. If, in your closest circle, you have a father, mother, or sibling who acts cold and empty, try to deactivate as much as possible the significance they have in your day-to-day life. Remove their importance and authority from your life.
  • Don’t make the mistake of acting like them. Always show integrity. Confront situations by making it clear who you are, and what defines you.
  • Romantic relationships. If you know that your partner is an extremely empty person, tell them how you feel, what you’re able to accept, and what you can’t.

You’re not an empty being. You have emotions and emotional needs that must be reciprocated. If this doesn’t happen nothing will change. In which case you’ll need to consider your next step.

There’s no worse loneliness than the kind you feel from empty affection. 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.