Empathy vs Gullibility

Working with a precarious population makes the boundary between empathy and gullibility blurry.

See, there are people who are manipulative and deceitful in their words and actions to get what they want. I have seen this happen many times. However, how the person on the receiving end acts or reacts to the situations is what interests me.

A person who “falls into the trap” can be seen as gullible–believing every story that he or she is fed. Yet, the person who is actually make the decision to follow along could be emoting empathy. He or she could be seeing the best in the perpetrator and giving that person a chance he or she may not often have.

We make snap judgments about people and situations, and often times we are swayed by a person’s background or history. This becomes the basis of whether or not someone is empathetic or gullible. It’s one thing to blindly trust in everything someone says, and another give someone the benefit of the doubt.

Empathy can be misconstrued as gullibility, but is there a point when it morphs? Can empathy act as a precursor to gullibility? If so, at what point does it change from one to the other?




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