How to Read Emotions Without Being an Empath

In Wendy Higgins’ Sweet Evil, which you can begin reading on Figment, Anna has the ability to see people’s emotions–they’re like auras, colors that swirl and change with mood. It’s great when Anna’s with people like Jay, her best friend who’s never felt anything but platonic love and affection for her. It’s not so great when random boys staring at her (admittedly, very pretty) legs start sparking bright red lights all over the place. One of the reasons Anna is drawn to Kaidan–besides his British accent and rock-star appeal–is the control he has over his emotions; instead of coloring the air around him, Kaidan packs his emotions into a tight ball at his chest, locked away from Anna’s sight.

While seeing people’s emotions is a killer ability—and just one of many that Anna possesses, in addition to super hearing, smell, a heightened sense of touch, and the ability to see guardian angels—we can’t say we’re THAT impressed by her emotion-reading skills. All it takes is a little book-learning, and you too can read peoples’ emotions!

Sadness is marked by dampness on the cheek originating from the tear duct. Because of the heavy memories and feelings associated with sadness, the sides of the mouth might begin to droop. Secondary effects of sadness include flailing, wailing, and streams of snot running out of the nose.


Lust is often marked by lip-biting and eye-batting. If sudden smooching occurs, lust has reached a critical mass, and uninterested parties should flee the vicinity as quickly as possible.



An individual experiencing elation may display wide eyes and bared teeth. If the individual is emitting a high-pitched squee, it is possible that something adorable has aroused said feelings of happiness. Happiness may be accompanied by laughter, jumping, shaking, and–in extreme cases–tears.


Narrowed eyes and a furrowed brow are the marks of anger. Clenched fists and bared teeth may indicate a more aggressive, physical anger, while flaring nostrils and “crazy eyes” may indicated a more psychological emotion. Warning: do not tell individuals you think may be experiencing anger to “just calm down.” It never works. Never.


Look for redness of cheek and lowering of eyes. These, accompanied by stuttering, prevarication, and an overload of ums may indicate an acute fit of embarrassment. Causes include bringing up a crush, rehashing childhood mishaps, or being caught creeping on your crush (see: lust).

6 thoughts on “How to Read Emotions Without Being an Empath

  1. Or you could just know how some people react to stuff just by knowing them I would never walk up to someone i don’t know showing those signs unless they were sad.

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