I've been comparing the people I meet, in everyday life, as to how easy or hard it is to create an empathy connection. As was recently pointed out to me in our comments section, differences in culture and background can make empathy harder to create and build.
For example, I live very close to a tourist area. I also grew up in a touristy town, New York City. It has been my observation that folks working in the service industry for tourism are both easier to be around, because they are so 'nice', and also significantly harder to connect to. I assume it is due to training. They have to interact with people from dozens of cultures and backgrounds, and must remain detached from them all to keep themselves from offending the customers with their own personality.
I can and do feel sympathy for them, but it's hard to be empathetic when the person you are talking to is not permitted to express their own self.
Is this something you've seen? Have you worked a tourist job, what was it like for you?
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