Empathy was the supernatural ability to sense the emotions of other beings. With this, empaths could gain information about the people they "read", by detecting current emotions, thoughts, emotional stages, goals, significant past loves and even the presence of soul.
Unlike telepathy, the ability to sense the thoughts of others, vampires were not immune to be "read" by empaths.
- Vampires showed to have some empathic abilities, though only limited to sensing the presence of a soul. Some vampires, such as Drusilla and Marcus, appeared to be more in-depth with this ability, as Drusilla could easily feel others' emotions in conjunction with her other psychic abilities, while Marcus could sense that Angel had a soul, as well as knowing he'd been in love, by looking at his bare chest.
- The Judge used empathy before incinerating any being with "feelings". Only the most wicked and depraved were immune.
- Vengeance Demons used empathy to find their wronged person, feeling their pain. They also could sense a person's soul.
- Empathic Demons, as their name indicated, could sense the emotions of other beings.
- Tara Maclay had the ability to "read" auras, allowing her to sense that something was wrong with Buffy Summers' body when she was possessed by Faith Lehane.
- Madame Dorion and the Goddess Glorificus had the capacity to distinguish humans or vampires look-alikes.
- The Deathwok Clan could sense people's auras and primarily used this for hunting, while Lorne instead read auras while people sang.
- Agnes Bellfleur had the ability to "read" auras.
- Willow Rosenberg briefly gained the power of empathy when she sucked the magical energy of the Devon Coven from Rupert Giles. This allowed her to feel the pain experienced by the rest of humanity.
- The Guardian of the Word could sense that Angel was a vampire.
- The Old One Illyria could sense people's emotions, as well as distinguish humans or non-human look-alikes, and even sense arousal.