This question of empathy

“People identify themselves, in some subliminal way.  You know very soon into which category they fall.  You know that you would like to see them again; or you definitely would not, or you don’t much care either way.  Sexual attraction doesn’t much come into it; that’s another matter with its own agenda.  The basic thing is simply this question of empathy, as though the other person wore some coded emblem that you recognize.  It can happen with someone who serves you in a shop, or a person you talk to at a party, or a neighbor or colleague or the man who comes to read the meter.”

—-Penelope Lively, Making It Up

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