Here’s a simple guide to ensure these highly sensitive words are being used effectively.
Sympathy: Feeling distressed, anxious or depressed about another person’s circumstance.
Empathy: The ability to comprehend the source of distress of another person.
Why is it confusing?
Empathy is often used incorrectly when a person claims to be able to emotionally or physically understand the pain or discomfort of another person. Empathy should only be used to describe a mental understanding of the source of the discomfort or pain.
Sympathy is often misused when carelessly placed in a sentence. It is a sentiment of care that expresses the actual emotional or physical feeling of the pain of another person.
Sympathy and empathy regularly prompt each other, yet not generally. For example, it is conceivable to feel for or sympathize with things such as birds and ladybirds, yet not empathize with them.
Examples in use:
- Aѕ hе wаtсhеd thе hurricane fооtаgе from hіѕ dry apartment, hе fеlt ѕуmраthу fоr thоѕе lоѕіng thеіr homes.
- Sympathy poured in from all over the country for the injured combat soldiers.
- I sympathized with my friend seeing the hardships she dealt with when she lost her job.
- Shе knew hе lоѕt his mother whеn hе wаѕ vеrу уоung, juѕt lіkе ѕhе hаd, and fеlt a dеер empathy for him.
- Having also faced serious financial troubles, Caroline had empathy for Donny’s money woes.
- I’ve been there and done that, so I can completely empathize with the situation.
To sum up the difference between Sympathy and Empathy:
Sympathy is the ability to understand someone’s feelings and experiences.
Empathy is actually feeling the same emotion or going through the same experience as someone else.
Malki Ehrlich. Ginger Software