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Sympathy vs Empathy: Know The Difference

Published on 26 November 2017|
1 min read

Sympathy vs Empathy – A person expresses sympathy but shares empathy.

Well, empathy and sympathy are two words that people get confused about quite often. They are used interchangeably with one another but in actual fact are very different.

Sympathy is all about feeling compassion for others without “feeling” their pain while Empathy is the ability to (maybe not fully, but at least partly) experience the feelings of another person.

Sympathy v/s Empathy

Credit: Dear Goldie

Therefore, it is quite important to understand that there are innate differences between empathy and sympathy.

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Both sympathy and empathy come from the Greek root word páthos, meaning “suffering, feeling”. But what is the actual difference between them?

The answer is simple – sympathy is easy, but empathy takes effort.

Empathy and Sympathy

Credit: Medium

If you aren’t able to either sympathise or empathise, you probably might have a hard time being relatable or understanding the people around you.



Credit: Giphy

Empathy is the ability to recognise another person’s emotions by putting oneself in other’s shoes. It takes a little more work, imagination, and effort to gain empathy for someone. If you’ve gone through a similar experience in the past, empathising would come more naturally to you.

It is quite personal as you take on the feelings of the others as if they were your own. If you are able to empathise, you can easily share the person’s distress and emotions.



Credit: Giphy

Sympathy, on the other hand, is the ability to express concern for someone who is going through something stressful or sad. You feel sorry for them, but you don’t really understand what they are feeling.

Uhh, which emotion is better?

Both sympathy and empathy are important when dealing with life situations or caring for others. However, the idea of expressing empathy has a more active process than sympathy does.

Empathy lets you create a very deep connection with others while sympathy is something that is more realistic (sometimes) as it helps you to know what other person is going through.

Sympathy v/s Empathy

Credit: Giphy

Sympathy is a great virtue but being in tune with others is also great (until or unless you start requiring a large-sized box of tissues every time you listen to a story.)

What are your levels of empathy and sympathy? Are you able to express these emotions regularly?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Feature Image Credit: Life Hack

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