Empathy vs. Sympathy

Empathy vs. Sympathy
Empathy and Sympathy are often confused words. The difference between them is significant. Let's take a look:

Empathy(noun) is an intellectual and emotionally understanding of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another as if they are one's own (putting oneself in another's shoes);(verb)
2. The act of intellectually and emotionally understanding another's feelings. [When a person empathizes with another, he or she projects her own feelings and emotions onto another's emotional situation, as if both are experiencing the same thing.]

1. (noun)"Empathy is required for a successful relationship." Explanation: A successful relationship is the result of two people completely understanding each other's feelings and attitudes on life.

2. (verb) "I feel heartbroken myself as I empathize with my friend's loss of her dog, Max." Explanation: Feeling similar pain as another's is part of empathy.

Sympathy(noun)agreement in feeling out of respect,
2. approval, favor, or agreement;(adj.)
3.Pertaining to an agreement in feeling;(v.) [sympathize]expressing agreement in feeling out of respect

1. (noun) "After warning her brother of trouble, Mary had no sympathy for him when he got grounded for not listening to Mother." Explanation: Mary's feelings were not in agreement with her brother's situation.

2. (noun) "Congress showed sympathy for the new bill by passing it into legislation." Explanation: They showed approval and favor for the bill.

3. (adj.) "I sent a sympathy card to my neighbor when her husband died." Explanation: A card that expresses agreement with a feeling out of respect is often sent to someone who is grieving a loss.

4. (verb) "The team sympathized with Billy's motivation to become team captain." Explanation: The team supports Billy's candidacy for team captain.

Let's look at a sentence in which both empathy and sympathy are used. This will highlight their difference.

"Some folks can sympathize with another's situation and move on, but I end up getting sick from empathy because I can completely identify with the pain of someone else's misfortune." Explanation: While some people can agree with another's situation out of respect and move on with their own life, others who feel an abundance of empathy feel pained by another's misfortune.

Fill in the Blanks:

1. When you 'put yourself in someone else's shoes' and feel their pain, you are feeling ________.
a) sympathy b) empathy

2. My ________ lie with the victim of the crime.
a) Empathy c)sympathies

Answers: b, a

Related Links:
Difference between Words
Science Related Words Difference and Comparison
Sympathy vs. Empathy Quiz
Empathy vs. Sympathy Worksheet










Educational Videos