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Author Topic: Empathy? Sympathy? I've never really understood the difference. Can you help?  (Read 408 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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Can anyone give me a quick short explanation of the differences between these two words and their meanings?
Oh I've looked up Sympathy and Empathy before and got long-winded dictionary answers that seem to go in one ear and out the same ear.
Can you give me a simple answer that will, for once, stick in my brain for more than five minutes. Cheers.
"I live in hope"

Offline tecspec

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To be sympathetic means to know that someone is sad / distressed etc
To be empathetic means to understand how they feel. To put yourself in their shoes.

That's my understanding..

However there's a good graphic here:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/hide-and-seek/201505/empathy-vs-sympathy
;-)

Offline P-Kasso2

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So Tec, empathy is a deeper form of sympathy where you don't just feel sorry for someone, you actually 'live' their sorrow?

Does empathy apply to happiness? Where you don't just feel sorry for someone, you actually 'live' their happiness?

Or does empathy only relate to bad times?

"I live in hope"