This video does a great description of the difference:
In my opinion, it’s one of the things modern society is losing and its leaving a lot of people feeling empty and isolated from others. In place of friends we can talk to, we have a collection of “facebook friends”.
There was an article recently about the fierce competition to get likes on social media. We have birthdays and life events to acknowledge. When we do meet old acquaintances and start to share a story, they might go, “Oh yes, I remember you posting about that.”
As the video above describes, empathy drives a connection while sympathy does the opposite. When give sympathy, you are separating yourself from the others pain. You are only an onlooker. While the empath feels it with them and relates to it.
However, being empathetic is not as easy as just going, “There, there. I understand your pain. I’ve had something similar happen to me.”
Unless you can relate, your attempt might come off as tone-deaf and trying to make the other person’s problem about you. Continue reading