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  1. #41
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    I would emphasize that you do not feel the other person's feelings when you are empathizing.

    You only feel the other's feeling when you are sympathizing.

    However although you don't feel the other's feelings, you do know what they are feeling, and very important, you usually let them know you know what they are feeling. So they know they are being understood.
    It almost seems as if I agree with you. Yet there are a few differences...

    What would sympathy be without empathy?
    Why do you attach the whole "feeling pain" element to sympathy?

    I remember a quote a while back. Did you say that a torturer has high empathy? But where did he learn this empathy without experiencing it himself? How can he know what another person feels without first hand experience?

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    It almost seems as if I agree with you. Yet there are a few differences...

    What would sympathy be without empathy?
    Why do you attach the whole "feeling pain" element to sympathy?

    I remember a quote a while back. Did you say that a torturer has high empathy? But where did he learn this empathy without experiencing it himself? How can he know what another person feels without first hand experience?
    The distinction would become clear to you if you formally learnt to empathize.

    Already you are very good at sympathizing but you have no way of comparing it to empathizing except semantically.

  3. #43
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Mmm, I doubt using one excludes the other, Victor. I think it's very possible to use both to gain a better grasp of the situation, and would argue that it's possibly the best way to actually approach the situation.
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  4. #44
    full of love Kingfisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    You are not alone. Most people confuse the two terms.

    What I find interesting is why there is so much universal confusion.

    Also I am personally interested in the teaching and learning of empathy and have invented a way of doing it on the internet.

    The only problem is that almost everyone thinks they are already empathic and have no need to learn to empathise.

    But of course what they are good at, and what they understand, is sympathy.

    And I am sure you can sympathise with that.
    i did not realize that so many people confused empathy and sympathy, or had their meanings reversed. they seem like common terms.

    i find that i cannot sympathize easily, for me it is incredibly difficult. i can often empathize, but it is empathy in the true sense, an understanding of the situation, and far removed from sympathy. i can understand the reasons for what a person is feeling, and understand the path that led them to their current situation, but i cannot identify with their feelings. i feel like it is somewhat impersonal, that i am connecting with the person's situation, but not with the person. of course, i think that it is easier to give advice from an empathetic point of view, but a person always appreciates the personal connection and feeling of a sympathetic listener.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    Mmm, I doubt using one excludes the other, Victor. I think it's very possible to use both to gain a better grasp of the situation, and would argue that it's possibly the best way to actually approach the situation.
    i would think it is almost impossible to be sympathetic and empathetic at the same time. if someone is sympathetic they are feeling what the other person is feeling, but if someone is empathetic they are not feeling wha the other is feeling. i see the two as being very much like subjectivism and objectivism. the sympathetic person is subjective, and feels what the other person feels. wheras the empathetic person is objective, they understand the feelings but do not share them.

    i agree with you Amargith, that a balance between the two is ideal. but i think the balance comes from having two people, a sympathetic person and an empathetic person. i am not so sure one person can be both at the same time.

    i think that people often have innate tendencies to be either sympathetic or empathetic. i am empathetic, for example. but i think they both have their place, and they compliment each other very well.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher View Post
    i did not realize that so many people confused empathy and sympathy, or had their meanings reversed. they seem like common terms.

    i find that i cannot sympathize easily, for me it is incredibly difficult. i can often empathize, but it is empathy in the true sense, an understanding of the situation, and far removed from sympathy. i can understand the reasons for what a person is feeling, and understand the path that led them to their current situation, but i cannot identify with their feelings. i feel like it is somewhat impersonal, that i am connecting with the person's situation, but not with the person. of course, i think that it is easier to give advice from an empathetic point of view, but a person always appreciates the personal connection and feeling of a sympathetic listener.



    i would think it is almost impossible to be sympathetic and empathetic at the same time. if someone is sympathetic they are feeling what the other person is feeling, but if someone is empathetic they are not feeling wha the other is feeling. i see the two as being very much like subjectivism and objectivism. the sympathetic person is subjective, and feels what the other person feels. wheras the empathetic person is objective, they understand the feelings but do not share them.

    i agree with you Amargith, that a balance between the two is ideal. but i think the balance comes from having two people, a sympathetic person and an empathetic person. i am not so sure one person can be both at the same time.

    i think that people often have innate tendencies to be either sympathetic or empathetic. i am empathetic, for example. but i think they both have their place, and they compliment each other very well.
    Hello Kingfisher,

    The way to connect empathically is to let the other person know you understand.

    In this way, they know they are heard.

    Victor.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    Mmm, I doubt using one excludes the other, Victor. I think it's very possible to use both to gain a better grasp of the situation, and would argue that it's possibly the best way to actually approach the situation.
    Most can sympathize very well.

    And except in the helping professions, very few have formally learnt to empathize.

    However it is possible to know what someone is feeling and feel it with them. And if you can do this, you are both sympathizing and empathizing at the same time.

    However this requires enormous sophistication, well beyond the capabilities of the average person.

    The reason for this is that sympathy and empathy are opposites. And so it means doing opposing things at the same time. And for most this is simply impossible.

    However it is very easy to say you can empathize and sympathize at the same time.

    It appeals to one's vanity but it is merely semantic and almost no one can do it.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    What are different personality responses to sympathy

    say

    INTJ - Sympathy is for the weak, why don't you go and cut yourself you sad F**k.
    INFP - I'm so sorry I'll get the bandages and make it all better for you, just hold still this won't hurt a bit.

    and yeah sympathy can take more effort depending on personality, culture and upbringing.

  8. #48
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    If I am focused then there tends to be at least some level of sympathy simply through observation. My mind naturally jumps between vantage points. Even in watching a movie where the bad guy meets his gruesome end and everyone cheers, for a moment I am the bad guy, for a moment the hero who killed him, I am then the cheering audience member, and then myself again with an increased sense of how disconnected each perspective is. If there is too much conflict, too many different vantage points, or the extremes of perspective too vast, then it can be a bit exhausting, but it is still automatic.
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  9. #49
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    Most can sympathize very well.

    And except in the helping professions, very few have formally learnt to empathize.

    However it is possible to know what someone is feeling and feel it with them. And if you can do this, you are both sympathizing and empathizing at the same time.

    However this requires enormous sophistication, well beyond the capabilities of the average person.

    The reason for this is that sympathy and empathy are opposites. And so it means doing opposing things at the same time. And for most this is simply impossible.

    However it is very easy to say you can empathize and sympathize at the same time.

    It appeals to one's vanity but it is merely semantic and almost no one can do it.

    But even not doing it exactly at the same time (coz that's true art, I admit), but just letting it follow each other, aka first feeling what the other is feeling, to then consciously shift to empathising, gives already better results than doing just one, I'd think.

    Also, being able to do both depends on the emotion/situation at hand. You'll likely to get stuck in the sympathy, if the emotional situation is too close to home, if you have in fact been there and not digested it properly etc.
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  10. #50
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    What are different personality responses to sympathy

    say

    INTJ - Sympathy is for the weak, why don't you go and cut yourself you sad F**k.
    INFP - I'm so sorry I'll get the bandages and make it all better for you, just hold still this won't hurt a bit.

    and yeah sympathy can take more effort depending on personality, culture and upbringing.
    I wouldn't say that was my experience of INTJ's at all. I do know an INFP though who's just as likely to say "you only have yourself to blame, I've no sympathy for you!" as your suggestion there...

    My personal brand of ENTP would most likely respond something like: (internal dialogue) "oh shit, I can see they're upset and I can totally understand why, but I can also understand how they got into that situation by repetitive pattern behaviours that I've cautioned them against for a long time, and I could try to offer sympathy but it'd be tinged with exasperation that they're sure to pick up, probably read as judgement, so maybe the best I can do is give them some space and let them know I'm there for them... though how I'm gonna resist giving them the hard talk about how they got themselves into this boat and the obvious solutions that I know they won't take up, I don't know!"
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