Empathy and Sympathy


Strengthen Your Connections

All this time at home these days provide the perfect opportunity to bond with your loved ones either in-person (if you’re living together) or virtually. How can we deepen and strengthen our connections with our loved ones more effectively? The answer lies in empathy!

The 4 key parts of empathy:

  1. To take the perspective of the other person—See the situation through the eyes of those we want to connect with.
  2. To be non-judgmental—Judgement of another person's situation discounts their experience. It widens the disconnect between us and that person.
  3. To recognize another person’s feelings—We have to be in touch with our own feelings in order to understand someone else's. Connect with something in yourself that could let you feel what the other person is feeling.
  4. To communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings— Instead of saying, "At least..." or "It could be worse...", communicate that you are trying to connect emotionally by saying "That really hurts," or "It sounds like you are in a hard place now. Tell me more about it.”


  • Fuels connection
  • It is a choice to be vulnerable with the other person
  • Offering compassion and kindness
  • Feeling with the other person (“That’s hard…”)
  • Being with the other person (“I am so glad you’re telling me this”, “You are not alone”, “I am with you”)


  • Drives disconnection
  • Putting your emotional “walls” up
  • Immediately offering solutions (“You just need to…”, “Why don’t you just…”)
  • Standing and feeling apart from the other person (“Hey, at least…”)

 For more information, please see:

 For more resources on supporting your mental and emotional well being during COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 Resources page. 

empathy vs sympathy infographic


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Published: Thursday, April 16, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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