Empathy vs. Sympathy

A short animated video from Brene Brown/Katy Davis (thanks to Kayla Lewis for this link) helps explain the difference between empathy and sympthany.  Here’s the link: Short Video on Empathy (the animation is not that great but the message is important)

Key points:

  • Empathy brings people to together and sympathy often drives people apart.
  • Empathy never begins with “at least” …it wasn’t worse
  • Sometimes empathy means saying ‘I don’t know what to say but I’m glad you told me.’

Harrison Ford defines Sympathy in 42 – YouTube.  In the movie “42,” Harrison Ford’s character describes sympathy as being derived from the Greek word to suffer together.  In many cases, sympathy can be difficult to distinguish from pity; this is one reason why empathy can be much more helpful.

Unrelated (but interesting): Comic Version Graphic Points Need for Discussions DNR

Here’s one frame:

From Annal of Intern Medicine Twitter Feed

From Annal of Int Med Twitter Feed


One thought on “Empathy vs. Sympathy

  1. Pingback: Off-Duty Doctors and Family Obligations | gutsandgrowth

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