Do You Need Sympathy or Empathy?

The writer working to develop an EMPATHETIC character is careful to delineate between the root word EMPATHY as it contrasts to SYMPATHY.

empathetic | adj.

As mentioned above, empathy is the root word in "empathetic," so we must look to its definition to begin to understand character development or personality traits of an empathetic person.

Closely related to the word "compassion" in its definition, empathy is more difficult to characterize because the traits are more transparent.  A list of related words found at Merriam Webster is very helpful.

When developing this character, ask yourself how you would want to be treated in a time of trouble, frustration or worry. Then work from there.  Perhaps even a visual will help to capture your empathetic character.

The basic difference between the empathetic character with one showing sympathy is found in the fact that empathy can be shown when one has experienced the same circumstance as the person needing comfort and understanding.  Sympathy is shared when the other person has experienced a loss and comfort is being offered.

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