Authored by Alan Henry for lifehacker
Video by Brene Brown
Empathy and sympathy are very different, and while neither of them are bad necessarily, empathy is about making an emotional connection with someone, while sympathy is—generally—about finding a silver lining. Both are important, but this animated short really puts a fine point on how they differ.
That said, there’s a time for sympathy too. As long as it’s not judgemental, trying to help someone find a silver lining or even a distraction from a pressing problem has its place as well.
The real skill to be learned is when empathy is appropriate, and when sympathy is appropriate, and what message you send to the people in your lives with each.