Empathy vs Sympathy


Empathy is one of the most important skill for an individual both for personal and professional life. In an organization, culture of Empathy can act as competitive advantage that helps in better understanding of the employees, customers and end-users. This ultimately leads to more relevant and acceptable products/solutions.

However, most people generally confuse empathy with sympathy. Let me try to explain the difference in a simple way – 

Sympathy: Understanding someone else, but from your own lens (viewpoint). It generally entails feeling of sorrow/pity for others.  

Empathy: Understanding someone else from their lens (viewpoint). It entails experiencing the emotions, condition and opinions of others by imaging yourself in their situation (typically, putting yourself in someone else’s shoe!). 

Empathizing with someone is easy said than done. Empathy involves not only listening to other person, but also understanding what that person sees, hears, does and feels. 

So, next time notice if you are only sympathising or empathising with others. 

Good news is that Empathy can be practiced and perfected. I will be happy to know your experience with Empathy. 


Piyush Singh 

#innovation, #empathy, #designthinking, #customercentricity

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