What Empathy Means to Me

What Is Empathy

I think empathy is an extremely important skill that should be in everyones lives. By looking at sites such as “Psychology Today” and “SBN Online” I have come to the realization of how important empathy is in the workplace, and personal life. To me empathy is the ability to recognize other peoples emotions and sense what they are going through by putting yourself in their perspective. I think any meaningful relationship has to have a sense of empathy involved in it otherwise it really docent have much meaning. This is different than sympathy, which I think is just feeling bad for somebody by seeing what they are going through, but I don’t think its truly understanding their emotions. To me anyone can treat an individual with sympathy, but empathy is much harder to come across  as it requires a much deeper personal relationship.

A Time of Empathy

I have always felt that in relationships, I need a strong sense of empathy on both sides for the friendship to actually have value. Coming into college as a freshman, I had some good friends but I didn’t think any of them really had a lot of empathy towards me. On the first week of school I was at the gym and ended up seeing one of my old friends who I use to play hockey with. We were never really great friends when we use to know each other, sort of just acquaintances, so when I saw him we talked for a little and I didn’t really see much of it. As the year went on we started hanging out with each other all the time, and developed into great friends, and still are to this day. I started to realize the main reason we had become such good friends was because we both felt a sense of empathy towards one another. We would talk and truly try and see the others point of view in situations, and how their emotions played a role in these scenarios. This empathy that he used to relate to me really changed me and helped me so much with the struggles that I was facing because I always knew there was a friend who cared.

A Time of Sympathy

I think empathy is completely different than sympathy and I have seen plenty of people focus on sympathy because it is a lot easier. I recently had a shoulder injury, leading me to need shoulder surgery, this makes me require a lot of help, since this arm is pretty immobile. Even though it was a small injury it helped me realize who really does things to help me because they truly care and relate to what I’m going through, and who just do it because they feel kind of bad. I have seen plenty of my friends just give the minimal effort when helping me out. Its actually kind of sad because you may of thought some of your friends had so much meaning to you, but then you realize some are barely willing to do the smallest things for you.This moment really helped me realize the difference between sympathy and empathy, and how much more empathy really means to me.


This helped me realize how important empathy is in ones life, and how it can change the outcome of others lives. I think everyone should have a strong sense of empathy and try to build connections with this trait in some of their personal relationships. If you don’t have this trait you can start building it simply by trying to relate to people, and just putting yourself in their shoes, while obviously not stepping in to far and acting like you know all of the persons life. With this trait you can really change to make your relationships meaningful, rather than just having acquaintances as friends.



  1. @. (n.d.). Empathy Vs Sympathy. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201505/empathy-vs-sympathy
  2. Pressley, B. D. (n.d.). The importance of empathy in the workplace. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.sbnonline.com/article/theimportanceempathy-in-the-workplace/fullsizeoutput_307

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Im currently a junior at the Leeds school of business, studying finance and real estate. I live in Boulder, and I love staying active by doing any type of physical activity or just hanging out with friends.

3 thoughts on “What Empathy Means to Me

  1. Hi Cole! I loved your post, I think that empathy is hard to find in people and people don’t understand the magnitude of it. It is a rare quality, and it can be disappointing in times when you are vulnerable, like when you hurt your shoulder, to see how people you thought you were close to and would be there for you just aren’t. I agree that it is entirely different than sympathy, sympathy is more simple and does not require as much skill and emotional intelligence. Great post!

  2. Hey cole,
    Your post was really good and I especially liked your definition of empathy. I agree with you that it is a crucial social skill that humans need when someone is going though a tough time. I really agree with you when you said that it can change peoples lives. I know it did for me so now that I know that I always try to use empathy when trying t help a friend or anyone for that matter. Like you said it is crucial for relationships and I would also agree because this is a time where you are closest with another person. Great post, keep it up.

  3. Yes! I agree with everything about this. Empathy is a great skill to have. In a lot of jobs today the people that are empathetic are the ones that make greater connections and better relationships with a broader pool of people. What career path are you thinking? have you thought about public health or something in the medical field? Empathy I agree brings people together. I am very empathetic and I have struggled with being there for myself. I am always there for others and looking out for them that I totally forget to make sure I am okay. Have you ever had this feeling?
    Great post! I hope your shoulder is doing better 🙂

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