Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It is a fundamental human quality that allows us to respond to the emotional needs of others.
When we feel empathy, we are able to see the world from another person’s perspective. This can lead to a deeper understanding of their experience and a more compassionate response.
Examples of empathy include sensing someone else’s happiness and being genuinely happy for them, imagining yourself in a struggling person’s situation, and feeling sadness when they are sad.
5 Top Empathy Examples
1. Sensing Someone’s Emotions
A highly empathetic person is often in-tune with other people’s non-verbal cues, such as body language. They will notice the body language of the people around them and see it as a sign of their emotional state.
These people can sense someone else’s sadness, happiness, anger, and so on, before that person has mentioned it.
These are also the sorts of people who are usually highly empathetic. They are in-tune with the emotions of the people around them. This often leads these people to feel higher degrees of empathy with others, including being able to feel other people’s pain and sadness.
2. Imagining yourself in Someone’s Situation
At the core of empathy is the fact that you’re able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You can understand how they are feeling because you have felt that feeling yourself in the past.
People who have been through personal pain and suffering in the past are often very good at this. They can know and understand other people’s emotions because they’ve had lived experiences with those emotions.
On the other hand, a particularly privileged person may have great sympathy for someone else, but they can’t connect on an emotional level. They may have a hard time picturing themselves in a tough situation because they’ve lived a life where those situations have not arisen personally.
3. Feeling Sadness for Someone Else’s Sadness
When you sense someone’s sadness, you connect with them not only on a cognitive level, but also an emotional level.
You are not just logically sympathetic with them. You’re in tune with the fact that they are feeling intense emotions, and that triggers your emotions on some level.
This is perhaps best exemplified when someone we love, such as a parent, is sad. We feel it at a visceral level. It affects us in a way that is far stronger than if it was someone we didn’t love who was sad.
We want to take that sadness away from them because we feel a strong bond with that person.
4. Feeling Happiness for Someone Else’s Happiness
Similarly, you may be the sort of person who gets elated for someone who is happy. You want the people around you to experience joy. When they’re joyful, you feel that and can partake in that emotion together.
As with the previous example, parenting is the quintessential version of this feeling of empathy. When our child is happy, giggling, or feels a sense of accomplishment, we well up with happiness.
Our children’s happiness is felt in a way that any other child’s happiness is not. We have evolved as a species to feel sharp and intense empathy for our own offspring.
5. Feeling Strongly for People who Share your Identity
We tend to be able to empathize more strongly for people who have walked the same path in life as us. This is because we can do more than just imagine was something is like. We know the feeling ourselves.
Furthermore, we can see ourselves potentially being stuck in the same situation as that person in the future.
For example, a person of color who sees another person of color being mistreated by the police would not only see the social injustice of the situation. They would also be infuriated because it’s their group that is being discriminated against. They could see that it could be them next week in the same situation.
45 Empathy Statement Examples
Empathy statements are designed to help people feel heard and understood. In a world that can often feel chaotic and overwhelming, such statements can provide a much-needed sense of calm and connection.
Below are some great examples of empathy statements:
1. I can see that you’re really upset about this and I’m here for you.
2. This must be so difficult for you, I feel for you.
3. You poor thing, this must be so hard for you.
4. Oh my gosh, this is such a hard thing to go through, can I give you a hug?
5. I can’t believe how strong you are, this must be taking everything out of you.
6. I don’t know how you do it, this must be taking its toll on you.
7. I can see how this is tearing you apart, I feel for you.
8. This has to be the hardest thing ever, I don’t know how you’re managing.
9. You’re doing an amazing job considering how hard this is, I’m really proud of you.
10. This must be so confusing and frustrating for you, I wish I could do more to help.
11. I can’t believe how well you’re holding up, this is an incredibly tough situation.
12. You’re managing this so much better than I could ever imagine, you’re amazing.
13. I don’t know what I would do if I were in your shoes, this has to be really tough for you.
14. This has to be one of the most difficult things a person can go through, my heart goes out to you.
15. You are handling this with so much grace and strength, I admire you greatly.
16. I can’t even begin to imagine how you must be feeling, this is just awful.
17. This is such a heartbreaking situation, I feel for you so much.
18. There are no words to describe how difficult this must be for you, I wish I could do more to help.
19. You’re in my thoughts and prayers, this is just a really tough time for you.
20. If there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
21. I’m here for you, whatever you need.
22. That sounds really tough.
23. I can’t imagine how you feel.
24. You must be feeling so overwhelmed.
25. I can see how that would be really confusing.
26. It makes total sense you would feel frustrated by that.
27. I’m here for you, no matter what.
28. I know it’s not easy to talk about, but I’m here to listen.
29. You’re doing an amazing job, considering everything you’re dealing with.
30. I’m so proud of you for opening up and sharing that with me. I’m here for you, no matter what.
31. You’re not alone in this. I’m here for you.
32. I know it feels like no one understands, but I’m here to listen and help however I can.
33. Thank you for trusting me with this. I’m here for you.
34. This is a really difficult situation, and you’re handling it so well.
35. You are so strong for everything you’ve been through.
36. I’m sorry to hear that. If there’s anything I can do, day or night, please do reach out.
37. Oh no, that sounds really tough. I’m here for you if you need to talk.
38. That must be so difficult for you. I can’t imagine how you feel, but I’m here for you.
39. I can see how much this is affecting you and your family. I’m here to support you in any way I can.
40. This has to be really tough for you to deal with. Please know that I care about you and am here for you.
41. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. You are not alone, I am here for you.
42. This is a hard situation to be in, I feel for you. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.
43. I don’t know how you feel, but I want you to know that I care about you and am here for you.
44. This must be really tough for you, I’m here for you though, even if it’s just to listen.
45. Whatever you’re feeling is valid and I’m here for you 100%.
Empathy vs Sympathy
Empathy is different from sympathy, which is when we feel sorry for someone who is experiencing difficulty.
Sympathy is a one-way feeling, whereas empathy is a two-way process that involves both understanding and sharing another person’s emotions.
Research has shown that empathy is a key ingredient in healthy relationships, and it can also be beneficial in workplaces and other social settings. By fostering empathy, we can create more compassionate and connected communities.
When we take the time to truly listen to another person and communicate our understanding of their experiences, it can help to reduce stress, build trust, and foster a deeper sense of community.
Empathy statements can also be useful in conflict resolution, as they provide a way to see the situation from another person’s perspective. By using empathy statements, we can learn to connect with others on a deeper level and create a more compassionate world.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]