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Are you more Sympathetic or Empathetic? (read definitions!)
I'm on (or around) the ASD spectrum and more Empathetic 9%  9%  [ 2 ]
I'm on (or around) the ASD spectrum and more Sympathetic 52%  52%  [ 12 ]
I'm on (or around) the ASD spectrum and I'm both about equally. 17%  17%  [ 4 ]
I'm not on the spectrum, and more Empathetic. 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
I'm not on the spectrum, and more Sympathetic. 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
I'm not on the spectrum and am both about equally. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
ASD & I don't think I'm much for either one. 13%  13%  [ 3 ]
not ASD & I don't think I'm much for either one. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 23

OddFiction
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29 Aug 2010, 5:53 am

Sympathy
sym·pa·thy   /ˈsɪmpəθi/ [sim-puh-thee] –noun
1.harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.
2.understanding another person's thought or mood.
3.wishing an improvement in another person's mental or emotional state.

Empathy
em·pa·thy   /ˈɛmpəθi/ [em-puh-thee] –noun
1.vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
2.responding to another person's mood or state by experiencing mirror feelings.
3.feeling the emotions of another person.



Last edited by OddFiction on 29 Aug 2010, 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Aimless
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29 Aug 2010, 6:02 am

I can experience both, but not always at times that make sense. If someone I know tells me someone died I feel detached but sympathetic intellectually. I think when there are times I am expected to respond a certain way I cannot and retreat. If I read a news story about people suffering I almost feel it as a physical pain.



Mdyar
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29 Aug 2010, 6:48 am

OddFiction wrote:
Sympathy: Understanding another person's thought or feelings. Having compassion for them. Caring for their state of (emotional?) mind and wishing them better if applicable.


Quote:
Empathy: Responding to another person's mood or state by experiencing feelings of the same sort. Imagining yourself as 'being like they are' for the moment.

Which would you say more accurately describes you?


These states are variable among people , and I have observed different reactions in these scenarios ; I don't think there is anything binary with this.

Simply put: I think that all of this has to do with is "theory of mind"; If I share the same experience as "you do" and I feel the same way about it, why then there is a mutual communication between us.

Theory of Mind affects everyone , and not just someone with an ASD.
Someone with an ASD may more likely see it, or experience it, differently due to differences in life's experiences.



AngelRho
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29 Aug 2010, 7:00 am

OddFiction wrote:
Sympathy: Understanding another person's thought or feelings. Having compassion for them. Caring for their state of (emotional?) mind and wishing them better if applicable.

Empathy: Responding to another person's mood or state by experiencing feelings of the same sort. Imagining yourself as 'being like they are' for the moment.

Which would you say more accurately describes you?
I wonder if the ASD tests should be sypathizing quotient rather than empathizing quotient?


Your definitions are backwards. "Empathy" means understanding someone's feelings. "Sympathy" is actually feeling the same things at the same time. If someone experiences the death of a close friend of family member and they cry, you cry with them. That's what sympathy is.

Empathy is a kind of buzz word that has entered pop psychology and motivational speaking. It recognizes that a person's feelings or anxiety or grief are personal. You can't "know how someone feels" because you aren't that person. You CAN, however, do things like repeat what someone says about their feelings in paraphrase, gauge their response, ask questions, reword your responses, and such things to show a grieving person that either you DO understand what they are going through or that you are at least trying to understand.

In general, aspies tend to be "fix-it men." We don't see through the emotional side of an issue, alleviating grief through being present and helping someone talk through their problems. If someone is sad because their dog died, for instance, we're more likely to suggest they just go to the local animal shelter and get a new puppy. We mean well, but sometimes such suggestions are more horrifying than helpful to those we are attempting to counsel. That's why we are often accused of lack of empathy. We don't understand, in part because we don't get the social cues of pain. We are probably more often sympathetic, we just typically don't know how to show sympathy or empathy.

I think a better question is why do we confuse the two terms? You defined them as most people tend to misunderstand them, but that is NOT what "sympathy" and "empathy" mean.



OddFiction
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29 Aug 2010, 7:55 am

i defined them as online resources define them.
Check your resources. Look at wiki, look at the multiple entries in dictionary.com


I think you are mixing up sympathy with sympathetic relation



AngelRho
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29 Aug 2010, 8:45 am

empathy |ˈempəθē|
noun
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

sympathy |ˈsimpəθē|
noun ( pl. -thies)
1 feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune



happymusic
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29 Aug 2010, 9:05 am

Sympathy describes me. I felt empathy once, or what I think was empathy. It was a feeling that arose without my input in a way. It was so novel that it distracted me. The compassion I have for others these days has its roots in my spiritual practice and is intellectual in origin. I still feel it is valid though.



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29 Aug 2010, 9:37 am

I'm a sympathetic person, but I don't think I'm very empathetic.



lostD
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29 Aug 2010, 9:55 am

Etymologically speaking those words are difficult to understand because Sympathy means "feeling/suffering together". I used to think that Sympathy originally meant "Empathy" but I guess it means that you can relate to a situation and understand the feelings of someone once they have told you about them whereas empathy means that you can understand someone before they have told you anything and it does not necessarily means that you can relate.

I think I am a sympathetic person though I am not very good at comforting people.



Last edited by lostD on 29 Aug 2010, 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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29 Aug 2010, 9:56 am

I think Oddfiction has the meanings more correct in this case. AFAIK, the essential difference between empathy and sympathy is knowing vs understanding someone's emotions.

I acknowledge I have problems with empathy. I can do sympathy to an extent but I'm not that good with empathy. I try and there are times when I think I can pull empathy off, but it's certainly not a default state of mine.


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MXH
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29 Aug 2010, 11:12 am

Well i have prooved to myself today which one applies. I found out a good friend has passed away this week, i found out by his wife writing on FB. All i could do was feel sorry for her and her children but not more than that.



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29 Aug 2010, 12:01 pm

According to these definitions, I can only sympathize. My empathy is very weak, if not nonexistent.


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OddFiction
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29 Aug 2010, 12:35 pm

I hereby renounce this topic. The arguements over definitions are pissing me off. Lets lock and drop it, the debate over definition has now ruined it.

PS.
Rho <edited> you contradict yourself in your two posts and show I had the right definitions:

(Italic Line = First Post = Contradicts your Second)

Quote:
empathy |ˈempəθē|
noun
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
--
"Empathy" means understanding someone's feelings.

sympathy |ˈsimpəθē|
noun ( pl. -thies)
1 feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune
--
"Sympathy" is actually feeling the same things at the same time



Mdyar
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29 Aug 2010, 1:40 pm

To answer the poll :

In practice I would fit the definition of sympathy more so than empathy.

Though I can feel the pain of others in situations that I've been in, and I believe, again ,all this has to do with theory of mind.

If someone was recovering from surgery, I have a hard time experiencing their perceptions ( the empathy) of it all, and I wonder about all the hoopla with the flowers and cards , simply because when I'm there in this situation , I don't care about these things as applying it to myself.

I give sympathy here , because I sense they need it.



marshall
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29 Aug 2010, 5:12 pm

OddFiction wrote:
i defined them as online resources define them.
Check your resources. Look at wiki, look at the multiple entries in dictionary.com


I think you are mixing up sympathy with sympathetic relation


I think there's a big confusion because the popular definitions of empathy and sympathy are very broad and overlap. This is probably due to the general public not understanding the distinction in the original definition. The definition is going to vary between sources because some sources will only include the traditional "correct" meaning while others will try to accommodate common understanding by including additional meanings that are somewhat broader and extraneous to the original "correct" meaning. In that case it's a matter of philosophy, whether it's more important to conserve the precise meaning or to accommodate popular understanding. Some might argue the latter because language is fluid and meanings change over time, thus the only "correct" definition is based on how words are actually used, not based on what's said in a dictionary.

Anyways, I think neurologists use the more traditional meaning of empathy which has more to do with understanding than feeling. In other words, a person can have empathy without compassion or sympathy. For instance, a scam artist could have empathy in that they understand the emotions of their victims and use this understanding to manipulate them. However, few people in the general public would ever use the word this way. To the general public empathy implies both an emotional understanding plus some degree of sympathy and/or compassion.



flybirdfly
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29 Aug 2010, 5:20 pm

Well given that I don't really read people too well, I would say that I am much more of a sympathizer is much more given the definitions. I would like to think that although people on the spectrum have difficulty reading people's emotions, they are often extraordinarily sympathetic and compassionate people, possibly more than NT's on average. People on the spectrum have more often than not felt misunderstood, wrongly left out of society, and experienced a great deal of hardships, so they understand the importance of feeling love and compassion for all people, even when they may not completely understand them. Maybe there are exceptions, but I normally see good in everyone, and based on the people on the spectrum that I have met in person, we are a very kind, loving, and compassionate bunch.