is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. The word derives from the Greek συμπάθεια
), from συν
) "together" + πάθος
), in this case "suffering" (from πάσχω
, "to be affected by, to suffer"). It also can mean being affected by feelings or emotions. Thus the essence of sympathy is that one has a strong concern for the other person. Sympathy should not be confused with empathy
(more than simply the recognition of another's suffering, sympathy is actually sharing another's suffering, if only briefly).
Sympathy exists when the feelings or emotions of one person are deeply understood and even appreciated by another person.
In common usage, sympathy is usually making known one's understanding of another's unhappiness or suffering, but it can also refer to being aware of other (positive) emotions as well.
In a broader sense, it can refer to the sharing of political or ideological sentiments, such as in the phrase "a communist sympathizer".
The psychological state of sympathy is closely linked with that of compassion and empathy.