What is the difference between empathy and sympathy? Sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another. These words are often used interchangeably which is incorrect. Empathy goes beyond sympathy; with empathy, there is a sense of caring and understanding for the suffering of others. Feeling with people vs. feeling for people. Check out the video to learn more about this difference.