Is this an easy subject chosen as our challenge for the Word Press Daily Post, Prompt of the day, I sympathize with you if you are finding it a tricky one.

My first thought was a feeling that “sympathize” should end with “ise” and the spell checker on my computer seems to be questioning the spelling ending “ize”, which I had assumed would be due to the difference of spelling between American and English. However having checked with my dictionary it seems both are acceptable and has sympathize as first choice.

To sympathize, then is to agree with a sentiment, opinion, or ideology, but not necessarily to have experienced the situation with which you are sympathizing, for if you have experienced that which you are sympathizing with, you are in fact empathizing, which is a totally different ball game.

I came across a definition for the word empathize on the website “” which was so good I had to reproduce it verbatim.

“To empathize is to understand or relate to someone else’s emotional experience. If you get teary-eyed upon hearing about the death of your friend’s pet hermit crab, you’re probably empathizing with your friend – unless you’re just bored to tears by her story.”

“Empathize is often used interchangeably with sympathize, but you’ll get no empathy (or sympathy) from the usage experts if you confuse the two. When you sympathize with another person, you feel sad that she is suffering, but you don’t necessarily relate to her experience. It’s easiest to empathize when you’ve been through the same experience; for example, if your pet guppy had recently passed away, your friends hermit crab story would have broken your heart, due to empathy.”

I think I’m getting the hang of this now, so for example, should I be unlucky enough to fall from a cliff when out for a constitutional upon the cliff path and be left clinging for dear life to a small outcrop I should hope that any potential rescuers may have had a similar experience. Those rescuers who have not had a similar experience, whilst showing sympathy may merely pass by, whilst those who have empathy would surely throw me a lifeline in an effort to save my life.

For those of you who are finding this blog a little confusing, I apologise and you have my sympathy, or should that be empathy?


About The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I am a retired actor, although to be honest I only retired because I wasn't getting any work and the option of becoming an unemployed actor/waiter at my age was ludicrous, especially as my waiting skills are non-existent. Having said I’m retired, I don’t think there really is such a thing as a retired actor for I am still available for work, I just don’t have an agent or any connections with regards to obtaining any worthwhile work. I have over the years done student films when there is nothing else available, always low paid (if at all) the only incentive was always the promised copy of the finished film for your show reel which nine times out of ten always failed to materialise. I spent many years looking after my aged mother who had dementia, hence the lack of acting work but shortly after her death I was lucky enough to run into an ex-girlfriend of many years ago and our romance blossomed once again, resulting in us getting married in 2013. My move to the countryside inspired me to write The Diary of a Country Bumpkin which tells of my continuing dilemmas in dealing with the rigors of the countryside from the unexpectedly large number of pollens, fungal moulds and hay products waiting to attack the unsuspecting townie. I enjoy writing, see my play Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori on The Wireless Theatre Company, The Plays Wot I Wrote and The Battle of Barking Creek both available on and am very fond of classic cars so my ideal occupation would be acting in a film I had written set in the 1930s/40s, we live in hopes. I am delighted to say that since venturing to the countryside where space is not quite the premium it is in town, I have due to the availability of two double garages acquired more classic cars to form a small collection the pride of which are a 1947 Bentley Mk VI and a 2000 Bentley Arnage. My various blogs and websites are continually evolving and I’m sure that by following the appropriate links you will find something which will edify or amuse.
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One Response to Sympathize.

  1. Pingback: Author Interview – Marc Watson – “Death Dresses Poorly” (Dark Comedy/Urban Fantasy) | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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