Inspiration Decks Emotions 2024-03-14 00:00

Emotion: Sympathy

Emotion Sympathy

When you want to write the emotion sympathy, it's important to "show" the emotion your character is experiencing through their physical reactions and dialogue, rather than "tell" it. In this article we provide you with inspiration so you can avoid emotional tells and immerse your readers in your story.

Sympathy is the feeling of understanding and caring about someone else's experiences and emotions. It involves feeling compassion and sorrow for someone who is going through a difficult time or is facing challenges. Sympathy is often accompanied by a desire to help or support the person in need. It is a powerful emotion that can help us connect with others and build meaningful relationships. In writing, creating sympathetic characters can help readers connect with them and become emotionally invested in their story.

  1. Different Types of Sympathy
  2. Situations Associated with Sympathy
  3. Physical Reactions to Sympathy
  4. Thoughts Associated with Sympathy
  5. Atmosphere of Sympathy
  6. Verbs Associated with Sympathy
  7. Emotions Before Sympathy
  8. Emotions After Sympathy
  9. Telling Sympathy Examples to Avoid
  10. Practical Examples of Showing Sympathy
  11. Exercises for Showing Sympathy

Different Types of Sympathy

Here are some different types of sympathy:

  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Understanding
  • Sensitivity
  • Kindness
  • Caring
  • Concern
  • Supportiveness
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth
  • Affection

Situations Associated with Sympathy

Here are some situations where a character might experience the emotion of sympathy:

  • Witnessing someone else's suffering or hardship
  • Hearing about someone else's traumatic experience
  • Learning about someone's past struggles or challenges
  • Seeing someone mistreated or discriminated against
  • Observing someone struggle with a difficult task or situation
  • Watching someone deal with the loss of a loved one or a significant life change
  • Seeing someone who is vulnerable or helpless
  • Hearing about someone's personal or family struggles

Physical Reactions to Sympathy

Here are some physical reactions a character experiencing sympathy might have:

  • A softening of facial features, with a gentle smile or a look of concern
  • Leaning in towards the person who is experiencing difficulty
  • Nodding the head in acknowledgement of the other person's feelings
  • Speaking in a gentle tone, with a slower pace of speech
  • Offering a gentle touch or a hug to show support
  • Tears or a quivering voice in response to another's pain or suffering
  • Offering words of comfort or reassurance
  • A willingness to listen actively and attentively to the other person

Thoughts Associated with Sympathy

Here are some thoughts a character experiencing sympathy might have:

  • I can't imagine what they're going through.
  • I feel their pain as if it were my own.
  • I wish there was something I could do to help.
  • I understand their struggles and can relate to them.
  • Their situation is heartbreaking.
  • I want to comfort and support them.
  • I'm grateful for what I have and want to give back.
  • I don't want anyone to feel alone or misunderstood.

Atmosphere of Sympathy

Here are some ways that you might reflect the emotion of sympathy in the atmosphere of your scene:

  • Create a setting that reflects the character's emotional state. For example, if the character is feeling overwhelmed, the setting could be cluttered or chaotic.
  • Use sensory details to evoke sympathy in the reader. Describe the sights, sounds, and smells in a way that makes the reader feel like they are experiencing the scene alongside the character.
  • Incorporate weather or natural elements that mirror the character's emotions. For instance, if the character is feeling down, the weather could be dreary or rainy.
  • Use symbolism to convey sympathy. For example, a character could be surrounded by broken or damaged objects to mirror their emotional state.

Verbs Associated with Sympathy

Here are some verbs commonly associated with the emotion of sympathy:

  • Comforting
  • Listening
  • Understanding
  • Empathizing
  • Consoling
  • Supporting
  • Nurturing
  • Caring
  • Encouraging
  • Soothing
  • Relating
  • Connecting
  • Commiserating
  • Acknowledging

Emotions Before Sympathy

Here are some emotions that may come before a character experiences sympathy:

  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Understanding
  • Pity
  • Sorrow
  • Sadness
  • Concern
  • Kindness
  • Tenderness
  • Gentle-heartedness
  • Sensitivity
  • Care
  • Warmth
  • Affection

Emotions After Sympathy

Here are some emotions that may come after a character experiences sympathy:

  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Understanding
  • Kindness
  • Tenderness
  • Caring
  • Supportiveness
  • Generosity
  • Charity
  • Altruism
  • Selflessness
  • Forgiveness
  • Gratitude
  • Appreciation

Telling Sympathy Examples to Avoid

Here are some examples of telling the emotion sympathy in a sentence. You should avoid things like this:

• She was touched by his story.

Practical Examples of Showing Sympathy

Here are some examples of showing sympathy in a sentence:

  • As she listened to her friend's heart-wrenching story, tears welled up in her eyes.
  • He put a comforting arm around her shoulders as she sobbed uncontrollably.
  • The old man's frail body trembled with emotion as she gently held his hand.
  • She felt a pang of sympathy for the homeless man huddled in the doorway.

Exercises for Showing Sympathy

Here are some writing exercises to practice showing sympathy:

  • Think of a character that your protagonist has never gotten along with. Write a scene where your protagonist learns something about this character that elicits sympathy.
  • Write a scene from the point of view of a character who is usually seen as an antagonist. Show a moment of vulnerability that elicits sympathy from the reader.
  • Write a scene where your protagonist witnesses an act of kindness or selflessness from a stranger. Use sensory details to convey the emotions that your protagonist feels in response, and show how this experience affects them.
  • Write a scene where a character experiences a loss or disappointment. Show how other characters respond with sympathy, and explore how this impacts the character who is grieving.

Want more help with showing emotion instead of telling? You find more help in our full thesaurus of emotions.

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