Word Play Gone Astray

25F6CD33-9E02-4B58-9161-E9075280AB5D“I really empathize with that poor man over there,” Jessica said, looking at the homeless man sleeping beneath a tree in the park.

“No, Jessica, you don’t empathize with him,” Mitch said.  “How could you? You’ve never been homeless and had to sleep on the street.”

“You know what I mean,” responded Jessica. “I feel bad for him, sorry for him.”

“I know you do,” said Mitch. “But that’s not empathy, that’s sympathy.”

“Same difference,” Jessica said.

“No, empathy and sympathy are not the same,” Mitch said. “When you empathize with someone, you can put yourself in that person’s shoes. When you sympathize with someone, you feel compassion or pity toward that person.”

“Fine, whatever,” Jessica said. “It’s six of one, half a dozen of another.”

“Jessica,” Mitch said, “the two words are not synonymous.”

“Stop being such a grammar nerd, Mitch,” Jessica insisted. “I could care less if there is a slight difference between ‘empathize’ and ‘sympathize.’ You knew very well what I meant.”

“You mean you couldn’t care less,” Mitch said, a smile on his face.

“You’re as asshole,” Jessica said, as she stormed away.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “sympathize.”

13 thoughts on “Word Play Gone Astray

  1. Sight11 February 3, 2018 / 8:33 am

    I’m quite sure I empathise with Mitch while I sympathise with Jessica.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A. P. Christopher February 3, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    I am always “that guy”… So I empathize with the plight, and sympathize accordingly… 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sheetalbravon February 3, 2018 / 6:12 pm

    Interesting conversation indeed and the illustration was the icing on the cake. Superb writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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