Sympathy comes easily to me. I try my hardest to understand where people are coming from. I listen to the situation, collect the information on the feelings of those affected, and I respond accordingly.
As you can tell, my basis for processing the emotions of others is purely intellectual. Because you don’t have to feel yourself to be sympathetic. What I have a hard time with is empathy. When another person experiences pain or excitement or fear or elation, I have a hard time getting to that place with them. I cannot reach their emotional level.
Emotions coming from other people tends to make me uncomfortable. I don’t ever know what to do or say to help them, but I do try. I think that the fact that I try means something. I use sympathy and understanding to create a response appropriate to the situation. Sometimes where empathy fails, sympathy can fill in the blanks.