Firstly, one must understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is simply feeling sorry for one another. We can pick up these feelings from someone else’s body language. This is achieved from the mirror neurons in our brain being activated when we observe someone in obvious distress e.g when someone is screaming in pain. Empathy is about reflecting more internally about someone else’s situation (where the signs of distress are not as obvious e.g when a child does not have a partner to pair up with during a P.E activity) by imagining how you would feel in that situation and therefore understanding that person more i.e you imagine that they would have felt left out and awkward and so you invite them to join your group to make three people. The key here is that for empathy, one must use their imagination. This is a skill, and not something we do often and naturally. Putting in the effort to use the skill of empathy helps you by not making brash judgments about others and labeling them as weird or a bitch.
Most people only start to empathise with others in a certain situation if they have been through a very similar situation themselves. They do this by accessing their memories to remember what emotions they went through. If you were to use your imagination, you can predict what kind of emotions someone is going through even if you have not been in that situation before.
So there you go. Now try to empathise with as many people as you can when you see people in everyday situations and try to develop this skill so that it is constantly running in the background when you are around someone. So while you are communicating with someone, try to also think about how you are being received. In real time. I know, it is a difficult skill. I never said that this stuff was easy. But once you master this, socialising becomes a hell of a lot easier.
Love ya x