You can interact with others in various ways. Empathy is a form of interaction and of establishing and strengthening your ties with somebody. Since you express that you care and know what the other is going through, you are getting somehow closer to the respective person. Seeing that most of today’s individuals don’t care too much about the ones surrounding them, you can surely stand out through empathy because it shows you are not self-centered. However, some people use this ability to gain the others’ trust and manipulate them. In this case, it is a false empathy because one uses this capacity for one’s own ends, not for the other’s sake.
Let us take a simple example of such false, faked empathy. Kathleen is a person who usually takes advantage of others by firstly paying a lot of attention to the other person. One day, John arrives at home and Kathleen say to him “John, you must be exhausted from all that hard work you have done today”. John replies “I am completely knackered”. Kathleen goes on “I’m sure you would like to rest, let me bring you a cold drink”. John answers “Oh, that is so kind of you, Kathleen”. She finally says to John, while she heads to the kitchen “Oh, by the way, while you wait, would you please move that heavy table at that end of the room and hang those three pictures over there?” If Kathleen had really empathized with John, she wouldn’t have asked him to make other efforts, especially that he admitted being exhausted from work.
When speaking of sympathy and empathy, one can see the former more often displayed, whereas there are few who really manifest true empathy. A widely cited example of a true empathetic person is the one of Lady Diana, who was also called the Princess of hearts. Many journalists have claimed that it was her power of empathy that brought her so much appreciation and acknowledgment. After her death, many have mourned her, like few other public figures. Although many other personalities were involved in charitable works, as Lady Diana, she managed to take the public esteem to a higher level because of her strong empathetic character.