SoulPancake’s clever experiment shows that empathy and sympathy have very different effects on people’s happiness. Sympathy is when you express that you’re sorry something happened to someone else; empathy is taking the time to relate with the other person. Eight people were told they got parking tickets, and half received sympathy while the other half received empathy. The people who received sympathy were less happy than before they heard about the ticket, but the people who received empathy were actually happier! So the next time someone is sad, don’t try to cheer them up—just try to understand what they’re going through.