No sympathy meaning

Unsympathetic - Definition, Meaning & Synonyms


When someone doesn't seem to care about the misfortunes of others, they're unsympathetic. If you yawn while your friend is crying about her lost cat, you'll come across as terribly unsympathetic.

There are a few ways to use unsympathetic. If you lack sympathy (a feeling of sadness on behalf of someone else), you're unsympathetic: "I'm unsympathetic about her missing cashmere scarf, since I happen to know she has three more at home." It can also mean "unappealing" or "unlikeable." Darth Vader, up to a point, is a decidedly unsympathetic movie character. Finally, it can mean "disapproving," as in your unsympathetic opinion of an elected official whose policies you disagree with.

Definitions of unsympathetic

  1. adjective

    lacking in sympathy and kindness

    synonyms: unkindly

    lacking kindness

  2. adjective

    not sympathetic or disposed toward

    unsympathetic officialdom”

    “people unsympathetic to the revolution”

    “his dignity made him seem aloof and unsympathetic


    lacking compassion or feeling for others

    incompatible, uncongenial

    not suitable to your tastes or needs


    not responding to some influence or stimulus

    unsympathising, unsympathizing

    not showing or expressing sympathy

  3. adjective

    not having an open mind

    synonyms: closed

    not receptive

  4. adjective

    (of characters in literature or drama) tending to evoke antipathetic feelings

    “all the characters were peculiarly unsympathetic

    synonyms: unappealing, unlikable, unlikeable
  5. adjective

    not agreeing with your tastes or expectations

    “a job temperamentally unsympathetic to him”

    synonyms: disagreeable
    incompatible, uncongenial

    not suitable to your tastes or needs

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no sympathy definition | English definition dictionary

      n   pl   , -thies  

1    the sharing of another's emotions, esp. of sorrow or anguish; pity; compassion  

2    an affinity or harmony, usually of feelings or interests, between persons or things  
to be in sympathy with someone     

3    mutual affection or understanding arising from such a relationship; congeniality  

4    the condition of a physical system or body when its behaviour is similar or corresponds to that of a different system that influences it, such as the vibration of sympathetic strings  

5    sometimes pl   a feeling of loyalty, support, or accord, as for an idea, cause, etc.  

6      (Physiol)   the mutual relationship between two organs or parts whereby a change in one has an effect on the other  
     (C16: from Latin sympathia, from Greek sumpatheia, from sumpathes, from syn- + pathos suffering)  

sympathy strike  
      n   a strike organized in support of another section of workers or a cause and not because of direct grievances,   (Also called)    sympathetic strike  

English Collins Dictionary - English Definition & Thesaurus &nbsp

See also:

sympathy strike, tea and sympathy, sympathin, sympatholytic

Collaborative Dictionary     English Definition


(about a product or service) meant to meet the customers' basic requirements; with no add-ons, including only the basic features

E.g: It's a no frills hotel, but very clean and with friendly staff.


expression used to point out that one has to struggle or suffer to achieve his goal

Jason: Damn it! I can't take it anymore. This exercise is killing me! Ray: Yeah but it’ll help you lose weight. Don't you know? No pain, no gain!


serving no purpose


not an easy task


no activitiy

Economy term


phrase meant to emphasize the speaker's self-assurance

syn.: you can bet on it; trust me; you can count on it; I'm telling you...


acronyme de "there is no alternative"

phrase chère jadis à Mme THATCHER reprise au G20 de novembre 2011 contre le Premier ministre grec et son référendum


little or no possibility of something to happen


basic, standard, with no special features



ça ne sert à rien de pleurer ; ce qui est fait est fait ; inutile de se lamenter sur une chose qu'on ne peut pas changer


When you feel moved, you have strong feelings of sadness or sympathy because of some moving situation,something touching, poignant, heart-rending, heartbreaking, impelling, motivating, heart-swelling, a situation which clearly stirs something inside, which arouses emotions.


Bookish knowledge; knowledge obtained through hearsay, has no sound basis


when a shop is boarded up, it means it is no longer in business and that wooden planks have been nailed over its windows.

one in seven shops in the UK are boarded up


someone who shows no support or enthusiasm about an idea/proposal/situation


home is the best place to be no matter where it is


there is something really obvious that no one talks about

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how to support a friend in a difficult moment

A friend in need... Let's help with a kind word, tactful advice, a joke. How to support a friend in English?

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Can you make friends? Being a good friend means helping your friends when something goes wrong. You can communicate fluently in English only when you learn to find the right word at the right time. Today we will learn English expressions with which you can cheer up an English-speaking friend who is in a difficult situation or who is depressed for any reason.

“If a friend suddenly finds himself”… in an unpleasant situation, feels down (to feel down), experiences some kind of problem: lost his job, is on the verge of a breakdown (breakdown), or is simply too emotionally experiencing some event ... How to console him (to console), how to help him cope with the problem?

We help to speak out

So what to do in such a sad situation? Often, when a person is going through difficult times, he just needs to be allowed to speak out - perhaps this will be enough. What to do? To ask questions. To a friend who lost his job, you could ask the following questions:

What are you going to do now?

What are you going to do now?

Have you thought about. .?

Have you thought about...?

Are you looking for another job?

Are you looking for a new job?

Being forced to answer a question, a friend will talk, express what is sore, ease his soul and, perhaps, at least a little forget about the problem. Give him support (be supportive) - after all, as the famous English proverb says: "A friend in need is a friend indeed." ("Friend is known in trouble").

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Giving advice

As a good friend, you would be happy to give advice to a friend, but be careful not to offend the person. Put yourself in the place of your unfortunate friend and formulate advice in this way: "If I were you . .." ("In your place ..."), for example:

If I were you, I'd go to my boss and say: 'Look, you're not going to fire me. All right? I dare you to fire me.'

If I were you, I would go to my boss and say, “Look, you won't fire me, okay? Just try to fire me!”.

Avoiding faux pas

But sometimes direct advice can be taken with hostility and its meaning needs to be slightly softened:

I'm sorry to hear that you lost your job.

You lost your job... I feel so sorry for you!

You must be feeling awful. You must be having a hard time right now. Have you considered calling your colleagues that you used to work with to tell them that you're looking for a job now? Have you thought about calling your former colleagues and telling them that you are looking for a new job?

The main reason why it is better to give advice in a veiled form is so that your interlocutor does not feel that you are talking condescendingly (condescending), haughtily (in a patronizing manner) or without due sympathy to him.

Condescending - imagine the situation: you have lost your job and some well-wisher suggests that you look for a job on the Internet, as if you yourself had not guessed it before.

Patronising is when they tell you:

Don't worry, I'm sure you'll eventually get something. I mean you don't have many qualifications, but you'll probably get something. eventually.

Don't worry, you'll find something for yourself in time. Well, you're not such a valuable specialist, but you'll probably find something for yourself. With time.

Sharing experiences

What else can we do to help an upset person? If you know your friend's problem, share your experience, tell about your feelings at that moment, about how it all happened and how you got out of a difficult situation with honor. In our example with a friend who lost his job, these could be the following phrases:

When I was made redundant it was a big shock.

At first I was anxious, but I soon saw that it was a blessing in disguise.

There's light at the end of the tunnel.

When I was "downsized", I experienced a great shock.

At first I was worried, but then I realized that it was only for the best.

Everything will work out.

Lend a shoulder

Give support, offer help - become a “shoulder to cry on” (literally: “a shoulder to cry on”):

Let me know if there's anything I can do.

I'm here for you if you need anything.

Tell me how can I help you?

If you need anything, you can count on me.

Encourage a friend (to reassure), give him hope for the future, but not the formal “Don't worry, everything will be OK.” ("Do not worry, it will be good"). It's better to say: "Something will come up." (“Something new will appear”): the phrasal verb to come up means “to appear, to arise.”

Trying to cheer up

You can also try to cheer up a friend with a joke - this is accepted in British culture (the main thing is that the joke is understood correctly). After all, when the mood is not very good and someone successfully jokes, everyone becomes more fun!

How do you like this option:

Yeah. Hey... Guess what? Did I tell you?
I just got a promotion!


Look... didn't I tell you?
I just got promoted!


Actually, we got a slightly dubious joke - but it depends on your friend's sense of humor, be guided by him so that the joke does not backfire.

And finally, another method of comforting the unfortunate called “lullaby for the night” (learn from Dr. Sheldon Cooper):

We hope that the phrases given here will help you cheer up a sad friend, express your sympathy and empathy to him. How do you act, what do you say in such a situation? We are waiting for comments!

Check if you know the top 100 English words

See also:

How to start a conversation in English

100 popular conversational phrases in English

Can you end a conversation in English tactfully?

What is empathy, how to give advice and how to learn to say no

Why unsolicited advice is ineffective, how to respond to strangers who comment on your appearance, and why develop the ability to empathize — Afisha Daily interviewed psychologist Vyacheslav Moskvichev .

— What is empathy? How do you define it for yourself?

— For me, empathy is the willingness to feel what another is experiencing, to give him the understanding that you are guided by his feelings, ready to listen to them. This does not mean experiencing the same feelings that are called the word "sympathy." In addition, it is impossible to experience the same thing as another person. When you make it clear to a person, he gets the feeling that you are in contact with him.

- Is there a way to improve the ability to connect with people in this way?

— There are empathy techniques. For example, joining words. If I use the same words in a conversation with a person that I heard from him, he has a feeling of understanding. There are more subtle techniques - to join by movement, by posture, by breathing. For most psychologists who have been practicing for a long time and successfully, this happens already unconsciously.

But it seems to me that it is very important to distinguish between empathy as a technique and as an attitude. The position of empathy is the readiness, the desire to listen to the interlocutor, to hear, to be close to him, without creating a false feeling that you feel the same as him, if only because it is simply not true.

- And how to achieve this? It seems to me that in our culture, when people try to support someone, they express what they think about the situation and explain to the person how he should behave.

— I have a hunch that there are different helping positions in our culture. I agree that the idea of ​​telling the right way and the right way is very common and in demand. Often people also apply for support in this mode, since such an idea of ​​\u200b\u200bhelp, support is very common.

One of the reasons why it can be difficult to take a position of acceptance and hear the other is the idea that there is some true, true state of affairs. That in every situation there is a right answer, a right decision, a right universal way of doing things, a right way of looking at reality. And if a person has the feeling that he is familiar with this state of affairs, and the other is not, then it is very difficult for him to perceive the position of the other as one of the possible ones. And he believes that his task is to share his correct knowledge. For some people this helps. But unfortunately, this is not always the case.

When I want to give clear advice or a clear recommendation, I try to ask myself questions such as “Why do I think so? Will this suit everyone? Where did I get this idea myself, when did it work for me, are other ideas possible? So I have the opportunity not to take the position of an expert mentor who knows the right answer. Before offering options, it's good to have an interest in what the other person is really experiencing. Perhaps his difficulties are completely different from what seems difficult to me. He probably already has some options that suit him better. This attitude of interest in what one thinks and where one is is often useful for turning to empathy. When I am interested in what he is doing, then I can look at the world through his eyes.

- We interviewed the biologist and popularizer of science Alexander Markov, who, in particular, said that mirror neurons are responsible for empathy, which work only if we see the interlocutor. And if we do not see the interlocutor, for example, we communicate on Facebook, then mirror neurons do not work. By this, he explained the fact that there are so many aggressive comments on social networks.

— I like this idea. But I immediately think that I experienced the most empathy and empathy while reading books. The feelings that arise at the moment of reading, in my opinion, are close to what the hero experiences, I am interested in his experiences, thoughts. But most of the characters in the books never existed at all—say, Raskolnikov or Pippi Longstocking—and I still feel empathy for them. I'm not sure if mirror neurons play a role here - perhaps this is a different mechanism for the emergence of feelings.

I can give you another example. There are blind people; if we start from the idea that mirror neurons are tied to vision, then we deprive them of the ability to empathize. I cannot accept that they lack empathy.

- Science has an entry from the other side. It is believed that oxytocin is a hormone that is responsible, among other things, for the ability to empathize. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak suggests that testosterone suppresses oxytocin, meaning men are less capable of empathy than women. Have you observed anything like this?

- Perhaps when a man begins to develop empathy, he shows less of the stereotype of masculinity and masculinity, enshrined in our culture. On the other hand, among psychologists, helping practitioners, kindergarten teachers, there are many men who know how to resonate with both children and adults.

At the same time, our culture prescribes more aggressiveness specifically to men. Patriarchal discourse is not conducive to understanding people. In such discourse there is an idea of ​​the head of the family: “As I said, so be it. I am the master of my word." Such attitudes do not imply the value of hearing the other. In a situation of aggression and conflict, empathy is reduced - both in men and women.

- Are there people who are not capable of empathy at all? Or are they capable at some level that you can never see it?

— In the scientific psychological community and among individual psychologists, the idea is widespread that there is a psychopathy, which suggests that a person is deprived of the ability to empathize. I am very careful about this, because this idea allows you to judge people and make simple decisions - “What will you take from him? He is a psychopath."

I have not met people about whom I would venture to say that they are not capable of feeling another. I have met people who find it difficult due to a variety of circumstances. As I said before, our culture prescribes men not to experience empathy. There is a prescription: if you are guided by the feelings of another, then you are a weakling and a rag. But if a man gets out of the influence of these ideas, he begins to change. For example, a man receiving a psychological education. And when men are allowed to get involved in such situations, they change.

— For this to happen, a man must have the desire to change this or the resource to go to a psychotherapist. But what if he doesn't have either one or the other?

- I agree that there may be a situation where a person who does not experience or does not use empathy in his life, is not oriented towards understanding another person, will not seek help. Does this mean that he does not have this opportunity? I think these are two different questions. Is it possible to build a relationship with this person? Depends on what kind of relationship. But I do assume that in a relationship where there is no place for empathy, it is difficult to get equality, respect and partnership. Now it is valuable, although these values ​​did not always exist. In traditional families, there is a clear distribution of responsibilities, a hierarchy of roles, and so on: this is the situation when relationships are possible where there is no empathy that suits partners. But now expectations and requests are changing, so I assume that a person may come to me not because he feels a lack of empathy, but because those relationships that are important to him are going wrong. And then I will help people look for ways to improve relationships, and perhaps one of them will be the development of empathy.

- Let's talk about value judgments. Perhaps their abundance is felt more intensely when you are a girl or a woman: all people have the right to tell you what they think of you, how you look, whether you correspond to their ideas of beauty, whether you got married in time, gave birth to children and built a career. Moreover, these value judgments are heard both from close people and from unfamiliar people like grandmothers at the entrance or public transport passengers. Is this a purely Russian feature or is it happening all over the world?

- I won't dare to say for the whole world, but if this happens, then it is connected with several ideas. One of these ideas is the notion of the norm and the deviation from the norm. Value judgment, evaluation is a comparison with something. And that something is usually presented as the truth. There are very clear ideas in society about what is "normal", for example, there is a clear idea of ​​when a woman should get married or how a woman should look. By the way, I don't think that it's easier for men here.

- Also high expectations due to their gender?

- No less is expected from them than from women, there is a phrase "You, like a man, must." This is a very specific expectation of normative behavior. Our society has not yet decided where it is: in the postmodern notion of respect for differences or in the realm of traditional values. What is called traditional values ​​is an attempt to set certain, rather rigid norms in relation to a variety of phenomena. And when we are at this crossroads, value judgments not only arise, but also become more noticeable.

This is due to the fact that if society is traditional, then value judgments may not even be voiced - not because there is no evaluation, but because the deviation is very noticeable and the person himself brings himself in line with the norms. I cannot say that in Soviet times there was less rigidity and regulation, but, perhaps, evaluative statements were heard less often. Grandmothers at the entrance could look at the girl so that the next time she simply would not come out in a short dress.

There is another consideration - about power: indeed, women and, possibly, children, meet with a large number of value judgments.

- And women with children are like that in general.

- For example, when I walk with my child in a stroller, I get much less reprimand than when my wife walks with the same child in the same stroller. Because I am considered a more powerful figure - and traditionally minded women are less ready to make comments to me. And this, I think, is connected with the paternalistic hierarchy and with the idea of ​​power. Bosses, men, professionals, older people have the right to make comments, as they are considered to have gained more experience. Fewer rights have women, subordinates, workers, children.

- What to do with it if you categorically disagree that such judgments sound and are addressed to you?

- I don't think there is one answer. It depends on who these value judgments come from. If from an unfamiliar subway passenger, then you can simply not react. I think it would be interesting, in response to an assessment, to ask a person why he thinks so, why he considers himself entitled to communicate his ideas, what ideas does he come from? This is a very energy-consuming communication, I'm not sure that it would be worth it to enter into the subway or on the street if you do not have a special intention.

If these are close relationships, in which value judgments are made by parents in relation to adult children or by spouses in relation to each other, then I could only recommend accuracy and the desire to understand the other.

— Recently, many perceive unsolicited advice as something offensive. Is unsolicited advice a blessing or is it still a bad thing?

- First of all, unsolicited advice, as a rule, is simply ineffective. They rarely lead to the fact that a person changes his action in accordance with this advice, more often he resorts to the opposite action. And secondly, they often cause aggression.

Unsolicited advice suggests a hierarchy. If I give advice, then I know more and have the power to share this knowledge. And if my interlocutor does not agree with this hierarchy, then this causes a confrontation. Then the question arises not about the meaning of advice, but about disrespect for the experience of the person to whom advice is given. That is, it is assumed that the one who gives advice has more grounds and rights.

If you are asked for advice, then the question arises of how to give it so that it is useful. Just because something worked for me and worked for even a few people I knew, it's no guarantee that the advice will work for another person. In order to be useful, it is important to clarify the context and seek a solution together.

I come from my professional discourse and ideas about how to help. It seems to me that this idea is relevant not only for psychological interaction, but also for economic advisers, for any other people who are in cooperation. For example, if a parent tells a teenager how to behave in a particular situation, then he often gives this advice from a context that no longer exists in adolescent life now. He doesn't know what works and what doesn't. His advice may be harmful. On the other hand, parenting experience can be very valuable if you discuss it with your children and figure out where it can be applied. Perhaps my experience, a different view that I can offer to a teenager, will be useful. But for this it is important to start where the person is. It is important not to give advice in the form of a ready prescription. He can be very correct, it's just that a child won't behave like that. On the other hand, if he tries to implement it and it does not work, it can greatly harm our interaction. Next time he won't ask me, because he will think that the parent is incompetent, why consult with him.

— Why is it so much easier for many to feel sympathy and empathy for animals than for people?

- Probably because in relation to animals there is no doubt about the hierarchy. They are definitely our little brothers. It is easier to feel sympathy for those who are below us, including children. It is more difficult to feel sympathy for teenagers, because they are big and sometimes dangerous, they cause irritation.

Another consideration: there is no idea about dogs and cats that they could change and become different. That is, animals are much easier to accept, come to terms with the impossibility of changing them. It is unlikely that your cat will learn English and earn good money. No one will tell a cat: if you behave like this, you will grow up to be a janitor. She will not be a janitor, she will remain a cat. And in relation to a person, there is an expectation that he can come in line with some kind of norm, but for some reason does not come. That is, in relation to animals and children, there is less rationing.

But if the dog begins to deviate greatly from the norm - for example, to defecate at home and do it regularly, sympathy becomes much less, especially among the owners.

- Many people (for some reason, there is a feeling that especially women) seem to find it difficult to say no and refuse offers that are uncomfortable for them for some reason. Is there an easy way to develop the ability to say no when something doesn't suit you?

- I assume that this is also related to issues of power and the position of a woman. It really seems to me that now women have received the opportunity and the right to speak, including not.

- Right and opportunity - yes, but this can be difficult for women themselves, because they are often brought up to be gentle, obedient and agreeable to everything.

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