Brene Brown's distinction between sympathy and empathy with clear examples of what each sound like is genius. I would love for everyone to learn the difference. I think I should send her a nickel for every time I've stopped myself midway through an "at least" response. I have literally said to my children "at leas.... I mean, yea, that sounds terrible", then I am in the moment with them, honoring where they are emotionally. This may be one of the most authentic ways I've found to connect with the kids.
I would say that my father's reaction in the previous post, beyond words, demonstrated how powerful this distinction is. If he would have said, "there are other guys out there" or "at least you didn't date him too long (or get married)". I probably wouldn't have had the deep connection, understanding and sense of trust that this simple moment continues to carry over 25 years later.