When something terrible happens to friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or clients, it may be hard to find the right words to comfort them in Spanish. Empathy is one of the factors that can transform a challenging situation into an opportunity to connect. We can define empathy as the emotional capacity of understanding and connecting with the thoughts and emotions of others.
In some circumstances, this may have conflicting nuances, either for personal or business matters. However, to better understand others, it’s not necessary to go through the same experiences as them. It’s enough to be able to grasp the verbal and non-verbal messages that others want to convey to you and to make them feel understood in a unique and special way.
If you are learning Spanish or are a non-native speaker, you may struggle with choosing the right words to demonstrate empathy, or you try using phrases that you’ve heard before. For example; “it all happens for a reason” or “there’s something better around the corner”.
Sadly, while popular, these phrases seldom help people feel better and often minimize their pain and struggle. Thus, we’ll show you today how to sound more empathetic in Spanish when having a conversation and empower your listener.
Phrases to show empathy in Spanish
When you don’t know what to say:
No puedo imaginar lo que estás pasando.
I can’t imagine what you’re going through.
Ojalá pudiera ayudarte.
I wish I could help you.
Me pone triste escuchar lo que te está pasando.
It makes me sad to hear what you’re going through.
Me enfada escuchar lo que te han hecho.
It makes me angry to hear what they have done to you.
To validate people’s pain:
Siento que estés pasando por/lidiando con esto.
I’m sorry you’re going through/dealing with this.
Vaya, eso realmente apesta.
Wow, that really sucks.
No me extraña que te haga daño.
Of course that (he/she/it) hurts you.
Odio que esto haya sucedido.
I hate that this happened.
Es una situación difícil.
It’s a difficult situation.
Suena realmente mal.
That sounds really bad.
Eso suena realmente desafiante.
That sounds really challenging.
Puedo ver que eso sería difícil.
I can see that would be difficult.
To show gratitude:
Gracias por compartirlo conmigo.
Thank you for sharing that with me.
Me alegro de que me lo hayas dicho.
I’m glad you told me.
Gracias por confiar en mí.
Thank you for trusting me.
Significa mucho para mí que compartas esto conmigo.
It means a lot to me that you’re sharing this with me.
Debe de ser difícil hablar de ello.
It must be hard to speak about it.
Gracias por hablarlo conmigo.
Thank you for talking about it with me.
To show interest:
Bueno, y, ¿cómo te sientes?
Well, and, how do you feel?
¿Cómo te sientes acerca de todo?
How do you feel about everything?
¿Cómo te lo has tomado tú?
How are you taking it?
¿Cómo ha sido esto para ti?
How has this been for you?
Quiero asegurarme de que entiendo…
I want to make sure that I understand…
Lo que estoy escuchando es que te sientes (…). ¿Es eso cierto?
What I’m hearing is that you feel (…) Right?
Entonces, ¿quieres decir que (…)?
So, you mean that (…)?
Entonces, lo que yo entiendo es que te sientes…
So, what I understand is that you feel…
¿Hay algo más que me quieras decir?
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
¿Hay algo más que quieras compartir?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
When you want to be optimistic about a bad situation:
You are strong/brave/talented.
Eres un(a) guerrero(a)/campeón(a).
You are a warrior/champion.
Yo estoy contigo.
I am with you.
Estoy de tu lado.
I am on your side.
Estoy orgulloso de ti.
I am proud of you.
To show you care about that person:
Estoy aquí para ti.
I am here for you.
¿Cómo puedo ayudarte?
How can I help you?
¿Qué necesitas ahora?
What do you need right now?
Quiero ayudarte con lo que sea.
I want to help you with anything.
Yo creo en ti.
I believe in you.
Estoy para escucharte en cualquier momento.
I am here to listen to you anytime.
How to express empathy?
There are plenty of effective ways to express empathy. One of them is to ask open questions. This will allow you to gently enter into the conversation and demonstrate an interest in what people are telling you. Additionally, it is important to ease into the conversation.
In this way, we’ll be helping people get a perspective of what’s going on, letting them organize their thoughts and emotions. In turn, it gives us time to assimilate and reflect on the topic. Nevertheless, before we give our opinion on any topic, we should wait until we have enough information, and make sure that the other person told us everything they wanted to tell us and that we have interpreted that message correctly.
Sometimes, people don’t want to listen to our opinion and advice, but rather, want to be comforted. For that reason, it is important to give our feedback constructively, sincerely, and avoid hurting others with our comments. Therefore, always be respectful, tolerant, and patient.
There’s no script for empathy
While empathy doesn’t follow a script, the phrases we recommended above can help you sound more empathetic in Spanish. Keep in mind that empathy is less about what you say and more about being a good listener.
Thus, we hope our examples guide you to find a good way to express empathy to the people around you. Many life opportunities present themselves thanks to our social relationships.
So, being empathetic in Spanish is a great skill to have. So, it’s a great idea to hone your conversational skills with Spanish immersion classes. Start your journey to Spanish fluency as soon as you set your mind to, by booking a class with one of our native coaches. Save 20% off your first month of classes with code TF20!