Consider a person who is in pain, sad and in a difficult position/situation, and finds another man in the same situation and feels happy. What would we call such a person?

There is a word having its roots in German, "schadenfreude", which means "to derive pleasure from someone else's misfortune", but this does not fit exactly here as schadenfreude does not take the situation of the subject into consideration.

It cannot be sadism either, as that is when the person revels in inflicting pain.

There is a sense of camaraderie in this situation where the person relates to the pain of the others and somehow his own pain is alleviated.

Is there a more precise word to fit the bill?

  • 4
    We have a saying: "Misery loves company". But that does not answer the question of what such a person is called.
    – GEdgar
    Feb 13, 2013 at 15:25
  • 2
    @GEdgar, I think "misery loves company" is exactly the phrase that describes the OP's scenario. The person sees someone else with the same problem and is happy - not in the other's misery but that they, themself, are not alone in the same misery. Feb 13, 2013 at 16:16
  • 1
    Not really an answer but apt and funny.
    – terdon
    Feb 13, 2013 at 18:09

3 Answers 3


This sounds like commiseration. In which case, you could call that person a commiserator.

  • Commiseration does not imply camaraderie or shared pain.
    – terdon
    Feb 13, 2013 at 17:44
  • @terdon: Why not? I would commiserate with the person in the hospital bed next to me.
    – tylerharms
    Feb 13, 2013 at 17:51
  • Yes you would, but you would also commiserate with a friend who just lost someone whether or not you were also in mourning. The OP is asking for a word that implies a shared pain.
    – terdon
    Feb 13, 2013 at 17:58
  • @terdon: Perhaps the word can be used to imply sympathy, but it does not preclude empathy due to a shared pain. A word may exist that zeroes in on that single relationship, but I think that, in context, an injured person empathizing with someone of similar injury could be called a commiserator.
    – tylerharms
    Feb 13, 2013 at 18:26
  • Yes indeed. All I am saying is that a "commiserator" is not necessarily someone who shares the pain. They can be but they don't need to be.
    – terdon
    Feb 13, 2013 at 18:29

"gloat" means self satisfaction, often at an adversary's misfortune.

  • Agreed, but so does Shadenfreude. It speaks nothing of the situation of the person under consideration.
    – Anshul
    Feb 13, 2013 at 16:12

There is a phrase Welcome to my world which suggests a satisfaction at someone understanding how uncomforatble I am.

The term simpatico means, among other things

having or characterized by shared attributes or interests

While it suggests satisfaction in the alignment of chacarteristics, this term does not necessarily imply compatability based on suffering.

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