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Is there a single word to explain how something happening to someone nearby can affect you? Usually happens with emotions. Similar to if someone is hit, you have sympathy pains, but not quite the same.

For example, if someone is nervous you also become nervous for no reason.

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    Erm...maybe empathy? – Cascabel May 13 at 0:16
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I believe the word you are looking for is empathize, to experience empathy:

the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

  • I've edited your post to include the reference. Without references, posts often get closed. To add a reference, you put the word you want to highlight in square brackets and add the link from the browser in round brackets, in your example: [empathy](link address copy pasted here). – S Conroy May 15 at 14:33
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Sympathy consists of the prefix sym "alike, equal" and the stem path- "feel, suffer". Common usage differs in most English registers for sympathetic, yet Sympathy is defined exactly as asked for

sympathy 1. an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other. [...].

The question is, to a degree, not one of language but philosophy and associated fields, including medicine. The name sympatheic nervous system "can be traced to the concept of sympathy, in the sense of "connection between parts", first used medically by Galen".

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Yes, you identify with the person.

identification in psychology

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I would call it contagiousness or sympathetic reaction. Examples:

I'm very susceptible to the contagiousness of someone else's concert nerves. If I visit a green room, I get nauseous, even if I'm not going to be performing.

When it comes to my sister's panic attacks, I get a strong sympathetic reaction. I'm working on increasing my separation from her emotional level.

  • While I don't feel it's quite perfect for the feeling I'm trying to encompass, contagious does come about the closest. It's not quite sympathy or empathy, it's more like standing next to a fire, while not burning you're feeling it. – poeticvampire May 25 at 17:54
  • @poeticvampire - There's a term in psychology: if A is in a situation where B would feel X, B may then project, meaning B assumes A is feeling what he would feel in that situation, and reacts and responds accordingly. I guess that's different from what you described. Maybe we could also say pick up on someone's (specific emotion). – aparente001 May 26 at 18:57
  • The person who feels nervous and causes the other person to feel nervous -- for no reason -- might send nervous vibes my way or be sending me nervous vibes. – aparente001 May 27 at 5:38

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