Warm-hearted vs. Soft-hearted

While at work, a few of my coworkers and I were asked to find words that best described ourselves. Two of these words caught my attention as they could surely be argued as synonymous with one another, but I feel as if there is a very large distinction between the two: warm-hearted and soft-hearted.

Warm-hearted to me means kind, friendly, and empathetic. It means caring about people and treating them with respect when they show the same kindness. It would involve genuinely feeling for someone, not in unison with someone, but in reaction to another’s feelings.

Soft-hearted to me means overly nice, emotionally involved, and overly sympathetic. Instead of understanding and seeking to support people, soft-hearted people would experience the pain with them and become weaker for it. 

Being soft-hearted to me means you allow another to burden you with their pain or weakness. Your friend is going through a bad break-up, your heart breaks, too. You watch a sad commercial or movie and are in tears.

If you were warm-hearted, you’d build that friend back up again, be strong for them, and help them through the rough time. If you saw a sad commercial for ASPCA, you’d go out and adopt a pet, or donate your time and/or money to the cause. You wouldn’t allow it to affect you negatively, but use it as a driver for something positive.

Soft-hearted, while still needed in some situations in the world, I’m sure, is not where I would categorize myself. Warm-hearted is much more like it.