For Friends In Need
Empathy is not a virtue (TL;DR), it is a skill. And like any skill, it can be learned and improved.
We should all learn how to feel for others, to put ourselves in their proverbial shoes as far as our feet will go, then walk in them to at least begin to understand where they pinch.
Criticism is easy, so is jumping to give advice that does not take the varying contexts of people's lives into consideration. When we choose these inconsiderate paths instead of leading with empathy in our interactions, we fail as human beings. Frankly, we could not be more useless.
Few people need empathy more than a person who is depressed. Not sympathy, not eager recommendations, but a compassionate understanding that never stifles.
But don't listen to me, I've never struggled with depression. Listen to this woman whose friends have shown incredible wisdom in supporting her through the difficulties of bipolar disorder. Consider them a standard for empathy.