“Compersion” Means Shipping the People You Love

I just realized the most obvious way to explain compersion. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before: “Compersion” is when you ship people who are in your life.

I experience compersion as relationship-directed, not individual-directed. Compersion isn’t simply joy at someone else’s joy. (That’s just regular empathy.) Nor is it “the opposite of jealousy.” (Feelings don’t have opposites, silly.) Compersion is an active, personal, emotional investment in the well-being of someone else’s relationship. Joy and excitement when that relationship is going well, frustration or disappointment or sadness when it’s not. And also a kind of…protectiveness of a world in which that relationship has the opportunity to flourish.

Of course, this will only make sense to people who are in fandom. But that’s, like, everybody, right? 😛 I guess most non-fan people don’t really understand what the deal with shipping is, either. I suppose, if nothing else, fans with unpopular ships might be able to empathize with my frustration over people not grokking compersion…


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