That makes sense. I know I am empathetic in certain situations. A situation a friend of mine was in recently made me feel almost as though I really were in that situation. I hurt for her, wished I could ease her pain and lighten her load, and thought of her often. But that doesn't happen with everybody, and it doesn't happen in all situations. I think you're right; it depends what I've experienced in life and what emotions I've felt.
On a more intellectual side, I can fairly easily listen to what someone is saying and try to see things more or less from their point of view, but that's not so much an emotional process or gut feeling for me as a mental exercise.
Vix for short.