Performative empathy is when someone pretends they can understand how someone else is feeling by saying things like “I know how you’re feeling”. It doesn’t mean they really understand, though. It’s like when your friend puts their arm around you and says “I know this is hard for you”, but they don’t really understand what you’re going through. They’re just saying words to make you feel better. It can be helpful, but it’s not the same as true understanding.