This is my first story on this website, plus as well as my own opinion and thoughts on such subject. If you do not agree with me, then its fine, I would like to know why you think such a way then I don't think your thought is true and not have a reason.
What I want to discuss and show you is the difference and the similarity between reading people and feeling people emotion levels and how they go together as well as how they don't. As we all know we all have a level of empathy level, either it be small feelings to large feelings of abilities of "feeling the other's pain" to extreme cases.
Empathy is the ability to feel what they are feeling on that particular day hour or seconds during that time period, possibly in the future or past too. The ability to feel the other people's pain and happiness could be a benefit to the person or a burden. To be able to understand what they are feeling at that time could either bring you closer to one another or drift apart, because some people are frightened of being found out, but they still wanted to be understood. We all have a reason to the case of why we are feeling a certain way, but this makes us human. This is how we connect with one another and how we start a relationship or destroy it.
The term reading people is a bit different, it more in the area of what you see and observe, its all in the body language of a person, on how they act or see when they first see you, aka first impressions. Now as we all know we been told not to "judge" people on just first impression alone, and judging a person just by what they do first do is a big no in some religions as well as society. Now there is a fine line by reading people and judging people and once your opinion cross over reading people, then it is considered judging a person. Now as a computer animator looking and reading a person actions and reaction is a key to bringing a character to life. If we do not observer the people's action and reactions and personality we would not believe that character is believable and we do not like them. Look at your favorite animated character, and describe to yourself what you like about them, and you can start to understand where I am coming from. Their action tells a lot about their personality, even though they don't even know it. As I observed people actions, (this sounds like a creeper), I noticed similar actions and traits on people.
For example when a person head looks down and their shoulder is slump, as well as they look down on the dumps; most of the time this person confidence level of themselves is not as high as a normal person. They look down from the negative thoughts that go on in their heads, their shoulder slumps because of the heaviness they feel not from gravity but the weight they have to carry onto themselves. Also because of the constant negative impact other people has given to these people. It becomes heavy and their thoughts weigh more negatively about themselves. There are many reasons on why the slump their shoulders, but this is a main reason that I have noticed. As time goes on from different age level, they start to form a bad back, or a hump. When this starts setting in it becomes harder to get rid of and it becomes a problem physically. As more negative a person thought is about them their physical body shows their thoughts without realizing it. Body posture is not the only thing that helps in reading a person, from facial features, to the things they wear, and how well they present themselves does make a person.
Now as we now know the basic understanding of empathy and reading people differences, these two do go hand in hand at times. You see as we all see their outer shell, we can feel what they are feeling at these times, as an empathy we take it a step further in understanding "why" they feel such a way. When you meet them the first time and you "feel" their emotions about you. Now this is where our opinion starts jumping in because of what we "feel" about them. For example, when a girl meets another girl and this other girl feel jealously about them because they have something about them they are jealous of. They want something about their appearance or materialistic item the person is carrying or many other reasons we do not know unless asked. Our usually response later on or right now, is that we do not like them because they feel a negative response from that girl. Negative response makes them not like them and our opinions about the girl starts from there.
Empathy is all emotion bases but reading a person is all in the area of observation. These are my opinions; thoughts, observation, as well as experiences that I have went through to better understand the human nature of empathy and reading a person. From my experience I hope you take something from it.