We’ll just start with: don’t. If you’ve ever watched Parks and Rec (spoilerrrrrr) – remember when Anne was pregnant and Chris kept offering her one thousand solutions when all she wanted was for him to be like “that sucks.”
I’m a lot like Anne in that way. Mostly because I’m an overthinker, so if I have a problem I have most likely already thought of a million things I could do, but none of them would really work. So I’ll start complaining about my problem with the hopes that someone will agree, that sucks, or tell me it’s not a big deal.
But don’t try to solve my problems for me. It’s the last thing I want. Your solutions could never work in my anxiety-riddled mind, I’d rather you just try to offer me peace of mind. Instead of “why don’t you try this?” or “what can I do to help?” maybe say “that’s terrible, but it might not matter because x, y, z.”
Not everyone will feel the same because by telling someone something is not a big deal, you might sound like you’re downplaying their problems. But for an overdramatic complainer like me, I need all the downplaying I can get.