Many people have been in the following situation: You begin opening up about your struggles to a friend or family member, just for them to turn it into a conversation about the one time they struggled with something similar. The goal is generally to help you feel less alone, but it doesn’t always come off as sincere.
While providing support from your own experience is great, it’s best to give your friend or loved one the chance to share their feelings before bringing up your own—this will remind them that you’re here to listen.
It’s not always about finding the right words, Caraballo says, but more about communicating a “spirit of care and concern” than anything else—and keeping your attention on them rather than yourself will help you do so.
Now, if your friend or loved one asks if you have any advice, or if you can relate, then totally share your experience. Just don’t make it the first thing you say to them, as each person’s experience is unique, even if they seem similar on the surface.