I have a severe problem with comforting platitudes.
I’m just not good at them. When I’m presented with a personal problem that someone is experiencing, I think big picture – what’s causing the problem? What are both sides? What are the various people involved thinking, to lead them to behave in such a manner? What are ostacles that need to be faced/fixed in the person having the problem? and so on. I’m proud of this – I like being able to tackle issues from this perspective, and it is a significant portion of who I am.
But I suck at basic comfort. If someone calls me with the need to blow off steam and maybe get a little bit of advice… I delve too deeply and I think I end up either depressing the friend even further or sounding like an arrogant twit.
I did this to someone the other night, only to hang up and realize “wow. there is no way that I left her feeling any better about the situation. I don’t think making her cry was what she wanted.” I called back and tried to express that my intent had been to motivate and encourage, and to see the dangers of certain paths being taken. The goal had been “You can do this! You can avoid that! Life is good!”, and it came off as “Man… this is deep and screwy and you need to address this problem!”
I need to work on the very basic, listening and “oh. aw.” sort of comfort.