When she began to share her raw emotions, I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to say, so I defaulted to a subject with which I was comfortable: myself.
I may have been trying to empathize, at least on a conscious level, but what I really did was draw focus away from her anguish and turn the attention to me.
It made me realize how often I do the same thing, thinking I’m sharing my experience and being supportive. But now that I’ve experienced it, I realize I just need to listen. If I need to say anything, I say: “That sounds hard.”