For me, when someone seems to be saying things just to make me feel better, I basically stop listening (possible rationale on why that happens available above). I don't want to feel better. I want to BE better.
Instead of sympathy, offer advice that will help me actually move on/improve.
* Offer advice with reasoning of why said advice is useful
If you went back and read that first bullet point without the explanation, would you understand it as well? Why?
Laughing is good for you when you feel bad.
Teasing is not only acceptable, but highly effective at getting me to see the situation from another perspective.
* Point out flaws in reasoning, blind spots, and confirmation bias
I'm not offended if someone tears apart my reasoning
While difficult to prove, I think feeling bad is often associated with:
- missing points completely (aka blind spots): point out what I don't see so I can plan for it better
- confirmation bias, which is really just an extension of blind spots.