People ask me what I think what makes a good listener when someone needs to talk or vent. I say ; ask questions, maintain eye contact, smile (or show what emotion is appropriate), respond in nonverbal ways. That’s all it takes to show the other person they’re important.
When you do speak, don’t offer advice unless you’re asked. Listening shows you care a lot more than offering advice, because when you offer advice in most cases you make the conversation about you, not them. No one wants to hear, “If I were you, then I would do this…”
Only speak when you have something important to say–and always define important as what matters to the other person, not to you. This is where it is okay to share a relatable story. Keep the story brief. If they want clarification or more knowledge, then let THEM ask you.
Some people just want a sounding board. Venting and getting it out is the goal and they just want your support.