When a person confides in you, they are not usually looking for advice or problem-solving unless they specifically ask for it. They are usually looking for validation. Validating a persons feelings can put them at ease. There are 6 levels of validation.
Show interest in the other person through verbal and nonverbal cues and that you are paying attention.
Use accurate reflection by summarizing what the person is sharing. Take a nonjudgmental stance toward the person, be matter-of-fact, have an "of course" attitude. You don't have to actually agree with the person about their perceptions.
Try to understand a person's behavior, imagine what they could be feeling, thinking or wishing for. It feels good when someone takes the time to think about our life experiences. Remember to check for accuracy. It is best to not make assumptions.
Validate the person's behavior in terms of causes like past events present events even when it may be triggered based on dysfunctional association.
Communicate the person's behavior is reasonable, meaningful, effective. Normalize their feelings.
Treat the person as valid - not patronizing or condescending. Recognize the persons strengths and limitations. Give the person respect. Be genuine with the person about your reactions to them and about yourself. Believe in the other person while seeing their struggles and pain.