Levels of Validation
When a person confides in you, they are not usually looking for advice or problem-solving unless they specifically ask for it. Rather, they are looking for validation. If you are not used to validating, here are some suggestions. There is no greater way to set a person at ease.
Overall show interest in the other person (through verbal, nonverbal cues), show that you are paying attention (nodding, eye contact, etc.)
Use accurate reflection - "So you're frustrated because you son hasn't picked up his room."
Try to "read" 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 that the person's behavior is reasonable, meaningful, effective.
Treat the person as valid - not patronizing or condescending.
All of these levels of validation are very important skills for building and maintaining relationships with others.