My therapist suggested replacing “is there anything I can do” with “what do you need” when comforting someone as the first kind of assumes you as part of the equation in helping someone which isn’t always helpful. It also kind of pressures the person suffering to kind of come up with something FOR you to do. Like I get so frustrated with that first question as a person who gets it a lot.
The second not only takes the pressure off but also might help the person really consider what their actual needs are like hey I haven’t eaten, maybe that’s a reason I feel crappy. It kinda takes the asker out of the immediate picture so the person struggling can focus on what they actually need, and then if you CAN help, you can offer it.
We’ll see if this works better!