This phrase may save your relationship: “How can I help?”
Use that the next time your partner is upset – or they’re about to have a meltdown – instead of trying to offer solutions to “fix” the situation.

Marital therapist Dr. Jane Greer says the phrase “how can I help?” works because it conveys three important things:

You’re tuned in to your partner…

You’re considering their feelings and needs… and you want to help out in a supportive, concrete way.

Dr. Greer says, using the phrase gives partners an exact roadmap of what to do next. Even if they respond, “I just want you to listen,” you now know exactly how to help. Another benefit to saying “How can I help” – it keeps you from saying something that can make the situation worse. Because, a lot of times, the last thing someone wants is advice.

So whip out that phrase the next time your partner is upset. And Dr. Greer says it also works on upset, angry, and stressed out teenagers, bosses and coworkers.