Sometimes I get frustrated when I'm upset because I just want Brian to listen to what I'm saying and agree with me that whatever it is just sucks. Instead, he listens and then starts coming up with solutions. I thought it was just in his nature to fix things, and didn't necessarily understand his impulse.
But yesterday I got a phone call from a friend. She was angry and upset, to the point that she was unable to sleep and could only lie in the dark fretting. I listened to her talk, and wracked my brain for any relevant advice, some sort of solution to her problem. I came up with very little of any use, and finally I just said, with complete honesty, "That's awful. I don't blame you for being bothered by that. I'd be furious."
There was a pause on the other end of the phone and a deep breath from all those thousands of miles away. Then: "Thank you." I didn't laugh out loud, but I was amused at how just hearing someone say that it was okay to be upset about this problem could help my friend calm down that quickly, as well as my own "fix it" mentality.