Its hard for us to understand that some people need to be upset and vent and whatnot. I feel compelled to say something helpful... to come up with solutions. Its bizarre to us that talking about something for the sake of talking about something does something. Me and my wife talked about it before - my response "Why even talk about it? Isn't that just like talking to a wall?"
The cat had a dirty litter box and peed on a box of my wife's books. My response: Which ones were useful? Give me a list and I'll re-buy them for you.
My wife lost her job: Its not a big deal - that employer sucked anyways. Lets work on your resume and start applying to new places.
In every case, I have good intentions but fail to meet the F on an emotional level. Its something to work on, but its easy to forget since its not our instinctual response.