You'll want to make sure you are validating and acknowledging their feelings. Watson cites a talk Brené Brown gave on empathy where she says the least empathetic way to start a conversation is with the phrase, "At least." "I think when we're all chatting about how our year has been, particularly in 2020, it can be tempting to say, 'Well, at least you have your health' or 'at least so and so is doing well' or at least, at least, at least," Watson says. "And that can be completely invalidating for the person who really just wants support for what actually is going on."
Instead, use gentle, compassionate, and soft language like "Is there anything you need?" or "In a perfect world, what can I do to support?" or "Can we find a place to be in the middle?" Vasan adds that open-ended questions can help the person open up as well.