There are a couple of important coversatoinal patterns. I’m sure some linguist somewhere has already charted this water before, but I want to write about it, too.
Troubles talk. Important to decide if you want to sympathize (“Aww, thats awful!”), depersonalize/minimize (“It could happen to anyone, it’s no problem, you can handle it”) The former is safer with women, the later safer with men. There is also, “Gee, that happened to me, too”, which I’m not sure if there is a gender difference in how people react.
Attachment talk. This is injecting seemingly unrelated information about current relationships into the conversation to singnal which relationship gaps exist. “The weather? Oh, my boyfriend thinks it’s going to rain.” I see women do this a lot.
Safety talk. These are signals that it’s okay to talk and your head won’t be ripped off. This would be icebreakers, but I can’t think of a good example.