Difference btw returning models + being "rude"

After self coaching myself for a few months now, it’s painful for me to see my boyfriend come home at the end of the day sulking because he “had a bad day because of tech problems and the bad weather” aka all neutral circumstances he makes mean negative things.

I unconsciously attempt to give him some perspective and try to talk him out of his “bad mood”, but all it does is make him resistant to wanting to talk to me at the end of a bad day.

I want to be able to empathize with him, but when I try that approach, I just feel like I’m not even listening to him, just letting him talk “at” me, and all I say is yeah, that sucks, I’m sorry you had a bad day. Then I feel like I didn’t do anything to help, which isn’t necessarily what he needed anyway.

On the flip side, I don’t want to empathize “too much” and feed into his negativity and make it worse/feel like if I can’t “get him out of this bad mood or at the very least listen to him, then i’m a bad girlfriend” (I’m aware this is a thought, I’m working on it.)

So then I want to “give him his model back” and move on with my nice evening, but then I feel like a jerk because I didn’t try to “help”. I want to return his model to him without him thinking I’m being rude (I’m intellectually aware that I can’t make him think any certain way about me, but this is just where I’m at).

Can someone provide some perspective for me? I think I’m too close to this situation. Thanks in advance!