“Venting”…good/bad/healthy?

 Em (@emily)10 years, 1 month ago

I’ve been pondering this lately… I figure it’s good to have a "release" or a friend to "vent to," but I can’t stop thinking that venting is another way of "bitching" or "complaining" or just "spouting negativity."
"I have this friend…" haha… I love her to death, I’ve known her forever, but I’m noticing, she does nothing but complain & I don’t want to be her emotional toilet anymore. She’s been through a LOT. She’s a recovering drug addict (sober like 7 years I think), has crazy health issues (degenerative disc disease, fibromyalsia, constant ear infections). She’s only 30…and I can’t help but conclude that all her negativity may have something to do with all her health issues.
Anyways… it’s kind of getting to that breaking point. I have to say something to her. She complains so much.. she’s to the point where she bitches constantly about other people at her work..that bitch too much!! I don’t know how this will come out right though. I don’t want it to sound like I’m not there for her. I am…but I’d rather focus on the positive.
Any thoughts… on "venting" in general, or how I should go about telling her she "vents" too much? (she’s not a HEthen…I know she’s gonna be defensive/take it personally)

August 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm
Heather (0) (@mrsgalouzis) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

Oh Em…that is a tough one. Sometimes its good to vent/bitch, but I suppose when all you do is vent then thats where the imbalance is. Everyone needs to get things off their chest and everyone needs a friend to do that too. But if you are feeling like her emotional toilet that is not ok.
Tell her that you love her and want whats best for her, tell her that she needs to look on the bright side of things. And when she becomes too much, tell her that right now you need to stay positive for your own emotional well being, and then tell her that you would love to “brainstorm” some ideas about this later. (You know after she has calmed down, but don’t say that lol) The thing is to be honest with her when you are together and not bitching about something, she may receive the constructive criticism better than when she is in full melt down due to some new issue.
Hope this helped! <3

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Josh Thies (3) (@thiesjosh) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

I’m generally the porcelain receptacle of all of my friends life-shit as well. Sometimes its just fine, I have a few friends who will vent and then feel much better and not bitch for a good while. I also have ones who only talk to me *to* vent (they aren’t really…friends as much as people I give advice to when they ask). Either way you look at it, venting is just an attempt at justifying a bitch-fest. Weither you care or not is totally your call. This friend sounds a lot like a friend of mine who I had a major problem with life crashing around her. She also has been through a lot (they’d probably have many stories to share, or many ones-to-up if that makes sense), but it got to the point where I was feeling used as her friend. She wouldn’t stop. When a person gets to that point, generally life really does suck in their minds – but at the root there are a few (or many) things that they are insecure about or unhappy with, and the only way to feel better about it is if they can prove to themselves that other people suck more than they do. Bitching (I have found) is the way to re-enforce that train of thought. I promise – and it sounds cruel – but the most effective way to snap someone out of this is to sit them down (somewhere neutral, not some place you two usually hang out) and just lay it out for em.

“Name”, with the amount that you complain about life and the people around you – I just have major trouble believing you. Not to say that you are untrustworthy, but I just cannot fathom that your life sucks as much as you say it does. I realize that you’ve gone through a lot and probably have a lot more to go through and I will be with you as your friend for that, but the way I feel that your treating me right now – all you do is complain. That hurts a friendship. You’ve just got to see the bright side of some things otherwise its going to be very difficult to continue talking to you.

Something around this idea works wonders.

If you do decide to lay it all out, in the end: don’t apologize – because you’ve stated your true feelings and thats nothing to be sorry for. She will of course take anything you tell her personally, because thats what people do. She may even stop talking to you (which on some level will be a nice break). However, if she’s your friend – she’ll try. Any relationship requires two-way communication and work, I’m sure you know that – just remind her :)

Best of luck!

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Edwin (0) (@echo) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

These things are hard. I have a friend who had a sort of whining problem, she would whine so much about stuff sucking that many people constantly confronted her about it and that seemed to only make it worse for while. She’s been consciously working on herself and doesn’t do it anymore, but it sounds like she and your friend have the same problem, but my friend to a lesser degree.

After being with this friend for a while I started to not want to embody the things she presented myself, I mean I hoped I didn’t whine too and so I completely stopped talking about things that were negative, and nothing ever built up. There’s no place I put my frustrations because all I have to do now is let them go. Dwelling on these things never helped anyone.

I guess in this situation it all depends on how you present the idea that thinking and spouting negative things only returns negative things to you. I agree with the above posts and would suggest that you make it clear to her that you just fucking love her so much you don’t want to see her unhappy any longer, and that something has to change.

Good luck!

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Ellie (1,363)M (@tangledupinplaid21) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

I can relate! I made a new friend back in winter, she was really cool, we hung out for a few months, but I started noticing that more than half of the things that came out of her mouth were negative.

I figured maybe she was going through a hard time and didn’t fault her for it (I hadn’t known her that long) and started trying to give her suggestions on how to fix whatever was ailing her that week. In response to each suggestion I made, she had a negative response ready, a reason why it wouldn’t work. I seriously doubt she even gave the things I said more than 2 seconds thought.
I started seeing this pattern and realizing that she wasn’t looking for advice but just someone to complain to. I accept that everyone goes through rough times and needs an understanding ear but when someone literally turns down every piece of advice I try to give to help them out I realize that the favor I do them by listening isn’t being returned. I might as well be a brick wall! Like I said she was a new friend, and we pretty much stopped talking. I’ve recently decided that I’m going to be more selective about who I surround myself with and though it sounds kinda harsh, I didn’t need that negativity in my life. I understand this can be a lot more difficult with a friend you’ve had longer.

Maybe try making some suggestions to your friend and if she does what my friend did, to which you could reply something along the lines of “Well, I can listen to your problems, but is that all you want or do you want to try fixing them?” Maybe in a less harsh way, tailored to a tone her personality would be willing to accept and give some thought.

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PDC (31) (@chemicalspike) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

In psychological circles it is usually said that venting is a negative thing and leads to more anger creation, this is why anger management classes don’t encourage vast releases of anger.

Buddhism teaches the same I might add.

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Bryan Hellard (307)M (@xyver) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

You could tell her:

“Ok, heres the deal. I would like to stay friends with you, because you are a pretty cool dudette, but sometimes I feel like you only tell me negative things about your life. How about we try to talk about more positive things? Once a (week/day/month) we can talk about everything that is going wrong, and how the world is a terrible place, but lets try to mostly focus on the positive!”

If she says “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you felt that way, I’ll try to watch what I say more” then you’re golden.

If she says “Why won’t you ever listen to me? Can’t you just be a shoulder for me to cry on?!!” then Huston, we may have a problem.

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Em (473) (@emily) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

Thanks so much for all the feedback guys :) Yeah I’m more leaning with the idea that bitching doesn’t help anything….it just fuels more & more negativity. I appreciate all of your responses & thanks again <3 If it doesn't go so smoothly maybe I'll ask for further advice :)

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PDC (31) (@chemicalspike) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

I’ve posted this one before. If the Americans in the room can get over a high pitched cockney with a twinge of Ozzie and the fact that it is an hour long then its a good talk. Covers some psychology too.

Particularly some of the stories starting at 7.00 and how environments affect our emotions, emotion generation and how we can effect people.

Story starting at 9.40 is one of the ones that sticks with me forever.

Anger at about 15.20

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Em (473) (@emily) 10 years, 1 month ago ago

THank you Peter ;)

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