There are a handful of things that can make me go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye. Some of those things include a printer malfunctioning, internet connectivity problems, and a phone that’s gone out for no apparent reason (yes, many of them involve technology).
Yesterday was one of those days for me. Not only was it colder than my refrigerator outside, but I had lots of things to do- many of which involved the use of said technology (which was not working).
I found a working phone so I could call a friend. And boy was I relieved when she answered! Her first question was, “What’s wrong?” And I told her!
Because she’s such a good friend, with a lot of experience, she was able to give me inside scoop on why my technology issues couldn’t be resolved for two whole days. I finally said, “I don’t need you to fix it! I just need you to listen to me!”
As women, when we experience something great- or something awful- the first thing we need to do is to talk about it. As we talk and share the experience, we process what has happened to us. In particular, when we are experiencing a challenge, talking it through has significant importance. Through talking, we calm down, learn to accept what’s going on, decide what our reaction is going to be (at least to the outside world), and what our next steps are.
Quite often when we are doing this, we really just need the listener to be a living, breathing, human being. If they can give appropriate reactions- like gasping air, shaking their heads, extending an arm of comfort- it’s just a cherry on top! Those responses to us make us feel validated in our initial reaction. They let us know that we’re not losing our minds. By talking to others, it’s a form of self-soothing.
Offering Suggestions Is a No-No
But something happens when those whom we are sharing with start to share their suggestions. Often, we step back and feel offended. We reject their suggestions. It adds to our fury. It makes us feel like we’re not smart enough to come to a conclusion on our own. It can start to make us feel dumb for even getting so worked up in the first place!
While all of those things may in fact be true at one point or another, when we’re upset, we need to come to that conclusion on our own.
Having someone else point that out in our moment of fury just adds to the fire. (Not to mention it puts that person in danger of our wrath, too!)
Men, in particular, are problem solvers. When we vent to men, they want to fix it.
For one, many of them just want peace and quiet.
But they are naturally wired to feel helpful when they are able to make problems go away.
By this point, you know what’s coming next. They give their suggestions, and things can explode!
5 Tips for Effective Venting
Next time you’re in need of venting, and you need a listening ear, here are some steps to try:
- Go to someone whom you know to be a good listener. This most likely means not sharing your frustrations with a male. Choose your listener wisely.
- Preface your venting with, “I’ve had a really bad day and I just need someone to talk to.” This lets them know not to take anything you say personally. It also lets them know they’re off the hook from having to supply any solutions.
- Tell them what you need from them. “I could really use a hug right now.” Or, “If you could give me 5 minutes to talk this out, that would be great.”
- When you’re done, thank them for their kind service.
- Offer them a chance to share their day, or to come back at a later time when they are having a bad day to return the favor.