When you complain, you implicitly give your audience the permission to be involved in your personal affairs. That may not be your actual intention, but it’s a very likely outcome of publicly sharing intimate details about your private life.
When you reveal your problems, concerns, and vulnerabilities to people, they will likely feel comfortable or justified in checking up on you and offering their opinions about the issues you discussed. This can be a very good thing if that’s what you need. It can be a real nuisance if you never intended for those people to play the role of adviser in your life.
Talking out loud to anyone who will listen during a time of distress is a very easy thing to do, but it’s extremely costly when you don’t choose your audience discreetly.
With the platform granted to us by social media, it is easier than ever for people to openly announce how much they hate some aspect of their lives without thinking about the long-term ramifications of hastily broadcasting their problems.
Here’s today’s two cents:
Think critically before you vent.
Don’t suppress your emotions, but don’t be indiscriminate in how you express them either. Letting it out can be just as unhealthy and self-destructive as holding it in if you’re not discerning of your audience.
Make sure the person you’re complaining to or confiding in meets nothing less than the following criteria:
1) It’s someone you trust.
2) Their attention and feedback helps more than it hurts.
3) You feel confident they won’t hold the problem against you at a later time.
4) You feel comfortable with them following up on the issues you introduced to them.
Venting can be a healthy practice when it’s done wisely. It can create more problems than it solves, however, when we fail to distinguish constructive conversation from blurting out our innermost thoughts and feelings to the first person who asks “what’s wrong?”
At least that’s the way I see it.