The other day when Matt and I came home from spending time with family, he was feeling down, “I’m sad we’re home” turned into “I don’t like it here” turned into “My allergies are acting up” turned into “I don’t feel good.” Now, Matt is not much of a complainer and venting is NOT part of his vocabulary. In fact, usually when I try my hand at venting to him, I get a slew of solutions meant to magically and quickly solve my problems. SO, I took this rare opportunity to coach him in the art of venting. Most of us women, have it down…but our male counterparts need a little help I think.
How to Vent
1. When you’ve internalized your feelings for what seems like an adequate amount of time (this could be anywhere from 5 min-5 days) express your feelings to your wife or girlfriend.
2. Say it once using one wording. Doesn’t that feel good? Now try it again using different words. Ahh. Feeling better already. Maybe try one other way, but that should definitely be enough. No more.
3. Your wife will probably nod and say “I’m sorry,” sympathetically. If she’s in a really good mood, she may say “wah wah wah,” but then apologize because that was sort of rude.
4. Sympathy may not make you feel better, so if not, ask for solutions to help you feel better.
5. If you still don’t feel better call one of your buddies and vent to him. (This is not advised and only should be used in extreme circumstance as your buddy may think you are a sissy).
6. Get over whatever you were venting about. Venting can quickly turn into complaining and that is BAD news.
How NOT to vent
1. Do NOT tell everyone and their dog your issues and feelings (your own dog, however, would be a good listener). You know those people who are real Debbie Downers? Don’t be like that. No one likes a Debbie D. When someone you barely know asks, “how’s it going?’ and it’s not going well, um…just say “good” or “well” if you want to be grammatically correct.
2. Do NOT vent on Facebook or Twitter. This makes Facebook and Twitter a cesspool of negativity. Ugh. Once again, no one likes a Debbie Downer. People have figured out how to block status updates and they will block yours. How sad. Be cheery on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Try not to wear out the same “vent” topics on your spouse, this will grow old. Women are guilty of this A LOT and we are sorry. We are.
How to listen to venting
1. Nod sympathetically and say “I’m sorry.”
2. Do not give solutions unless they are asked for. Men-this is tricky, we know you like to solve problems, resist the urge to do so, really. Trust me. If you want solutions from us, ask and we’ll work on it.
3. Hug and assure the venter that you love them. If you know how they feel, empathize. This can also be tricky. Don’t one up them with a situation that’s way worse than theirs (Unless you happen to be the venter’s mom or dad and they are a kid-then sometimes one upping is necessary. I definitely plan on telling my kids that I walked to school in snow up to my knees uphill both ways when they complain about eating their vegetables).
4. Suggest that you eat some ice cream (or frozen yogurt) to feel better. Or play a video game (I don’t like this option, personally, but I bet Matt would).
There you go. Easy as pie. In a nut shell:express your emotions and feelings to those you love but don’t dwell on the negative. It’ll only get you down. 🙂