Friday, April 24, 2009

To vent or not to vent

I've been thinking about the people I surround myself with a lot lately, especially since Costa Rica. I don't need people in my life that make me feel bad. I refuse to have that in my life. But, what am I doing to help this (besides not talking to the crappy people). I stumbled on a post linked by the lovely MizFit. It really hit home.

My MIL has a group of women she gets together with. (you'll see the link in a minute) They asked one of them to leave because she was seperating from her hubby and she was venting (ok, probably trashing him) and they didn't want the negativity around them. They said the negatively was infectious and they didn't want it to influence their relationships with their husbands. I thought this was so harsh when I first heard about it. What else are girlfriends there for, but to hear you when you're down. To be there for you and listen to your problems.

But, as I've gotten older I've noticed a pattern about venting. It does spread. And, it turns everything negative (at least for me) for a while. While venting can be good, it's taking it to an extreme. And, at least for me, it doesn't make me feel better. You know wat does? Writing in my journal,and then getting over with it!

How many times in your life have you heard about what a jerk someone's ex-girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife was? What about when they ask you (or insist) for your opinion? You give it. Then they're back together with the person. It almost always creates a divide. I've had this happen a couple of times with really, really good friends. Never again.

What's been happening lately with one of my best friends is that we talk about our men. They have similar issues, so it was funny to laugh about it all when we met. Then, the laughing turned to venting. The thing is, every time she "vents", I feel the need to chime in and relate to her situation. It really creates negativity all around and it's harder to be happy with him afterwards, when I was just perfectly happy with him before the conversation. I'm sure the same thing happens with her when I vent too.

So, in addition to cutting back on sweets after dinner, I am also resolving to make my life more positive in other ways. Try to be happier, more pleasant, etc. Making a list of things I'm grateful for or having my inspiration board with things that remind me to be positive and make me happy. Most importantly, to stop myself when I feel the need to agree (when someone else vents about their people) or when I feel myself starting to vent. Finally, journal when things are down so that I can recharge. Funny how when I vent on paper I alwas turn myself around, but don't when I'm with others.


Seth Simonds said...

I think there's a balance to be found between removing ourselves from negative situations and taking the time to steer specific situations back toward positive light.

The next time your friend starts to go off about her guy, try steering the conversation away from him and back into things you find interesting about your friend or whatever it is you're doing at the time. It's lovely to have a friend who listens. It's miraculous to find a friend who helps us put things in a better light.

And about those late-night sweets...check out my "5 questions" post on getting inside hunger. It made a huge difference in how I go about eating today. Real life solutions allow for frozen Cadbury eggs at 1am with a glass of milk...because sometimes nothing else fits the bill. =)

Best to you!

Natalia said...

This is a great post! And so true. Negativity breads fast! If you're not careful, before you know it, all you're doing is venting!

The Happy Runner said...

Yup, you are completely right. Negativity breeds negativity. Seth's suggestion is a good one, about trying to steer the conversation to a more positive angle. It might work, it might not.

I have a friend who I rarely see now b/c all she would ever talk about is how much her boss sucks and how bratty/annoying/terrible her kids are. I didn't want that to start informing how I feel about my son, so I started to cut her off. I stopped getting her facebook updates (b/c they were all negative, too) and that really helped. Now, I can be friends with her on a certain level but I'm not all stressed out about it.

You are wise to be thinking about this! GOOD LUCK!!!

Anonymous said...

You know, when we can't find it in ourselves to be direct with our partners, we resort to the negative venting. My 13 year old son called me on it, said, "you and dad are always complaining about each other to me. I hate it. Stop it!" Now that was a wake-up call! Now I'm trying really hard to be direct with hubby when he pisses me off (no, I don't swear at him, or throw tantrums--but man, is it a challenge to say what I mean & be willing to hear him out, too).