Sure, keeping some things to ourselves is a good idea but overall we can’t just keep everything bottled inside. We have to have someone in our lives that we can trust with our true feelings.
Venting or ranting for those who are unaware is simply sharing your complaints or thoughts on something or someone with a person you trust to not run off and share them with the rest of the world. Being able to get things off of your chest can be a serious relief in more ways than most can imagine. The longer we keep things locked inside the more unsettled we become.
According to many different prominent people in the psychology world venting out our frustrations helps us relieve stress as well as tension. Once we’ve got something off of our back we feel lighter and more free in our everyday lives. A study from back in 2009 actually showed that disclosing our stressors, in general, is a very common means of coping with it in the first place.
One of the main reasons why we vent is to reduce our stress levels. Rime (2009) states that disclosing stress is a coping mechanism. Venting is a 2-way process: the person venting and the person hearing the vent. As a matter of fact, positive venting can reduce stress, but negative venting can lead to heightened stress and physical health concerns. It is not just about the person venting, but equally important, the person who is hearing the vent. Research has shown that the difference between positive and negative venting can be focused on the ways in which the person hearing the vent responds, both through speech and action (Bodie et al., 2015; Goldsmith, 2004). This research supports numerous counseling theories and models that focus on active listening, empathy, and safety.
When people vent, they may not need a verbal response. They want someone to listen. For a moment, stop and think about the last time you actually felt heard. How did you know that you were heard? What did the person listening do to convey that s/he heard you? Now take a minute and think about a time when you did not feel heard. What made you believe that the listener was not hearing you?
As long as we are careful in choosing who we confide in, we are able to gain some pretty amazing benefits from venting or ranting in general. We are able to feel better and reduce that loneliness that we were faced with beforehand. This allows us to get a shoulder to lean on as well as some advice where it is needed.
How do you feel about venting and do you think having a venting buddy would benefit you? Personally, I believe having one has benefitted me in a lot of different ways and will continue to do so as the years pass. While I share different things with different people I know that my thoughts are safe where they are shared and that I will be able to gain an outside perspective regardless.