I do my very best to focus on the positive (read past blogs for context) and there are times when even the best spin doctor has to say, you know what, I just need to whine right now.
I have dubbed this- The Shiny Report and the Whiny Report.
I think that boundaries are crucial when talking to a friend to gain context on their situation or problem or what the goal is in the interaction.
As I said to friend a few weeks ago, “I am just venting and venting” and she said, “I know, but I don’t want to leave you here” and then we started to figure out solutions.
A good point because while whining, moaning, and venting absolutely have their place, it’s not a real productive place to be. Or as my Mom puts it, “You can absolutely have a pity party, just don’t stay there.”
These are some questions I ask-
“Is this a poor baby?” (You want sympathy and to be told what a jerk that person is and how right you are and how wrong they are or something similar)
Is this a vent session? (You want to just yell and moan and whine and curse the fates that have led you here?)
Do you want my advice? (Self-explanatory, but usually this is where people start and the other person doesn’t feel heard and is worse off than they were before.
The truth is, most of the time, all three are desired, it’s just knowing the answers.
I have heard “I want your advice but let me vent a little first?”
This is not to say that if someone is crying and upset that you interrupt them with this barrage of questions. First, be there, then try to build the boundary of how you can best serve the situation.
This is my approach, it doesn’t have to be yours. I offer this advice because first, it’s our job to take excellent care of ourselves so we can truly BE THERE for other people.
Don’t mix up that order or disaster will result.
Think About It.