So you’ve had a really terrible day. It could be because of the painstakingly difficult work drama you got embroiled in, or perhaps due to a heated exchange with a parent or significant other.
Whatever it is that has left you feeling emotionally spent, confiding in a friend and venting your frustrations can often provide some comfort and relief.
But it’s important to remember that your friends are not therapists, and shouldering them with intense personal issues can be taxing on their mental health.
Before you open up about a traumatic event or difficult breakup, consider whether the recipient is open, willing and able to handle the information you’re about to disclose.
Venting can be helpful to alleviate stress, but it should also come with a sense of awareness and consideration for the other person’s emotions.
To ensure that you’re venting in an appropriate way, here are some tips: Talk openly about what makes you feel comfortable—sometimes just getting things off your chest can help lighten the mood.
Let your friend know if you’re looking for feedback, or just need an ear to listen. Be mindful of your words and tone—no one likes feeling like they’re being lectured.
And finally, offer some kind of reciprocity; make sure your pal feels heard too.
Friendship can be a beautiful thing, but it’s important to remember that the relationship should be a two-way street.
While venting can be cathartic, ensure that it doesn’t become burdensome on your friends and maintain an appropriate balance of give and take.
Remember: Friends are not therapists and we should all try our best to respect that.
Before You Vent, Give Your Friend A Heads-Up.
Asking your best friend for permission to vent may feel uncomfortable and unnatural, but it can also be seen as a sign of respect and appreciation for their time.
Before calling or texting your friend, try sending a simple message that expresses your need to talk.
This can help them feel more prepared for whatever may come up in conversation.
Additionally, if your friend feels comfortable, they can even suggest a time and place for you to talk that works for them.
Showing respect for their boundaries helps establish trust and creates an environment where both of you feel safe.
Even when it may be difficult to ask, making the effort will go a long way in strengthening your relationship!
Consider Scheduling An Appropriate Time To Talk About It.
When it comes to discussing emotionally challenging topics, it’s important to understand the best timing and approach.
Unloading your feelings in the moment may seem therapeutic, but a spontaneous Facetime call late on a Tuesday night is not always the most suitable time for this.
According to Bsales, scheduling a specific day and time to talk about difficult issues can help ensure that it is given the attention and care it deserves.
Of course, in cases of emergency or immediate crisis, you should always call your bestie without hesitation.
However, if it’s something that can wait a bit longer, it may be worth considering their current mental state and emotional capacity before bringing up the topic so they can prepare to address it.
This way, you can be sure that your friend is able to provide the support and advice you need.
Ultimately, it’s important to know when it’s best to talk about tough subjects—and when a few extra minutes of prep could go a long way.
Treat It As A Conversation & Not Just Your Personal Vent Session.
Even if you’re feeling the need to share your frustrations with a friend, it is important to remember that true friendships should go both ways.
Instead of simply relying on your friend as a sounding board for your own problems, try expressing some interest in what they have going on in their life too.
Ask them how their day has been or if they need a sympathetic ear as well – this will help to ensure that both of you are being heard and supported.
Additionally, when discussing heavier topics like grief or abuse, always check in with your friend to make sure the conversation isn’t triggering them in any way.
If they need a break from the conversation, offer it, or suggest changing the subject – it is key to remember that friendship is a two-way street.
Allowing your friend to express themselves freely while also knowing you are there for them, just as they are there for you, will help foster a supportive and mutually beneficial relationship.
No one should feel like they are carrying the burden alone.
We all need a friend to lean on from time to time, so make sure that your relationships maintain an equal balance of support.
After all, that’s what friends are for!
Think Of Other Ways To Relieve Stress.
When stressful times arrive, seeking comfort and solace from a friend is a natural instinct.
But to avoid overwhelming them, over-tiring them, or making them feel helpless, it is important to learn how to cope with negative emotions on one’s own.
A great way to achieve this is by engaging in activities that can help lift one’s mood, such as going on a nature walk or run, writing down what one is feeling in a journal or voice note, or maybe taking a quick nap.
Finding something to help calm oneself during difficult times will not only benefit the individual but also protect their relationships with friends by avoiding dumping difficult emotions on them.
Understand When It’s Time To Involve A Professional.
When facing difficult and deeply-rooted emotional issues like trauma and uncontrollable anger, seeking professional help from a qualified therapist is the best course of action.
A mental health expert has the skills to help an individual work through complicated thoughts and feelings, while teaching them how to utilize healthy coping mechanisms.
To determine whether seeing a therapist is the right course of action, look for signs that it’s time to seek help.
Additionally, consider how much the issue is affecting your daily life and if it’s something temporary or recurring.
Friends are a great support system but when mental health deteriorates, professional care may be necessary for deeper healing and feeling supported, seen, and heard.
At the end of the day, it’s important to trust your gut and be honest with yourself about what you need.
If that means taking a break from a friend or finding an outside source for help, then take the steps needed to provide yourself with the best care possible.
Cecilia Rose is WiseLivn’s Lifestyle Writer based in New York, covering topics ranging from beauty to mental health to relationships. She previously was a Wellness Reporter at USA TODAY and received her BA in psychology and journalism at Georgetown University.