It is understandable to feel out of control when dealing with difficult emotions when they are at an all time high.Choosing your words wisely can be very difficult and to the person who is listening, it can sound like you’re attacking them personally.The best way when you are trying to vent, is let that other person know. “I need to vent” and throwing in a “please don’t take any of this personally if it seems like I’m attacking you.”When venting, sometimes we use general statements, like “people always” or “people never” Which can make the other person feel targeted. As the person who is being an ear for someone who is hurting, if they do not specify whether they need a solution or for you just to listen, ask. Dealing with heavy emotional situations, they usually do not need to be rationalized or solved by the other person.Just listen and be empathetic.And for the person venting, try your best not to attack your peer. It may cause an unintentional snowball, stressing the both of you out more.
The 5 W’s of Venting:
1. Wait. When you feel triggered, commit yourself to giving some time for the situation to process. In other words, allow that prefrontal cortex to make sense of it all. Angry at a driver? You can choose not to act on your initial reaction . First, a minute to just breathe and let the moment pass.
2. Why? Practice not jumping to conclusions. We are very good at labeling situations and condemning people on a moment’s notice. But what if we just couldn’t see the dog sitting in the road just in front of that car that was taking so long to turn? What if their car stalled and they just needed a few seconds to restart it?
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