Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Vent or Not To Vent — The Researchers' Question

  The article, That Jerk! Venting May Make You Feel Worse, (Link below) cites the results of recent research.

"When encountering stressful events in daily life, venting to a friend about them may not always be helpful, a new study concludes.
The results showed that when people with some traits of perfectionism faced daily setbacks, venting to a friend often made them feel less satisfied about their circumstances than before they talked about it." Later in the article, experts suggest that the results are applicable to all, even non-perfectionists.

As much as I rely on good research to help me solve problems and stay current, I do object to this research using college students as subjects, reporting results not separated by gender, and then generalizing the findings to all. Most of us know that women often vent to each other and men rarely vent to each other. In my opinion, sometimes venting might help women and sometimes it might not. It depends on how the venting (release of strong feelings) is done: boring, lengthy, detailed, brief, asking for suggestions, direct, rambling, screaming, whining, whispering.  To whom you vent is also key. It's up to us to figure out if, how, and to whom we can vent and consequently feel better rather than to follow the researcher's prescription that venting will hinder, not help.

In my opinion, venting doesn't usually help men because they don't usually do it. They are not practiced or comfortable in it. They vent to someone primarily when they're angry, rather than when they're sad, uptight, worried, afraid. Generally they don't release strong feelings other than those on the irritability scale; not even euphoric ones. So of course venting will probably make men even more stressed due to embarrassment, discomfort, role conflict, role reversal, anxiety and all the other stuff that goes along with behaving in ways outside of normal boundaries; in men's case, normal is suppressive of feelings rather than expressive.

Wish one of you smart women out there would push back on me! I could be totally off track.

Here's the link.
To Vent or Not To Vent — The Researchers' QuestionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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