There’s a fine line between venting about a problem and word vomit. I provide 3 tips to improve your social gag reflexes!
What is the difference between venting and word vomit?
Venting: allowing yourself to speak negatively about a timely, or topical, situation so as to move past the anger and find a solution. SHORT TERM.
Word Vomit: neither recent, nor naturally brought up in a conversation, word vomit occurs due to something or someone versus a situation. If I may quote a super drunk friend who vomited; I had to, it felt like breathing. LONG TERM.
When just the mention of something, or someone, sends you down a blackhole of negativity, you may be experiencing 'word-vomit'. People will stop wanting to hang out with you if all you do is drain your energy into your negative word vomit. And it’s not your fault. IT HAPPENS, but I’m hoping there's a solution to make it happen less often or turn that word vomit into venting.
We all know how the phrase ‘word vomit’ came into our vocabulary; Mean Girls. Cady became so obsessed with being negative about Regina George that she would find reasons to talk about her, and literally couldn’t stop the negativity spewing from her mouth.
Some common word vomit topics;
- ex-friends (see BFF BreakUp)
- bosses (if part of your job is frustrating you are more likely to vent, but when it’s someone you have to deal with no matter what is happening at work, it’s word vomit)
- a restaurant
So how can we ensure we vent without vomiting?
1. Is there something YOU can do to feel better?
First we have to determine if this problem will be something that can be solved. If there’s a person who just makes your mouth water with anticipation for a toilet bowl, but you can’t avoid them… you clearly have a problem, and the only way to ‘solve’ this is to remove them from your life any way possible. In other terms; the only solution is what you can do. Look for a new job or remove your ex-boyfriends and friends from any social media.
2. Be selfish, take space.
From taking a vacation from work, or avoiding a few parties that may involve ex’s, a break may seem selfish, but space is very important. I’m not saying isolate yourself, but find people who don’t know that side of your life that can enjoy a conversation that doesn't feel like a finger down your throat. Once you’ve taken the space you need, you can slowly reintroduce yourself to that circle, if it feels right.
3. Write it down.
When you find yourself continually word-vomitting, it may feel that's the only thing you ever talk to your friends about anymore. Having friends, and family, is a two-way street. You need to be there for them as much as they are for you, and if you aren’t actively taking steps to address the issue, they may be left wondering; Will they ever care about my life if they can’t take care of their own? I find the healthiest way to word-vomit is to write it down. Find some recurring issues and take those to your friends. For instance; your boss may be an asshole. With that in mind; all your friends have bosses. If you find there’s one thing your boss is repeatedly doing that really sets off your gag reflex, ask if they’ve ever encountered it, and if so, how they handled it. If not, how would they go about handling it. Allowing your friends opinions to be heard, instead of just your own vendetta, ensures the conversation is something you can both gain from.
We are often asked, in job interviews, by friends etc. how we deal with stress. Most responses are; yoga, running and sure… that might work for ‘some’ people. But a majority of us find comfort in speaking to other people about our problems. Perhaps following the 3 steps above will ensure we can fix a long-term problem and go from word-vomit to venting!