How to Determine the Difference Between Complaining vs Venting

Do you know the difference between venting and complaining? Complaining can negatively impact relationships. Venting however, can be healthy for your relationships. In this blog, I will break down the key differences and show you how to do more venting and less complaining.

It’s a fine line between venting and complaining. On the receiving end, they can look similar because venting and complaining share some of the same emotions, frustration, anger and even sadness. Being a chronic complainer can literally ruin your relationships and even prevent you from making meaningful relationships in the future. Venting is much healthier for relationships because it allows you to return back to your wonderful self. After complaining you’re still upset, but after venting you feel a sense of peace that allows you to move own and continue being awesome! Venting is a path towards healing while complaining is a path towards conflict.

So How Do We Tell the Difference?

Open Mindedness

When you’re sharing your emotions, one way to determine if you are complaining or venting is if you are open minded. Complainers only see it from their point of view. They are not open to other possibilities or ideas. That’s why they often complain about the same thing over and over. They believe they are 100% right and whoever else is involved is 100% wrong. When you are truly venting, you are not looking for answers. You’re simply sharing your feelings and that’s it. You’re not trying to convince the listener that you are right and everyone else is wrong. In fact, it is not uncommon to admit your mistake or your shortcomings while venting.

Frequency

Complainers love to complain! There’s always something for them to complain about. They complain about this and that. And that and this. It’s one issue after another. Venting is less frequent. Venting usually follows after an internal struggle over an issue. You’re searching for meaning and a resolution. When you are venting it’s because you either need to verbally share your thoughts so that you can discover a solution and/or you need to share your feelings to lighten your burden. Issues that require this much mental energy do not happen often in our lives. So if you find yourself “venting” everyday then maybe you are not venting at all; you are complaining.

Participation

This is the easy way to determine if you are complaining or venting. Complaining wants “yes” men and woman.  Complainers want you to participate in the complaining.  They want you to support their views. They want you to agree with their assessments. When you are venting you actually don’t want much participation. You want a listener whom you can fully share your thoughts and feeling without any interruption. The job of the listener is to validate your emotions and that’s it.

The first step to correcting your complaining problem is awareness. Complaining always leads to more complaining and frustration. It is very difficult to recognize a solution as your complaining. The key is to be aware of when you are complaining so that you can move towards venting. Venting will help you release your emotions and share your thoughts. This will lead to a solution whether it requires you to take action or simply accept that which you can not change.

The more you become aware of the difference between venting and complaining, the more you will recognize just how much is going right in your life. 

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