I think we have all been there. I certainly have. You just want to vent about something and all you get back is advice. It leads you to feel that you haven’t been heard and makes you feel worse.
Maybe you have found yourself in a position of giving someone advice when they didn’t want it. It is easy to do.
Unfortunately we live in a society where we are encouraged to give advice and not listen.
So how do you change that?
How do you ensure you don’t fall for the giving advice trap?
How do you ensure you will be allowed to vent without getting unwanted advice?
- If someone is venting to you listen. If you feel you have a helpful opinion or advice to give then ask if it is okay to share it. If they say no then don’t give the advice. Just listen.
When you listen, pay attention to what they are saying. Don’t try to construct some response you think will be helpful. While you are constructing that response you are not listening.
Just listen. Let them know you are listening. Acknowledge how difficult/ frustrating/ upsetting what they are describing is/was.
- If you want to vent to someone, ask them first if they are in a position to listen. If they say no, then don’t vent to them. This ensures you don’t dump all your stress and emotions onto another person who may not be in the right space to hear you.
When you need to talk to someone it can be hard if you can’t find anyone to vent to but keep trying. There will be someone who will listen. Remember it is also hard if you are not in the space to listen if someone vents to you.
Communication is about respect. Respect the other person who is venting to you. Respect the other person who may not be in a position to hear your vent.