Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The itty bitty pity comittee

I love to observe people, primarily myself. I have no out-of-body capabilities, (although I wish I did because I've always wondered what I look like from behind while walking) but I do have the ability to see myself outside the box sometimes. I have my I'm-a-warrior-and-I-can-handle-anything days, my mess-with-me-and-I'll-whoop-yo-ass days, my FML days, my IDGAF days, my I'm-giggling-like-I'm-drunk-but-I'm-not days, and my I'm-too-blessed-for-stress days. In dealing with all the every-day emotional tornadoes, people need to connect with other humans (or animals or plants or imaginary friends) to unclog their mental plumbing.

Venting vs. Complaining: To me, one is more about pity, and the other is about offloading. I think there's a huge difference. In all the madness I've been going through lately, I've done my share of both! The reaction you get from people when you do either one tells you a little about how your blabber is perceived.

These are some of my favorite responses from people who have listened to my bitchin' over the years.

"At least you don't have cancer, and you're not homeless."
"Wow, that sucks."
"Just break some shit, and you'll feel better."
"Think about all the people in the world who don't have food or shelter. They have way more reason to be down than you, so cheer up."
"Damn, you need a date. Find you a man. That'll ease some stress."
"I don't know what to tell you."
"When it rains it pours, so hang in there."
"Just pray."
"You seriously need sex. How long have you been single again?"

For your information, thinking about people less fortunate does NOT make me feel better. In fact, it makes me feel worse because now I have to feel shitty about my own problems PLUS theirs, so thanks!

Breaking shit will cost money, hence making me an agent of self-destruction.

And sex doesn't solve problems, OK, unless your problem is being horny and/or needing to get rid of a headache and have shinier hair (yes, that's a scientific fact.) And I'm not single anymore, so ha!

I think venting is a form of stress relief. You don't want any advice or comments, and you're not really looking for sympathy. It's like you're the dump truck and the listener is the landfill. You just want them to nod and say "mmHmm" in between your pauses. Complaining is different because with this you're trying to initiate a pity party and get people to jump on your moving sympathy train.

Here are some random responses I got when I asked several different people what they think is the difference between venting and complaining. And yes, those are their real names.

"Venting is expressing your feelings, and complaining is doing the same but you want empathy from someone." - Beautiful Begins with V

"Venting is just simply getting something off your chest with the expectation that someone will listen and provide a little moral support. Complaining is telling someone about something and expecting that person to do something about it." - Padna

"Venting is finding humor and levity in a situation and sharing that with another person. Complaining is adding cynicism and disdain." - Lady in the Back Corner

"It's pretty much the same." - The Dutchess

"Complaining is like telling the whole world  about lack of customer services at a government office ...  Venting is like when you are pissed off at someone and need to scream it out/cry with someone who is a good friend." - Merrysherry

"Venting is when you get things off of your mind like cleansing ... Complaining is more like tattle tailing." -  Barbie Dhal

"Well first off, it doesn't have to be a person you complain to, it could be an object. For example, your car shuts down, and you're complaining to the car, 'why are you not moving; I bought you just three months ago, and you're already giving trouble. Why are you so useless!! On the other hand, venting doesn't necessarily have to have a reason nor words to express how you feel about something. For example, you come out of your car, and you forgot the keys in there and start kicking and hitting the car and remembering bad things in the day that led up to that moment, therefore, venting on the car." - Beast

"Complaints pertain to a certain situation. Venting can also be about anything and are a personal matter. Save up enough complaints and it can lead to having to vent." - Mike Lowery 

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