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Is there something on your mind that you just can’t shake? Have you been feeling frustrated, sad or just not yourself? Talking to a friend about it may help.

Talking allows you to process what’s going on for you, and can make you feel better. After all, it’s tough dealing with things alone!

We know it’s not always easy to start these kinds of conversations, which is why we’ve come up with a list of 10 easy tips that will make venting to your friends much easier!

1. Write your ideas down first

If what you want to say isn’t easy, writing will help organize your thoughts.

TIP: Sometimes it may feel like your thoughts are too jumbled to write down into coherent sentences. In that case it may help to do ‘stream of consciousness’ writing where you pick a set amount of time (think anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes) and just write whatever pops up in your head during that time.

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2. Choose the right person to talk to

Talk to someone you trust and who won’t judge you!

TIP: If you’re having trouble picking someone, think about times in the past when you’ve gone through a tough time. Who was there for you? Who had good advice?

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3. Know what you want from the conversation

Are you just looking to vent or are you asking for help?

TIP: It may help to start the conversation with “I’m not looking for help, I really just need to vent” to ensure that whoever you’re talking to doesn’t frustrate you by trying to provide solutions you’re not looking for.

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4. Choose how you want to communicate

You can choose to vent face-to-face, on the phone, via text message, by chat…it’s up to you! But don’t do it publicly on social media! The internet is forever, and at some point you may not want people to know how you were feeling at a particular moment. You never know who will see your post and you certainly don’t want anyone butting in with unhelpful or hurtful comments, so avoid venting publicly.

TIP: Choose a form of communication that works for you and for what you’re trying to say. Chatting face-to-face may be difficult, but it does allow you to pick up on nonverbal communication.

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5. Pick the right time to talk

Make sure you have your friend’s undivided attention.

TIP: It can help to ask when they have some free time so you know you’re getting their attention when they’re not distracted.

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6. It’s ok to test the waters

Start slowly, you don’t have to share everything at once if you don’t want to.

TIP: Going slowly can ensure you’re not misunderstood and you’re not telling your friend more than you’re comfortable with. Check in with yourself throughout the conversation to see how you feel. It’s okay to put a stop to the venting if you’re starting to feel uncomfortable!

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7. You never know how your friend will react to what you say.

TIP: While you can’t know how they’ll react, just remember that sometimes people’s initial reactions may come from a place of shock, surprise or not knowing what to say. Their initial reaction isn’t always their longer term reaction, it may just take them a little time to process.

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8. Look for ways to take action

Venting on its own may not solve your problem. If you want to make a change there are lots of supports out there to help.  

TIP: A good place to start if you’re looking for tips and resources on mental health and wellness is foundrybc.ca

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