I’ll have the Vente…not

Okay, I try not to rant (too often), but this one has been showing up a lot. People who say things like “I’ll only take a minute of your time” or “I’m not selling anything.” They are. Worse, friends or acquaintances who “just want to vent” but really are dumping their hurt, pain, stress, and a vente-size worse. I rarely can get a word in (as in, “I’m not a therapist” or paid by you to be one), and if I do, it goes south. The “venter” just wants a “sounding board,” or an empathetic nod, which in my case, would be fake because I’m bored. I’ve heard it before. So what’s the dumpee/ ventee to do?

Start off with “do you want me to listen, or do you want advice?” They will lie, and say “yes,” but the advice offered will usually be resisted or rejected. Here’s what I’ve come up with (and often failed at): 1. Ask the questions again and maintain significant eye contact. 2. Give a few moments of empathy, assuming the friend is in rightful distress. 3. If you ascertain that they are in dumping mode, monologuing, or not interested in any response from you…change the topic. This will annoy the dumper terribly, but talking about a movie or the latest news scandal will stop them in mid-air and preserve your energy field. They will soon find a more sympathetic (and less practiced) ear.

If all else fails, wrap your aura in an invisible pink bubble, light sage, a candle, or do some other new age-y technique. For children or people you presumably can’t get rid of, say, “you have two minutes.” Give them that time, after which you smile and change the topic. Any other ideas? Please let me know in the comment box. The environment’s a mess, we all need to do our part to assure a cleaner future.

About sheilaklewis

As a writing coach, meditation teacher, writer, and academic tutor, I'm passionate about words and the silent spaces between words. In this context, I run book clubs and writers' groups where the resonance of carefully crafted words can spark readers and writers to share their own stories. Connecting through conversation; making memories matter; embracing editing and revision, and imaginative wordplay are some solo and collective outcomes. I came to what I call my "Meditate Write Now" practice after years of art-making, writing grants, curriculum, children's stories, and more. Meditation kept my mind from meandering too far off point and also led me to write from the still point within. May our paths cross in creative journeys across time and internet connections! Other details: My husband and I are the parents of two amazing sons and one daughter-in-law, and smitten grandparents of Micah (born December, 2013). I don't drive, and have lived in the same apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, for too long.
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4 Responses to I’ll have the Vente…not

  1. Claudia says:

    My reaction to those who vent depends on the person venting, how many times I’ve heard this particular rant, how many other rants I’ve heard from this particular person, how much I identify with this person and this rant, and probably many other factors as well! As someone who tends to complain — I don’t think I’ve ever been 100% enthusiastic — I will view your blog post as a warning. And I will NOT overdo the complaining!

  2. sheilaklewis says:

    Thanks Claudia! In an ideal world, none of us would rant, complain, or dump, because we’d have nothing to rant about. But I like what you said, it can be case by case, and does depend on the person, etc. and how much they annoy and sap our time. Also, complaining can be mild, whereas a classic dumper can be hostile or nasty, and more oblivious.

  3. Lia says:

    I have rolling conversations with all my friends about anything and everything, so if an issue comes up for either me or them it’s not like that’s what the friendship is about, it’s just a passing piece. If people don’t want to do that, then whoops! I accidentally deleted you from my contact list. I’d had to really get a grip on this due to being a 28-year social worker and trained to listen to everyone’s problems…uh time for me to pay attention to my own.

  4. sheilaklewis says:

    Yes, I like your conclusion. Actually, some of the biggest venters I’ve run into have been social workers. I don’t really care what people talk about, so much as the unconsciousness some people have around dumping their negativity, and problems, on others. Unless you pay me the big bucks, there is a limit to that amount of a load I’m willing to put up with.

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