If someone is venting their upset at you, even if it’s not about you, it’s natural that you might react negatively.
After all, none of us like to be on the receiving end of someone venting at a full steam! It can be uncomfortable, frustrating and even distressing.
- You might not know what to say to them.
- You might try get away from them.
- You might get frustrated and debate with them.
- You might feel responsible for trying to calm them down.
- You might try to change their point of view.
You’ve probably already witnessed first-hand that when you resist or react negatively toward someone who is venting at you, or try to advise them of a better perspective, it can end up adding fuel to their fire and making things worse!
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is another path.
Someone in the situation can choose the path of peace. And that someone is you!
You can save yourself and help to free them too. Here’s how…
A Response to Venting – the Power of Compassionate Listening
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh beautifully conveys the power of truly listening to each other from a space of compassion.
The next time someone comes to you wanting to vent – full of their frustration, upset, hurt, pain, worry, distress and you don’t know what to say… remember the message in this short video (3:21).
- Perhaps what you say to the other person in response to their venting is not important.
- Perhaps saying nothing is best.
- Perhaps what they need is not resistance, not judgment, not your advice, nor a new viewpoint. Sometimes all they need is compassionate listening.
- By being a space of compassionate listening for them, you allow them to empty themselves of pain. That may be all that is required.
"We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us. Then we will suffer less." Thich Nhat Hanh
— Bernadette Logue (@PinchMeLiving) September 28, 2016
Share this video with people in your life, and together let’s create relationships where compassionate listening is the normal practise – a reflection of our intention and of our love for each other.
To share your thoughts, questions or experiences, please do leave a comment below.
Related Resources for Communication & Relationships
- A Shocking Response to Give When Someone Lashes Out at You
- How to Communicate When Frustrated or Angry
- How to Have a Difficult Conversation