Venting is necessary. Whether you had a rough day at work or an argument with a loved one, releasing all of that anger to someone close you is crucial. However, what about when you are venting to your hundreds of friends on Instagram and Facebook?
When I talk about venting, I’m focusing on those posts that air out your dirty laundry. Those posts that are full of family business. Those live videos that are “addressing your haters.” Some people go on social media and are completely irrational and disrespectful. They bad mouth their families and friends and are reacting based off their emotions. You’re getting things off of your chest, and that’s great, but what’s the difference between sharing it with hundreds of people versus that group of people that you trust? When I vent to people I tell them about my feelings in confidence. I know that they won’t spread my business and I value that. Do people even valuable that anymore if they’d rather spread their own business on Facebook?
I’ve seen a lot of my social media followers and even my favorite celebrities do this (Did you see Cardi B’s last live?). When something is bothering them or they feel triggered by something someone said, instead of opening up a journal or calling a close friend, they go live on Instagram or post a lengthy Facebook status and release all of this raw emotion to people who are not credentialed to deal with it. Venting is a cathartic experience and here is why it should be done in private.
Your Facebook friends and Instagram followers are not equipped with the tools to help you get through your deep rooted issues or help you deal with your anger. Posting when angry is completely your choice, however it makes you vulnerable to attacks or toxic responses that can trigger you even more and make you even angrier. When people post, they are looking for acknowledgement and validation and on social media that comes in likes and comments and this may be the “support” people are looking for. What if no one says anything at all? Will you still feel better or will you feel ignored? Calling that person that you trust is more valuable than letting all your frustration out to a pool of people that you may not trust at all or who don’t care.
When I vent to people or when people vent to me there is an expectation that we will hold each other accountable. If my actions are hurtful or if I am misunderstanding something, I expect the people I confide in to tell me and vice versa. Followers will not always do that because they may see your posts as entertainment. Why would someone help you see things differently if they are amused with your post or if it is helping to distract them from their own drama? Plus, what are you expecting to receive from you social media friends when you are giving them your unfiltered emotions?
Instead of posting about drama, some people use social media to raise awareness about mental health by openly discussing their own. I’ve seen posts from people who show that though they battle depression or anxiety, they never stop fighting even when they feel like they are losing. They have no problem with posting about how they take care of their mental health and going to therapy, which helps to raise awareness. Those kinds of posts can create a feeling of universality as well. Depression, anxiety and other illnesses are very common, however many people who experience it feel like they are alone, so seeing posts like those are inspiring.
The best person for anyone to vent to is a psychotherapist. My clients (I am a psychotherapist btw) always tell me that they’d rather wait until their weekly sessions so they can release whatever has been on their heart. In therapy, clients feel safe and they know they will not be judged. Plus, people look forward to the feedback they will get from their therapist because they know they will not be criticized or made to feel like they were wrong or less than smart for their actions. A therapist’s office is much more emotionally safe than social media.