How to Vent Your Frustrations Without Being a Jerk!

When we feel passionate about our views, it can sometimes be hard to find the right delivery to get our point across. Sometimes, well, it seems like we’re being a jerk! In this video, we’ll explore this topic of venting and how to deal with stress in ways in constructive ways.

I had a question that came in from a Learning Resource Center (LRC) member who asked: “What are some constructive ways to vent or work through stress without being perceived as a jerk?” I love the question because when we feel like we’ve acted like a jerk, we know we haven’t been effective, it doesn’t feel good, we’re not doing ourselves any favors. And we walk away from the situation feeling ineffective because it’s likely no positive solution came out of that exchange either. None of us want that, so in this video, let’s explore this topic of venting and how to deal with stress in ways in constructive ways.

Venting vs. Effective Communication

Let’s first think about this idea venting. I get this picture in my mind of a tirade, spewing of information, emotional, heated, one-way dialogue. That can be prompted from a sense of really wanting to be heard and it is important that you share your opinions and you should do that.  You don’t need to sugar coat or hide behind them, but the trick is in the delivery. In order to be heard, we need to have a calm, collected two-way exchange.

I am reminded of the TV commercial where a well-known personality suddenly mutates into another person that is nothing like them; completely foreign. In the ad, the person is famished and once they take just one bite of their favorite chocolate bar to alleviate some hunger, they transform right back to the same old self. That’s what you need to do here: you need to find the equivalent of your chocolate bar to bring you back to center.

Here a Couple Tips That Will Help You Come Back to Center:

Catch yourself early. Venting happens when go past some point of tolerance, we are just out of control. So you are want to recognize the triggers when you are starting to move into that state of high frustration. For some, that might a pounding heart or a pit in your stomach; for me, my face gets flushed. Recognize when that happens and just pause, take a deep breath, acknowledge it, don’t judge it. In those few moments, when that is processing, you are absolutely going to take a different direction away from those sudden movements, and strong, jerky reactions.

The second tip is to mindful of others. When you are venting, it’s all about you, what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and you should share your opinions, but you need to hear others out. Ask questions that will prompt understanding and engagement. And when you create that two-way dialogue, others will be more likely to hear what you have to say. That is going to earn you a reputation of respect and not one of being a jerk.

Final Thoughts on How to Vent Frustrations

When you find yourself entering a stressful situation, catch the signs early, reframe your mindset, and involve the respectful to the others. This is going to change the direction and demeanor of others for the better, just like eating a delicious chocolate candy bar!

Check out other videos in the Learning Resource Center, available to you as a member. Here’s to your Graceful Leadership!

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