Monday, December 8, 2008

How to Turn a Bitch-Fest into a Shift-Fest

I don’t know about you, but I used to love talking to my friends about dating. And by talking, I mostly mean complaining to them.

About the latest, not so greatest chapter, in the ever-evolving drama of my search for love.

In fact, I sought out people who enjoyed all that complaining, who also thought it was great fun.

And indeed- there was some fun to it- but after many years, I finally realized that all that negativity, pessimism, and complaining didn’t really make me feel better, at least not for more than the time we talked.

Now, new research supports this view.

At, they discussed a study showing that all that complaining, especially about relationship woes, can actually make you feel worse.

It can amplify the badness, confirm your worst fears, and at the very least- keeps you stuck in all that yuck!

Heck- that’s what I thought friends were for!

But not any more.

Now I know that a real friend isn’t one who lets you wallow in all of that nonsense.

A true friend will help you shift from feeling bad, to feeling better- because nothing is more important than feeling good.

So, here’s what I suggest the next time you want to have a bitch fest with your pal.

4 Steps to Turning a Bitch-Fest into a Shift-fest

1. Tell your friend that you have a problem and that you want to vent. BUT ask them to stop you at 10 minutes past the pity party.

2. Then go ahead and complain, bitch, moan. Cry if you need to. Be angry if you want. Whine even. Whine a lot. That was my personal favorite- or so I am told. But you only get 10 minutes so be sure to get it all out.

3. Then together with your friend’s help, discover some answers to this question:
“What would help me feel better right now?

Feeling better may include things you can do around the ugly situation: shifting your perspective, or taking some helpful action.

And it may include things outside of the actual situation- things that help move you away from the yuck.

For instance you may feel like committing to your friend that you will indeed do something that will result in feeling better, like:

- Go to yoga: good for releasing sadness
- Take a kickboxing class: great for getting out anger
- Read a self-help book: good for empowering yourself
- Get manicures together: a little pampering may be in order
- Go dancing with your friends Friday night: good for plain old distraction

4. Whatever you do, make a pact with your good buddy, that you won’t end the discussion until you’ve been able to shift, even just a tiny bit, into a better place.

That’s a true friendship: one in which you each help the other step into your Better Self, your Higher self, who holds all the wisdom you need to get through any situation.

Isn’t that a much better use of friendship than multiplying and spreading the yuck?

Readers: How has a friend helped you shift into a better place? Please share!

Want to read the original msnbc article on the study?
Here it is: Quit Complaining, It May Make You Feel Worse