When it comes to relationships, different people want different levels of privacy. Any issue I'm having with my partner, with my friends, or with my life gets aired out to my closest friends. While the old school way of thought think that talking about your relationship is somehow betraying your partner's trust, venting to your friends can actually be a good thing.
"Despite what many assert, if we’re dating, we have to talk to our friends about it — who else can we go to for comfort, encouragement, and strategizing?” relationship expert Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell tells Bustle. And the same is true when you've been in a relationship for a while. Whether it's the early days or later on, your friends are the ones who can give you some tough love — or tell you when it's time to just tough it out. Although, there are limits.
"Be advised, however, that our [friends] can only do so much for us and if our emotional needs become intense, we can’t expect them to serve as therapists," Dr. Abrell says. "But in general, our besties provide imperative support as we navigate our way through the dating scene.” Talking to your friends can actually be really cathartic. So, here's why venting about your relationship is actually a good thing — because pretending everything is perfect all the time really isn't a great option.
Your Friends Know You Better Than Anyone
As Dr. Abrell says, if you can't talk to your friends then who can you talk to? You've chosen your friends — at least your closest friends — for a good reason.
“They’re trustworthy and genuine,” Jamie Gruman, Ph.D., a professor of organizational behavior and author of Boost: The Science of Recharging Yourself in an Age of Unrelenting Demands, tells Bustle. “They offer us a sounding board to test ideas and show our true selves while knowing they won’t betray our confidences or make us feel ashamed of our weaknesses. They offer us caring, honest feedback, even when it might hurt.”
And with relationships, sometimes you need that tough love to bring you back to earth. It can be hurtful, but also necessary. “When it comes to questioning whether or not you’re moving too fast or whether or not [someone] is the right one for you, they will have great insight,” says dating expert and matchmaker Sarah Patt. And your friends can only give you good advice if you're being honest with them. So venting it out can give them the information they need to help you.
It Normalizes Disagreements
Having relationship problems, conflicts, disagreements, and even arguments is all normal. In fact, it can even be good for you.
"Conflict is a normal, natural part of relationships, and can be healthy, especially if it leads to improved communication and strength of the relationship," therapist Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT tells Bustle
If you act like everything is perfect all the time, it's going to leave you feeling tense and bottled up. But talking to your friends and hearing what they're going through can be really helpful, because it reminds us that everyone fights and disagrees from time to time. And, even more than that, your friends can help bolster you to have strong, direct communication with your partner, rather than swiping issues under the rug.
But Choose Your Friends Wisely
Of course though, you may want to be aware of which friends you're venting to. The sad truth is, many of us have toxic friendships and people who may not give the greatest advice. If that's the case, you may want to be a little savvier with your venting or take what they say with a pinch of salt. Or a pile of salt. Or all of the salt. Venting is great, but sometimes you have to be mindful of how you do it and who you're doing it with.
You may think of venting as being disloyal to your partner or somehow reflecting badly on your relationship — and nobody is asking you to share their deepest, darkest secrets. But having some room to get issues off your chest, get advice, and see things from another angle is a good thing. So vent away, but remember that ultimately, nobody knows your relationship better than the two of you.