It can be hard to know what to do when someone comes to you venting. They could be in distress, sad or just very disappointed and you’re not to blame. It’s clear that they just want to get your support as they need to get something off their chest.
But at the same time, you don’t know how to act. Do you offer words of comfort? Or do you just listen? What to say to make them feel better?
That’s what we will find out in today’s article. Indeed, we will present you with different methods that you can make yourself useful to the person venting.
How to respond to someone venting?
1- Try to first listen and understand well:
The most important thing to remember is that a person that comes to you venting is probably looking for a release, more than anything else. They’re not necessarily looking for advice or solutions.
So it’s okay to initially just listen and let them get it all out unless they ask you direct questions. Offer sympathetic responses where appropriate, but don’t feel like you need to fix things. Sometimes, it could come across as if you’re saying they’re at fault and didn’t know how to act. This is why when you see someone heading in your direction to vent it’s better to be there for them and initially just listen to what they have to complain about.
When you do this, then the situation will become clearer in your head as they talk and explain it. From then onwards, you can decide to talk back and make them feel better or use another method from this list to help.
2- Show your support:
When someone you know is venting about a situation, it can be difficult to know how to respond. The most important thing after having listened to a portion of what they have said; is to show your support. Let the person know that you understand how they’re feeling and that you’re there for them.
If they’re physically within close proximity of you, try placing your hand on their back to show that you’re there for them. You might also want to offer some words of encouragement, letting them know that things will eventually get better.
It’s also important not to defend the person they’re complaining about. Don’t try to fault that person either, as it could be someone they deeply care about and just had a one-time-off argument with. If you try to
Even if you don’t agree with the venter’s opinion, it’s important to respect their right to express how they feel silently, unless they start asking for your opinion. In doing so, you can show that you truly care about their well-being.
3- Ask for more details and show compassion:
When someone comes to you venting about a problem, it can be difficult to know how to respond. However, if you took the time to listen and show your support then the next best thing to do would be to stay engaged and look interested.
You don’t want to seem like you’re not interested, but you also don’t want to get too involved and get personal. The best thing to do is to ask for more details to show interest but not too many that you look intrusive. and express compassion. So try to find the balance and show just enough interest for the person to tell you more without feeling that you’re intruding.
Show that you’re interested in hearing more about the situation and that you care about what the person is going through. Regardless of how minor you think the problem may be, it’s important to respect the person’s feelings and give them your full attention. If you can do that, you’ll be sure to provide the response they need.
4- Let them finish before you walk away:
If someone came to you specifically to vent to you, it’s important to let them finish. Even if you don’t think it’s such a big inconvenience or problem; whatever it is they’re complaining about, you have to let them get it all out.
if you think they’re overreacting or being crazy, then it’s better to keep this thought to yourself and just provide a should to cry on.
Walking away before they’re done will only make them feel worse. Instead, nod and wait until they’re done. You don’t necessarily need to say more if you’ve been through all the steps above, but letting them know that you’re listening can be helpful. If they want advice, they’ll ask for it.
Otherwise, just let them vent until they did. Maybe if you’re a tactile person then you can give them a hug or hold their hands in yours to show support. Who knows? you might find them by your side the next time you need someone to vent to.
If you think this is taking forever though and you want to put an end to their complaints, without being rude: then you can check this article out on how to politely tell someone that they talk too much and excuse yourself.