The 10 Commandments of Effective Bitching

Bitching. We all do it. We’re human…It happens. As a coach, I’ve come to appreciate that there is a huge difference between bitching and effective bitching. While I deal with a fair amount of both, I am definitely a fan of the latter for the simple reason that it makes life easier in the long run. In order to understand why, it is important to understand what it means to bitch effectively… So without further ado I present to you the 10 Commandments of Effective Bitching:

  1. PICK WISELY WHO YOU’RE GOING TO BITCH TO: First things first. It is absolutely crucial that you’re aware of who will have the joy of listening to your emotional tirade. Pick someone whose opinions you respect and who will be able to give you good advice. Ask yourself: Is this person mentally, emotionally, and psychologically equipped to hear not just what I’m saying but everything I’m not? Effective bitching isn’t just about getting relief, it’s also about getting resolution and moving forward. Pick a good teammate!                                                                         
  2. PICK WISELY WHO YOU’RE GOING TO BITCH TO: (Seriously) If you’re one of those people who is capable of bitching and forgiving and forgetting, don’t vent to a person who is particularly good at holding a grudge. Telling your mom that your bff Christy stole your boyfriend in fifth grade and wondering why she hates her to this day? Maybe you picked the wrong person to talk to!                                                                                                         
  3. PICK WISELY WHO YOU’RE GOING TO BITCH TO: (Point made I hope?) The last thing that you have to consider when picking the right person or people to vent to is what they will do with the information. Chances are if they shared with you private information about another friend, not much is going to stand in the way of them doing the same with your stuff. Make sure you’re comfortable with that. If you’re not, talking to yourself is always an option!                                                                                                                                              
  4. CREATE THE TIME AND SPACE TO BITCH PROPERLY. It is important to get it all out in one go (more on that in point #8) so pick a place and time where you can fully express yourself without holding back. On the phone in the metro? Probably not. Not only can you not really say what’s on your mind (unless you really don’t care), it’s rude to subject innocent bystanders to your anger and negativity in public spaces.                                                          
  5. GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE FAIR WARNING. Nobody likes an inconsiderate bitcher. Ask permission, pick a time that is good for you AND for the person privy to your complaining. Nobody wants to go to the basketball game with the expectation of a hot dog, beer, and a good time to be later surprised by Debbie Downer and her boss that just won’t listen.                                                                                                                                              
  6. REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE SITUATION IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE. Ask, if I were forced to look at this a different way, what would that be? Considering the different angles of a situation, particularly a problem (as ridiculous as they may seem), enables us to step away from our personal biases and can oftentimes provide opportunities to find common ground.                                                                                                                                          
  7. ONCE IT’S OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM DON’T HARP ON IT. From an energetic perspective, it’s best to bitch once, bitch well, and get it over with in one go so make sure you have enough time and are in the right environment to do so. Why? Negative feelings have a tendency to stay with us longer than positive ones do (Proof here!). If you keep re-hashing how you’ve been wronged over and over again because you didn’t get it out properly in one go, you will extend the misery associated with the situation you felt compelled to vent about in the first place. So bitch freely, bitch magnificently. But bitch once.                                                                                                                                                
  8. BE OPEN TO HONEST FEEDBACK. A truly epic bitching session not only offers you relief, it offers you possibility. Feeling the need to vent is usually an indicator that you are personally invested in a particular outcome or had expectations that weren’t fulfilled. In other words… “you’re too close” to the issue to be truly objective. Unfiltered feedback from a friend may just be what you need to regain a little perspective. Embrace it!                                                                                                         
  9. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Remember, what you say is what is in your heart, what others hear is reflective of what is in theirs. This applies to whatever prompted you to bitch in the first place and the feedback you’ll receive from your friends or family.                                                       
  10. TRY TO FIND THE LESSONS IN YOUR STRUGGLES. Every single experience we live is a blessing. Chances are if you’re complaining about it, there’s something that needs to be worked out and therefore learned from. Learn to appreciate your struggles as purveyors of wisdom and maybe, just maybe they won’t be a reason to bitch about! ;)