Often, we are unsure if the person we want to talk to can handle what we want to tell them. So, ask. It can be as simple as: “OMG girls, I have had the worst day, have you got a minute,” for instance. Otherwise, you might consider asking a friend if they have time for a coffee to talk something through. At work, could your favourite colleague have time for lunch so you can get something off your chest?
Pick your time though, folks. If they’re busy typing an email or changing the baby’s nappy, now might not be the right time.
Respect their boundaries. If it does feel like too much for them and the listener suggests you speak to someone like a counsellor or psychologist, probably take them up on the suggestion.
Be mindful of time. Of course, this person might not have hours, but they have got some time and that is what is on offer. Use it wisely and don’t over use it. Choose what is important to share. Lots of detail might not be necessary and could use up valuable time.
No dumping and running. We need to be cautious that we are not just offloading onto others. Crucially, talking things out is not about handing your troubles over and expecting someone else to hold this for you. Often this does lead to the listener feeling burdened. Instead, talking it out is about helping you to sort through your thoughts, express your feelings, and maybe get some advice.
No story topping. Remember, if the person you are sharing with wants to share back, make some room for that. No one is doing it more-or-less hard than the next – it’s all relative.