Women and girls spend a lot of time talking about their problems. Most of the time they don’t want a solution to the problem, they just want to talk about how it makes them feel. These rants can turn into long analyses that get repeated over and over again. While this type of communication can make friends closer, it can also keep the complainer from feeling better about the problem.

A recent study of teenage girls conducted by Amanda Rose at the Univeristy of Missouri shows that those who vent to each other about their problems are more likely to develop depression and anxiety. The same is true when they become adult women who complain about their problems. While our culture now embraces talking out one’s problems, when the complaining becomes excessive, it can get psychologically risky for the complainer. This is because dwelling on a problem can reinforce small fears that the conflict has brought up, or even introducing new ones to make the person feel bad about themselves or make the situation seem more problematic than it really is.

The study also studied how men vent to their friends. They found that they tend not to analyze their problems as deeply as women. This is probably because women dwell more on relationship issues which create the most obsessive discussions. At the same time, women feel closer to their friends when they vent to them. The listener feels good to be trusted with hearing a personal problem, and the complainer is grateful for someone who will listen to them drone on and on. However, ranting over and over to the same people tends to cause that person to become the complainer of the group which can take a toll on friendships. The ideal time to talk about one’s problems is 15 minutes before it is suggested that the complainer just let it go.

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