Okay, I try not to rant (too often), but this one has been showing up a lot. People who say things like “I’ll only take a minute of your time” or “I’m not selling anything.” They are. Worse, friends or acquaintances who “just want to vent” but really are dumping their hurt, pain, stress, and a vente-size worse. I rarely can get a word in (as in, “I’m not a therapist” or paid by you to be one), and if I do, it goes south. The “venter” just wants a “sounding board,” or an empathetic nod, which in my case, would be fake because I’m bored. I’ve heard it before.┬áSo what’s the dumpee/ ventee to do?

Start off with “do you want me to listen, or do you want advice?” They will lie, and say “yes,” but the advice offered will usually be resisted or rejected. Here’s what I’ve come up with (and often failed at): 1. Ask the questions again and maintain significant eye contact. 2. Give a few moments of empathy, assuming the friend is in rightful distress. 3. If you ascertain that they are in dumping mode, monologuing, or not interested in any response from you…change the topic. This will annoy the dumper terribly, but talking about a movie or the latest news scandal will stop them in mid-air and preserve your energy field. They will soon find a more sympathetic (and less practiced) ear.

If all else fails, wrap your aura in an invisible pink bubble, light sage, a candle, or do some other new age-y technique. For children or people you presumably can’t get rid of, say, “you have two minutes.” Give them that time, after which you smile and change the topic. Any other ideas? Please let me know in the comment box. The environment’s a mess, we all need to do our part to assure a cleaner future.