Bitching is one of those funny things – it sometimes feels great in the moment, but I always find it comes with a truckload of guilt later on in the day.
I had a great conversation with a friend earlier today about the difference between anthropological conversation and bitching.
Anthropological conversation is where you talk about someone you know, their character and actions, but without malice. This is okay. Sometimes we do need to talk about the people we know.
Bitching is when we talk about others we know behind their back – with malice. When we grumble, moan and whine about them, or the things they do. Making ourselves ‘feel better’ by airing our gripes. There’s a nasty quality to bitching that anthropological conversation doesn’t have.
I often think bitching is what we do when we’re too afraid to raise a point with a person outright, it’s an outlet for pent up anger* with that person. I always think it’s far better to bring up those issues with the person in question, rather than bitch about them behind their back. That way you can begin to solve those niggles in your relationship, rather than allow them to simmer.
I can guarantee two things about bitching. One, although it may feel like a release at the time, you will probably feel guilty about bitching later in the day, and also perhaps a little worried that the person may find out the things you were saying about them. Two, if you do it enough, people will stop trusting you – after all, if you bitch to them about someone, how do they know you won’t bitch about them to someone else?
Talking about people is fine. If you have concerns or worries, or want some advice and outside perspective on a relationship, that’s okay (though I do think, in many cases it’s best to talk it out with the person in question – even though that often feels like the most difficult thing to do!) Just beware of bitching – it’s a negative force to bring in to your life, and I’m no means perfect, but I know that I’m much happier when I steer away from the temptation. I expect it’s the same for most people.
*Remember, anger stems from fear, so it may be helpful to work out what it is you’re fearful of!
(And please note, anthropological conversation is a term we made up for the purpose of our conversation , it was the way we could best describe talking about people in a curious, not unkind way.)