• Keeping Friends

In the Media: Bitching and Bonding (New York Magazine)

Published: April 23, 2015 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 7 Replies Continue Reading


April 23, 2015

With a healthy dose of good humor, Journalist Meredith Haggerty looks at the common occurrence of friends complaining to one another in an article provocatively entitled, “Bitching and Bonding: A Guide to Mutual Complaint. She examines why very negative conversations often feel good as well as the limits that suggest when enough is enough.

Meredith interviewed The Friendship Doctor when conducting research for her story and wrote:

There are times when venting doesn’t seem to work — the more you complain, the more bitter and angry you feel. Dr. Levine warns that too much mutual whining can be too much of a good thing.

“When two friends continue to ruminate about the same problems over and over,” she says, “it can lead to a sense of hopelessness.” If you come away from a bitchfest feeling worse than when you started, you know it’s time to let that particular complaint go.

You can read the article on The Cut, an offshoot of New York Magazine.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Amy Jones says:

    I’ve been talking recently with my best work friend about two mutual friends who seem to have kind of drifted away from our little group. We both feel a little badly by these other two and we share this with each other but I’m glad I read this post because I need to keep in mind my compassion and make sure that the two of us don’t shut them out or spend too much time dwelling on the alleged faults of others. Luckily I think w both have enough faults of our own we can discuss :-).

  2. Dionne says:

    To me, it depends on what they mean by “bitching.” I don’t like being around someone when I always walk away feeling gloomy or used by them as someone to unload all their life grievances all the time. Or, has been mentioned, someone who is just a mean gossip.

    But if it’s what I’ve heard called “troubles talk,” to me that’s a bit different. It means you’re trusted enough for them to tell their private problems to. Then if you can trust them to do the same back, you’ve made a friend deeper than just surface, social level.

  3. LaTrice says:

    Here’s the thing. I HATE being surrounded by those that have negative attitudes, since they’re the ones who have a chip on their shoulder. Attacking other women, spreading malicious gossip about another human being isn’t something that anyone should tolerate.

    Who wants to deal with someone else’s BS, due to their insecurities?!

  4. GraceW says:

    I am wary of anyone who wants to bond over a shared negativity or dislike. Yes, I will sit and have a bitch session with a good friend now and then, but it is never the main or sole focus of our time together, and it is definitely not the glue for any of my friendships. Bonding over positive shared interests or positive values comes first, bitching about daily grievances is a distant fourth or fifth (or even further down the list). With friends I’d rather be hiking, cooking, playing music, riding my bike, watching a movie, discussing a book together, playing card games, camping…

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