Gossip or Venting? You decide.

It’s ironic to me that the easiest way to vent is the most public yet least visited.

I range between 1 and 20 page views on an average month. That’s not unique visitors. For unique visitors, the range is between 1 and 5. I’m not always sure if my stat counters are counting me, though they aren’t supposed to. Compare that to a Facebook reach that could be between 100 and 500 people.

Growing up, I was the misfit. For various reasons, some life experiences, some personality, I have never felt like I fit in. Perhaps everyone feels this way at some point. Growing up, watching my cousins, my siblings, and the kids at school though, it really did seem that I was the only one on the outside. Once I got to high school, and my pool of friends diversified, I was able to see how others, whom I liked, seemed to suffer a similar predicament. Our senses of humor were a little too odd, we were too smart, we dressed too strange, or whatever clique-ish measurement we were holding ourselves up against, we were different, and we didn’t fit in.

I cared probably until I was in my mid-twenties. And, suddenly the keeping up with the Jones’ didn’t matter as much. But, the thing I am still envious about, and the thing I still don’t know how to figure out, is that close friend who won’t betray your confidence.

We all have relationship issues. We all get mad at our sisters, our best friends, our husbands, our kids. People seem to turn to writing, holding it in, psychology, or best friends to work out their issues. Growing up a self-named misfit, I never felt like I had the best friend with whom I could hold all my deepest secrets. When I thought I found them, and I shared my secrets, I found the secrets were to deep and scared people away. There was no reciprocal or later sharing to further develop the relationship.

Now, as an adult, as a self-identified introvert, I am accepting of the trend. Apparently many introverts are like this. Apparently, this is not a unique thing. Apparently, many of us introverts suffer from only having a few friends and a questionable ability to refill the friend pool much like a volunteer organization needs to constantly refresh its volunteers.

So, imagine my surprise, as I began to color in my own path, when I stumbled upon a diverse group of friends who shared interests similar to mine. Imagine my surprise when I felt like I could trust them all. And, I start to open up, and I start to share, and sadly, eventually, the confidences are betrayed.

What is one advantage of the close friend? The close friend can allow you to vent your frustrations. The close friend can listen without judgment. The close friend might even be able to compassionately right you or point you in a direction when you may have steered off your chosen path.

So, what then, when the close friend serves more than one? What then when the close friend tries for bridging stories and it all just sounds like gossip? What then, when we try to decipher the complex relationships in which we all partake, and we use the close friend to help steer us right … but the close friend is being used by too many, and confidences are accidentally betrayed?

What then?