Looking to Share Emotional Burdens with a Friend? Before Sharing, Let’s Seek Consent

It might be a hard – but worthy – habit to get into, but asking friends for emotional consent will bring you closer together, I think.

I know there are days I wish I had this relationship with all my friends.

Blind Injustice

Consent matters.

That two-word phrase is used often these days when sexual consent is discussed. Those two words are right: consent matters, when it comes to sexual consent.

However, when you are hoping to possibly vent about a bad day at work or share something emotional or burdensome with something else, it’s also important to seek consent for doing that with the person you’re hoping to discuss with/vent to. In other words, another form of consent, that I call emotional consent, is important.

Emotional consent is when you seek someone else’s permission to tell them something(s) involving deep emotions or burdens. Through exercising this form of consent, you can share emotional, burdensome things only when the listener is physically, mentally, and emotionally able to handle it.

At this point, some of you might be thinking this: “Okay, emotional consent sounds great, but how can I exercise this?” I have three…

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28 thoughts on “Looking to Share Emotional Burdens with a Friend? Before Sharing, Let’s Seek Consent”

      1. Well, you’ve definitely made me – & many others, I’m sure – think about it now!

        I have to say, for women especially, emotional labor is so expected of us that asking for consent would be a daily event. That is, in my personal anecdotal opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yay! I’m glad.

        I’m a man, so I can’t speak to whether asking for consent would be a daily event for women. That being said, based on what I’ve heard from you and other women, that might be the case at first. That being said, over time I’d hope that: a) people seek consent and b) people (fellow men in particular) realize the amount of emotional labor often asked of women (so that it doesn’t end up being a daily event). I don’t know if I’m making sense, as I have a head cold, but hopefully I’m making sense here!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Don’t worry about “not making sense.” I’m pretty good at gleaning meaning (yay, rhyming!) when people feel they’re struggling to convey information.

        I think it has something to do with my mental & physical health conditions. They make my brain foggy, then the meds don’t help, so I speak “nonsensical.”

        TL;DR: I give you way too much information to say I totally understand what you’re saying. 🤣

        I also hope that people start seeking consent & that people of all genders realize the stress they’re unintentionally inflicting by demanding others do unpaid (&, too often, unappreciated) emotional labor for them.

        Unfortunately, given the value we put on emotional labor – &, to be honest, emotions in general – I don’t think much will change tomorrow. But, maybe with posts like yours, it might happen sooner rather than never.

        I also hope you’re feeling better or you’re on the mend!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I am feeling on the mend, thankfully.

        And yes, hopefully we’ll realize the unpaid and unappreciated emotional labor we often ask of others!

        I think that this can change, though. But for that to happen, I think it’s an idea that needs to go viral or taken on by a famous celebrity first. I don’t fall into either category but I hope that this idea gets passed along so that one or both things can happen.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m so glad to hear you’re starting to feel better! Now I’ve found myself victim to a slight case of food poisoning, but I also feel (🤞 🤞 ) on the mend too.

        Change is, in my opinion, often slow to come &, when it does, tends to suffer set-backs. Or, in the case of certain leaders, deliberate roll-backs.

        Still, it starts with sharing of novel ideas. Ways of approaching situations & events we’ve dealt with all our lives, but never thought of.

        Even if your (brilliant) post doesn’t go viral or get read by a celebrity, the fact that you’ve touched a few people & made them re-evaluate their daily interactions is going to have huge impacts on them. Not to mention the people in their lives.

        From there, maybe it picks up slow steam. Those friends of readers try to incorporate the idea into their daily lives. Then a few more. It could expand exponentially in real life. It might not be as flashy as “going viral,” but you can bet your sweet bippy it’s going to make for much better relationships. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hopefully you can continue to be on the mend!!!

    You are right on all counts. I need to be more patient with myself! 🙂 I think a big part of it is that it just breaks my heart to see how much emotional consent isn’t used, and want that to change right away. But change is a process, and we as humans often like to resist change! As long as this change is happening (slowly but surely) and as long as relationships are being affected in a positive way as a result, that’s plenty good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m all better * knocks on wood *

      How are you feeling? Better, I hope.

      I think being more patient with ourselves is a good goal for everyone. When it comes to making a huge change in society, like with implementing the custom of asking for emotional consent, we know it doesn’t happen quickly.

      If our current society is any indication, in fact, it won’t happen in our lifetime.

      But, that doesn’t mean we can’t “pay it forward” & spread positivity in ways we may never realize. Just because we don’t see the results, doesn’t mean we aren’t making (at least our corner of) the world a better place.

      Keep making the world around you better – the rest of the world will catch up when it’s ready. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you’re feeling better! So am I.

        Yes–it takes generations for TRUE change to fully happen. That being said, we can definitely “pay it forward” and make our corner of the world a better place, at least. You’re right.

        Thanks for the encouragement–I needed it after a “meh” holiday season!!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better! Colds can be just overwhelmingly frustrating. Sometimes, I even think I prefer infections; at least I can get antibiotics! But, with a cold, you just have to wait it out.

        I think it’s more important, in some ways, to affect our corner of the world. These are the people we love & we want them to live their best lives. Of course I want the whole world to take emotional stress & baggage more seriously. At the same time, we have a lot more pressing issues worldwide, in my opinion.

        Aw. I’m sorry your holiday season was “meh.” I find mine often are nowadays. I’m not so much bothered by that fact as I am by the countless people asking me what my plans are, as if I must have some fantastic events coming up.

        That’s just my cynicism showing, though. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m sort of at an awkward “in between” stage with health insurance, so I will take the cold as opposed to something that requires a prescription.

        Not only is it more important to affect our corners of the world, but in many ways, I think it’s more doable. Starting with the people you know, as opposed to complete strangers, is the most doable (albeit still a challenge).

        I understand the cynicism. 🙂 People expect elaborate plans sometimes, and that puts lots of pressure on us. But plans need not be elaborate.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh man! I’m sorry about the insurance. Let us not devolve into a conversation about the broken healthcare system. I will cry. Also, I suspect we’ll agree with one another. 😉

        I totally agree. Strangers usually don’t want to hear anything we have to say, anyway. Our friends & loved ones are more likely to listen for a few minutes before changing the subject politely or telling us to shut up (it depends on your friends; I encourage my friends to do the latter LOL).

        It’s not that people expect elaborate plans & I have none, really. It’s that they expect plans or cause for celebration… & I have none. Yeah, even just typing that out make me feel all cynical & Grinch-y. Also, I’m not Christian, so one too many people wishing me a “Merry Christmas” & my head explodes. I’m pretty sure it’s written in the Torah. 😄 🤯

        (BTW, totally kidding about the “Merry Christmas” bit. I’ve come up with a sure-fire way to battle accidental well-wishings. 🙂 )

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes, I think we’d agree.

        You’re definitely right about strangers and friends/family, especially when you’re talking about something they don’t care about or agree with. The only exception, I think (in my experience), is when we run into someone who mostly or completely agrees with you (or run into a topic they care about).

        How have you battled the accidental well-wishings, then? I wrote about that topic many moons ago (even though I am Christian), so I’m curious, if you don’t mind my asking.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I think it’s interesting my cat appears to have better insurance – & access to better insurance – than I do. Hmm… perhaps that’s a post in itself! I do love when people inspire me, or vice-versa. 😀

        Of course I don’t mind you asking! I’m an open-book. A lot of pages are blank though, as there’s much boring in there. LOL 😉

        When someone wishes me “Merry Christmas,” I say, “Happy Hanukkah” to them. Then we’ve both wished the other to enjoy wrong holiday. I’m petty & sarcastic like that, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yes, and I think dogs may have better insurance than many humans as well. Hmmm…that is maybe an idea for a post!

        That’s a funny way of being sarcastic though, haha. But it gets the point across. Or maybe you can wish everyone a good Boxing Day (to go British)??? Hmmm…

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Well, cat & dog insurance is essentially the same, I think. I may be totally wrong, since more dogs go outside than cats, which may make them a higher risk? That might require some research. I shall definitely be writing a post about it from the point of view of a cat owner.

        Which reminds me, I have pages of blog ideas in my Word document. I should really get to them! 😀

        I try to be sarcastic while still well-meaning & silly when it comes to the holidays. I think stress is already high enough during that time.

        Hmm. I haven’t tried “going British,” but it’s more personal in that specific situation & since I’m not British (ah, but I wish sometimes!), it doesn’t work as well. Also, it makes people think. Well, I hope it makes people think!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Haha, that sounds like a plan! It actually is important, I think, as I think it makes a statement if animals indeed have better health insurance than human beings.

        You should get to those blog ideas!

        You’re right that stress is high enough during the holidays, so a silly sarcasm sounds like a good plan! And that’s where wishing everyone a good Boxing Day can come in, haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. That’s why I’m planning on writing a blog about the pet vs. human insurance discrepancy. 😉

        I really should! I’m still backed up on reviews, unfortunately, so I’m trying to work through those. Silly Shakespeare & about Shakespeare books set me back on reviews. LOL

        Also, I have perfectionism issues.

        I encourage you to wish people a Happy Boxing Day! My choice stands, if only because I hope it’ll make people think. If they’re kind enough to wish me a “Merry Christmas,” I think they could easily say, “Happy Holidays.” If they realize they’ve encountered someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, like myself, whom they may not have otherwise associated with, maybe they’ll consider what they’re saying.

        I must do something to curb this senseless optimistic streak I have. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Definitely! I didn’t even know until now there was such a discrepancy. 😉

        With the whole Happy Holidays vs Boxing Day, you got me. On a serious note I don’t know about your experiences, but in mine the main criticism of “Happy Holidays” is that it’s “too politically correct.” Ugh. People. What some people label as “PC” is often the right thing to do anyway, regardless of whether it’s politically correct or not.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. That’s what makes posts interesting though, isn’t it? It’s a fact or perspective we hadn’t considered, but that makes so much sense! That’s what I love about your posts!

        I’m completely on your side about the criticism that “Happy Holidays” being “too politically correct” being ridiculous. Everyone has unique experiences, even people in the same grouping of people (be it sexuality, race, religion, socioeconomic status, etc.). In my opinion, being “politically correct” – in this instance, just saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” – is just being respectful to those experiences.

        Not to mention that, by saying “Happy Holidays,” you’re wishing the recipient both a Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday they celebrate or don’t) & a Happy New Years. It just seems more encompassing; why not cover all your bases in two words?

        Neil Gaiman (oh, how I love him) said, “political correctness is just treating people with respect.” Hilariously, someone went & made a browser add-on that can replace all instances of “political correctness” with “treating people with respect.” If you haven’t seen them already, here are links to both Gaiman’s original idea & the article about the browser extension. I thought they were both brilliant (but, of course, you don’t have to like them, or even read them! I’m just making the information available).

        Gaiman’s Tumblr – http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/43087620460/i-was-reading-a-book-about-interjections-oddly
        Google Extension article – https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-google-chrome-extension-replaces-political-correctness-with-something-more-accurate_us_55c82605e4b0923c12bd4a91

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Thanks for the compliment on my posts! 🙂

        I agree that in this case, being “PC” is simply being the respectful thing to do (with Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas).

        Thanks for introducing me to Neil Gaiman! He raises a good point though–“political correctness” is often really treating people with respect.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. It may be a compliment, but I see it as simply the truth. 😉

        Oh my dear… please tell me that I’m just introducing you to Neil Gaiman as to his Tumblr & not introducing you to him in general? I mean, I might faint if you’d never read any of his work. 😧

        (Seriously – if you like fantasy, dark themes, & awesome fiction, you need to read him.)

        Liked by 1 person

      15. I’m just joshing you about your need to read Neil Gaiman’s work. I understand that not everyone shares my love of his particular style of dark fiction & graphic novels.

        He does have a wide variety of different writing avenues, if you’re serious about looking into him (NO PRESSURE, I SWEAR!!! ❤ ):

        “American G-ds” is a long form novel (VERY long form). Just replace the “-” with an “o.” I’m not a religious person, but, for some reason, not writing out “G-d” has stuck with me. You may, if you have access & interest in TV, have noticed this title has been made into a TV series.
        “Smoke and Mirrors” is short story & poems by Gaiman. It’s been a long time since I read any of these titles, but I remember this being a wonderful book.
        “Anansi Boys” is somewhat similar to “American G-ds,” but shorter & on a different sort of religious form. A lot of Gaiman’s books, looking back, have a religious element. He came out with a book in 2018, “Norse Mythology,” which takes the subject matter & makes it into a novel. I really want to read that one!
        “The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes” is Gaiman’s opening graphic novel & the one that I read. Unfortunately, I read all of these books prior to 2010 & I have little memory of them, other than the rating in my crazy recording system I’ve kept since 1996.

        OK, I’m done ranting & raving. Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, up there with Stephen King. No pressure to enjoy either, of course. 🙂

        Oh, & I didn’t faint. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Yay! I’m glad you didn’t faint. Though it sounds like I am missing something! Haha, I’m not feeling pressure at all. 😉 Really, I’m not. Though thanks for the plug-in! It sounds really interesting.

        My apologies for being unresponsive. I had lots of meetings this past week and now I’m sick. Meh.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. I rarely faint from hearing surprising news. Now, standing up too quickly – that might make me faint. LOL

        I’m glad it sounds interesting! I hope you check it out. Or that you lie to me & say you did. 🤣

        You definitely do not have to apologize to me about taking too long to respond. I take forever to respond & my excuses are hardly as valid as yours.

        Weren’t you just sick recently? You poor dear!! 🙁 🍲

        Like

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