Recently I read an article in Glamour Magazine that condemned the well-known and cherished Art of Bitching. While the author provided evidence from obscure studies about how Not Bitching will make you skinny, and beautiful, and happy, she also shed light on how hard it is to stop Bitching.
So at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night, I decided I would go for a whole week without Bitching.
And after a week of desperately trying, I found out it was really. damn. hard.
In fact, I had to start over at 11 p.m., because I received an email addressed to “Hannah,” not “Halah,” and I had a few words to say about that.
So what even is Bitching? For most women, even if we don’t realize it, bitching can account for a large amount of our communication. Whining about the broken printer, the guy who wont text back, the weekend spent with a mother-in-law. Women have learned that, when life hands you lemons, you don’t have to pretend to like lemonade.
A guilty pleasure for some, and the bane of existence for others, Bitching has come to be a powerful tool that every woman keeps in her back pocket. It’s how we release stress, collaborate with our coworkers, and often how we talk to our friends. In fact, that’s how a lot of women make friends, myself included.
Women bond over Bitching. If you hate your ex, chances are your best friend hates him too. And you probably became best friends when you realized you hate all the same people. In retrospect, this is disgusting. But it’s also really easy. And fun.
So there I was at breakfast Saturday morning. I announced to my friends that I was going to go a whole week without Bitching. They responded in shock, and playfully made bets at how long I could last.
But I could understand their point. See, I am a Grade-A whiner. I am a damsel in permanent distress, but in no way a shrinking violet. If I’m upset, chances are you’ll know about it. I have no poker face, no pain tolerance, and the cat has never had my tongue. This makes me VERY good at Bitching.
But for a whole week, I had to find a new hobby, a new conversational topic, and honestly, new content for my Twitter account.
At first, the noticeable differences were only external. I refrained from participating in beloved Bitch-fests with my friends; my tweets were few and far between. Overall, I was a lot quieter.
I quickly became very aware of how often I Bitch. I would start a conversation to complain about a test, or make fun of my boss, or groan about the weather, only to cut my story short with “never mind.”
Never mind? The only thing worse than Bitching is half-Bitching. No one wants to hear the first half of a witty remark. There’s no point!
Yet that was the answer to stop all the Bitching: Never. Mind.
If I just stopped giving attention to negative attitudes and comments, if I never minded the things that I’ve been Bitching about, I’d have so much more room to focus on positivity.
Not to mention hella free time.
To some, it might have looked like a holier-than-thou attitude, but as I stuck to my guns, I noticed that it had a positive effect on people other than myself. The most gratifying part was seeing my friends and coworkers notice their own Bitching, and try to cut down the volume.
Not Bitching, as it turns out, is just as contagious as Bitching.
On a scale of 1-to-murder, Bitching probably isn’t that high on the list, but it’s still pretty deadly to your mental wellbeing.
That said, completely abstaining from Bitching isn’t all that necessary. It comes in handy sometimes for a quick laugh, or a wine night full of venting with the girls. But there’s no reason for Bitching to be the sole proprietor of friendship and humor.
There’s a balance out there, I’m sure. I’m still looking for it. But until I find it and report back, bitch, please don’t kill my vibe.