Confirmed: Venting to a friend when you're stressed makes you feel worse

The results showed that when people with some traits of perfectionism faced daily setbacks, venting to a friend often made them feel less satisfied about their circumstances than before they talked about it.

“Venting is not an effective strategy for anyone trying to cope with daily stress, whether they have perfectionistic tendencies or not,” said social psychologist Brad J. Bushman, who teaches at Ohio State University and has researched aggression and coping, but was not involved in this study. “Research clearly shows that venting increases rather than decreases stress.”

The study found, instead, three other strategies that were effective coping strategies for people dealing with setbacks: acceptance, humor and positive reframing, which means looking for something good in the otherwise stressful event.