Talking To Strangers Online: A Therapy

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Everyone needs someone to talk to, whether it's unloading your personal problems on to someone who will just listen or to talk aimlessly because you're bored and lonely...

We all need someone to open up to from time to time, someone who you can have a judgement-free conversation with, who will be compassionate about whatever is on your mind, and whilst family, friends and partners can be great for that, it can just be easier to vent at a stranger. Today I want to spotlight two websites where you can do just that; 7 Cups and Blah Therapy are places where you can find instant support for free, connect to a 'Listener' and talk talk talk talk talk talk (just imagine that in the tune of Rhi Rhi's Werk).

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been there, I've done that, I've offloaded my problems onto a complete stranger. It's okay to do that. And do you know what, it actually really helps. There's a stigma surrounding this, I know, because I'm feeling it as I'm writing this, but hell, if this can improve your mental health or just make you feel better, go talk.

I have been both a 'Venter' and a 'Listener' and have a few experiences which I'm going to share so you know what to expect, regardless what side you're on.

My first time being a 'Venter' was on 7 Cups where I was connected to a stranger, trained to listen to what option I selected I wanted to talk about. From the get go, I was able to check out their profile, read their reviews and ratings - all whilst not having to sign up or pay anything. The person I spoke to was really understanding and kind, which was exactly what I needed. They told me a little about themselves which made opening up easier, because despite being anonymous, it's something I struggle with. We talked for hours and they genuinely made a difference by taking the weight off my shoulders. We have spoken for a little while now and actually broke our anonymity, which is not the safest thing to do, but it turned out they're a blogger who wanted me to read some of their work. It was and continues to be a positive experience, so yeah, go hence forth and brain dump.

Blah Therapy is pretty similar, you're assigned a random username for 24 hours and you're free to chat to someone anonymously. My experience as a 'Venter' was different here, I didn't do a huge brain dump but I learned a lot. Again, the stranger I spoke to was really nice and to be honest, really relatable. We clicked straight away and discussed just about anything and everything; from TV shows and hobbies to science and relationships. So weird and kinda pointless. But it wasn't. I have, or so I think/thought, a hard time maintaining conversations and meeting new people, yet the conversation flowed. I left feeling uplifted and that just being 'me' was good enough.

As a 'Listener' I learned a whole host of people from around the world use these spaces to vent; there were a fair few with relationship issues, ones with friendship problems, some about bullying, embarrassing moments, depression, fears and even conspiracy theories. It's super interesting to learn and ultimately help other people out - and like, so many people thanked me for helping them and making a difference, which feels pretty incredible. If there's one thing I've taken from my experiences it's that communication is everything. But yeah, the prime directive of a 'Listener' is 'it's not about you' so the focus is solely on the 'Venter' and whatever they want to talk about. Whichever side of the conversation you're on, it is a rewarding experience.

So there it is - you might know about these kind of space safes already but if not, I wholeheartedly recommend them. A problem shared is a problem halved, however cliché, it's true.

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