We all know that stress can lead to emotional eating, and we all know that stress is pretty much guaranteed in life. Newspapers, magazines, Web sites, and blogs are filled with techniques for curbing your appetite and reducing your cravings, but here’s an idea you might not have heard of before: Find yourself a bitch-buddy!

We all have times when we feel stressed-out. We all need time to process, whine, moan, and complain. It’s a natural part of who we are. What’s important, however, is that when you’re having one of those times, you don’t pollute everyone around you. Instead, you need a bitch-buddy: a nonjudgmental, confidential sounding board who will listen to you gripe. A bitch-buddy is a person you can talk to when you feel bitter, mean, nasty, and ugly.

At least once a week, I let my bitch-buddy know I need a “session” with him—I need for him to be my listening, nonjudgmental ear as I download my latest thoughts, adventures, and struggles. I’ve learned through past mistakes that if I were to whine and complain to friends or team members who perhaps didn’t understand that I was just having an off day, they’d jump to all sorts of inaccurate conclusions: “Uh-oh, Winn’s depressed. I’d better warn everyone. The company must be in trouble. My paycheck is going to bounce. I’d better find a new job.”

You might be wondering why I need to talk to my bitch-buddy so often. Please know that I’m not always whining and complaining in these sessions. Most of the time, I just need a sounding board—I just need to hear my own voice speak my own thoughts. I don’t want to gamble with the words I speak, so my bitch-buddy fits the bill. Bottom line, these sessions are more about my growth than they are about negative complaining and drama.

Bitch-Buddy Guidelines

Here are some guidelines to help you partner with your bitch-buddy in the most productive and effective ways.

First, decide who your bitch-buddy could be. Choose wisely, because the role that this person plays in your life is as important as having a great therapist, coach, medical doctor, or financial advisor. Perhaps sharing my book Be Nice (Or Else!) with some of your friends and confidants, and then asking for their input and response, could help you find your bitch-buddy. Once you know, then the two of you “contract” with each other.

You and your bitch-buddy agree that:

  • You only get one bitch-buddy to bitch to. If you make it a bad habit of bitching to more than one person, eventually half don’t want to hear it and the other half think you deserve your problems.
  • Your bitch-buddy isn’t just for bitching. You must also share the news when things are going great.
  • The bitch-buddy system goes both ways: You take turns and each be a buddy to the other.

Bitch-Buddy Contract

How to Be a Bitch-Buddy

  1. You must sit and LISTEN. Only give advice and input if they are requested.
  2. You absolutely cannot use the information outside of the conversation in which it was shared. You cannot share it with other people, and you cannot bring it up with the person at another time.
  3. The next day, the person who bitched to you will most likely be back to their wonderful, positive self. You cannot bring up the bitch session or information that was shared with you the previous day.

The bitch-buddy system works best when one person is bitching and one is supporting. The bitch session is not for matching wits, comparing stories, or having a who-had-the-worst-day competition.

My Bitch-Buddy Promise

  • YES, I will be your bitch-buddy.
  • You can complain, moan, whine, and bitch to me on those days when you need to get mean, nasty, and ugly.
  • I promise not to judge or think less of you, because you need to express yourself.
  • I promise that I will not do anything with the information you share.
  • I promise that I will not repeat it to anyone.
  • I promise that I will not give you advice or feedback unless you ask me to.
  • I promise that I will not hold the information against you later.
  • When you request a bitching session, I promise to hold back my personal complaints and woes for another bitching session at another time.

Winn Claybaugh is the author of Be Nice (Or Else!) and “one of the best motivational speakers in the country,” according to CNN’s Larry King. A business owner for over 25 years with over 8,000 people in his organization, Winn is the co-owner of hair care giant Paul Mitchell’s school division. Winn has helped thousands of businesses build their brands and create successful working cultures. His clients include Southwest Airlines, the Irvine Company, Vidal Sassoon, Entertainment Tonight, Mattel, For Rent magazine, Structure/Limited/Express, and others. Winn is a frequent guest on national radio and a regular contributor to online publications. Visit www.BeNiceOrElse.com to sign up for his free monthly Be Nice (Or Else!) newsletter.

Author's Bio: 

Intent.com is a premier wellness site and supportive social network where like-minded individuals can connect and support each others' intentions. Founded by Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika Chopra, Intent.com aims to be the most trusted and comprehensive wellness destination featuring a supportive community of members, blogs from top wellness experts and curated online content relating to Personal, Social, Global and Spiritual wellness.