In today’s installment of What’s Ruining Us As Humans, we present the unhealthy risks of Gchatting. You know, that thing we all do “off the record” lest our boss is watching while we shred our co-workers. Apparently all of this angry typing is bad for us.

Over at New York, Melissa Dahl parses a 2007 paper which asserts that venting in the middle of a heated moment is bad news. Published by Jeffrey M. Lohr in The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, the paper dug up a 1969 study that subjected students to a professor teaching a class how to make origami sailboats. But instead of measured instructions, the professor talked too quickly, mussed up the demonstration and cut short the class’s folding time. Some of the students were allowed to review the speedy professor mid-presentation while the rest reviewed the professor at the end. Ultimately, the midpoint reviewers were angrier than the endpoint reviewers. This somehow proves that Gchatting your friend that, say, you hate transcribing and you don’t want to do it, is making you angrier.

I don’t buy it.

In life, it’s pretty clear that letting your anger work for you constructively is the adult thing to do. If you vent via Gchat, the best thing that can happen is releasing your incendiary feelings will help you to refashion your perspective on your problem.

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For me, Gchat venting is the thing to do when, say, I want to fight a sweaty stranger for touching my arms with theirs on a hot subway car. Ew. Cursing them out in the privacy of your own inbox is a basic human right. How else am I going to maintain my sanity on the train home without resorting to violence?

In Lohr’s research, Gchatting isn’t a path to a better working conclusion, it’s just a collection of grievances. But for the rest of us, Gchat venting should be a measuring stick to clarify whether a situation is annoying, infuriating, deserves real action or, you know, another seat on the A train.


Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.

Image via Bruce Almighty.

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