To vent or not to vent... that is the question!

Generally, people here are tough-skinned – they can shout at one another, vehemently disagree, and then later have lunch together.

Telfed opened a Goldene Medina exhibition celebrating 70 years of South African Aliyah at the Bloomfield Library of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on December 23 (photo credit: STEVE LINDE)
Telfed opened a Goldene Medina exhibition celebrating 70 years of South African Aliyah at the Bloomfield Library of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on December 23
(photo credit: STEVE LINDE)

It’s not unusual to hear heated debates at any given time in a newsroom. Journalists generally have strong opinions on various issues, and are for the most part not shy to voice their views with their colleagues. So, I couldn’t help but smile recently, when during a quick coffee break at the Tel Aviv studios of i24NEWS, I overheard two Israeli producers having what I thought sounded like a seemingly robust disagreement. Hands were flying, voices were raised and both men spoke with great passion over each other, apparently oblivious to those around them.
You can imagine my surprise then, when chatting to them later, that they explained that they were, in fact, agreeing with one other.
“Really,” I replied. “Where I come from, that kind of charged interaction would constitute a dispute, at the very least, if not a full-scale blowout!”
The two men laughed, explaining their theory that their ability to loudly vent their thoughts in a normal conversation with a friend or colleague is part of the reason why they don’t have to spend time in therapy – like so many people the world over – telling strangers how they feel!
Of course, much of this analysis on the need to vent one’s views was said in jest, but as a person who has spent most of her life living in South Africa, it certainly got me thinking. Since moving to Israel, friends here have often commented how polite and calm South Africans are – they’ve noticed that we wait our turn in a line, are generally softly spoken and wait for a person to finish speaking before sharing our thoughts. I’ve always thought that having a calm disposition was an advantage, both personally and professionally. But my enthusiastic colleagues raise an interesting point. Perhaps venting one’s views in real time is liberating, healthy and even therapeutic?
The other observation that seems worth noting, is how quickly people move on, after having a real disagreement. Generally, people here are tough-skinned – they can shout at one another, vehemently disagree, and then later have lunch together. An angry taxi driver can gesticulate at a speeding motorist, hoot and then resume their upbeat conversation in the car, as if nothing has happened.
As a life coach, I’ve spoken to many people who carry their anger or disappointment with them, for days, weeks or even months after an incident or interaction. The issue keeps festering inside as they overanalyze how they could have or maybe should have responded. They take the disagreement personally, and allow it to remain an issue, long after the fact. My colleague may well be onto something – have your say at the time, move on and go back to your normal, happy state.
Editor’s note: Incidentally, this is one of the points that was made by speakers at a Telfed exhibition at the Bloomfield Library of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on December 23 celebrating 70 years of South African Aliyah, the contribution of South African Jewry to Israel and 175 years of Jewish life in South Africa. At the event, Telfed’s Jerusalem chair Roy Scher presented awards of honor to three distinguished South African immigrants – Prof. Gideon Shimoni, an associate professor at the Hebrew University’s Department of Contemporary Jewry who wrote, inter alia, “Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience, 1910-1967,” Maxine Fassberg, former general manager of Intel Israel and Michael Dick, founder and CEO of c2a Security, a company that deals with automotive cyber security protection.