I Need Someone to Talk To

When life hurts, your emotions seem to trap you. You need to let go of all those fears, anxieties and worries, but... who will listen to you? I need someone to talk to! Keep reading as we look into this a little more!
I Need Someone to Talk To
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 February, 2022

“I need someone to talk to.” All of us, at some point, have felt that need. There have been situations that completely overcame you, times that your emotions have been a mess, clouding everything you do, extinguishing your perspectives, and even making it difficult to breathe. Fear, anxiety, sadness… where do you start?

If there’s something more important than knowing how to begin to unravel all these thoughts and sensations, it’s knowing who to pour out your heart to. Why? Because not everyone is good enough, and not everyone is willing.

Moreover, sometimes, you can’t even get the support you need from those closest to you. Your partner, friends, and family, for example. It just takes a negative comment, or some unhelpful advice, to worsen your already-damaged state of mind.

When you want to unburden yourself about something specific, or look for support, then it’s clear that not everyone is suitable or competent enough for such a task.

Because, when it comes down to it, what you want is more than just to talk or communicate. You’re looking for “mirror people”, in whom you can see yourself without being judged.

You want people who are a refuge to turn to and who can help you stop feeling anguish. You also need people who can bring you healing just by looking in their eyes and feeling their presence.

A sad woman.

I need someone to talk to: why, with whom, and how?

Nothing defines a human being as much as their ability to communicate. However, even though we’re all fairly competent at expressing ourselves with words, the same doesn’t apply to our emotional communication.

In this area, it’s common for problems to arise. We’re reticent to do so because we find it difficult. In addition, no one has taught us how to talk adequately about what hurts and worries us.

Studies such as the one conducted at Purdue University in the United States by Dr. Brant R. Burleson clearly show the great relevance for all of us to have the emotional support of those closest to us. However, it’s important to be clear about one thing: having someone who provides good “emotional support” doesn’t always mean you’ll be able to have authentic heart to heart conversations with them.

To understand this better, we’re going to give you an example. You can usually count on the closeness and emotional support of your partner or even your mother. However, when you need to really talk to someone about deeper aspects, these people may not be the most suitable ones for the task at hand.

Why? Well, maybe because things have happened to you that you don’t want those people to know about. Or it could quite simply be because, even though they love you very much, they aren’t the most suitable people when it comes to letting off steam about certain things. Let’s have a closer look at this.

Why do you need someone to talk to when you’re having a hard time?

You really need someone to talk to, either because something has happened to you, or because you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or worried about something. Human beings often need to get things “off their chest” and let off steam. Therefore, something as elementary, but powerful, as talking and sharing your emotions is always the best strategy for these reasons:

  • You feel that you’re finally “doing something”. Talking about something means that you’re doing something active. You’re already doing something positive and healthy for yourself. It’s a change and all change is good.
  • By talking to someone, you’re not only offering information and venting what you feel. When you communicate, you’re also listening to yourself and this exercise acts as a mirror and allows you to discover more about yourself.
  • When you vent your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, you realize that, in some way, things aren’t as bad as you thought. Silence can often make you feel trapped and can aggravate what you feel. When you speak, you start to relax and, gradually, light starts to dawn on the situation.

Who should you talk to?

When you need someone to talk to, not everyone is suitable. It’s important to realize this right from the start. Sometimes, no matter how much a person may love us, they just might not be the right person for different reasons:

  • When it comes to talking to someone about things that are hurting and worrying you, you need someone who can respect your privacy. The last thing that you need is for them to share your secrets with someone else.
  • You need someone who knows how to listen and be with you. Nothing else. The last thing the other person should do is start giving you their opinions, challenge what you say, or tell you what they’d do in your situation.
  • The person shouldn’t judge you nor should they question or criticize what you say. If they start to do this, then they can do you more harm than good.

Likewise, this person should also have qualities that facilitate emotional communication. Qualities such as empathy, closeness, active listening, sensitivity, and humanity.

Sometimes, you can use a friend. However, other times, the most suitable figure when you need someone to talk to is a psychologist. Not only should they have the characteristics we’ve just pointed out, but they’ll also have the necessary tools to help you deal with your problem.

A sad woman.

You need someone to talk to: where do you start?

“When I need someone to talk to, I don’t always know where to start. My head is full of feelings, thoughts, and emotions. I just feel exhausted. And the never-ending exhaustion messes my mind up even more. That’s why I don’t always know how to start talking about these things.”

The words above are commonly heard from people who come to therapy for the first time or who simply decide to be honest with someone close to them.

Whatever the case, it’s a good idea to have some simple strategies that can help you (or others).

  • Explain how you’re feeling right now, at this very moment. Release the things that come to your mind and the sensations you can feel inside you.
  • Don’t be ashamed if your voice starts to crack. Don’t worry if the tears come; let them go. Speak without fear. Remember that you’re in a safe place and that showing your emotions is healthy and necessary. You’ll feel better as a result.
  • Explain how long you’ve been feeling this way.
  • Try to find the cause, or the source of it all, and talk about it. Explain things clearly.
  • Be honest; resorting to half-truths or covering things up won’t help you at all. If you’ve reached the moment when you really need someone to talk to, then that means it’s time to release what’s inside. Let all your barriers fall.
  • Try to use the personal pronoun “I” at all times. It’ll allow you to channel your emotions (I feel, I fear, I think…).
  • Look into the other person’s eyes. Their closeness and warmth will guide you with affection so that you can speak more easily.

In conclusion, most of us will go through times in our lives when we feel the need to talk to someone. Let’s choose well. Neither should we forget that, in these situations, the people who are often most qualified to help are professional psychologists.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Burleson, Brant. (2003). The Experience and Effects of Emotional Support: What the Study of Culture and Gender Differences Can Tell Us About Close Relationships, Emotion, and Interpersonal Communication. Personal Relationships. 10. 1 – 23. 10.1111/1475-6811.00033.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.