Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Outside of confession with my spiritual father, is it okay to vent or express my emotions to others, such as to family or close friends, regarding situations in my life that are bothering me? Of course, I do not mean talking about my shortcomings, or a personal habit, since that should only be discussed with my spiritual father, but a situation that occurred at school, work, etc.?

Is venting or talking to someone about things or situations in my life me complaining, not being thankful, and showing God that I do not look to all the good that He does for me everyday? What does the Bible say about venting, expressing, talking things out, and sharing thoughts and feelings towards a situation with others?

It is healthy to express feelings of joy and frustrations with persons whom you feel a certain mutual closeness. These people in your life ought to be wisely selected. They may be friends or family. Others may be trained Christian counselors or Christian lay helpers. Venting can sometimes be interpreted as complaining, especially if the focus is off your own feelings of frustration, but rather an outpour of criticism on others or a system. There are many examples in the Holy Bible as well as in the biographies of the saints that exhibit the benefit of friends and confidants. The prophet Moses turned to his father-in-law, Jethro, for advice. Kind David's dearest friend was Jonathan, the son of his archenemy, Saul. Ruth befriended and consulted with her mother-in-law, Naomi, even after the demise of her husband. Esther shared her thoughts with her elderly cousin Mordecai, who was also a mentor to her. Nabal was foolish and refused the wise counsel of his wife Abigail and paid the price with his life. The Lord instructed His disciples to go out in pairs during their ministry. Other saints include St Anthony and St Paul, the Roman brothers Maximus and Domatius, the two families living in harmony that were visited by St Macarius the Great, and many, many others. The idea of councils is a consortium of an exchange of thoughts to resolve issues with cohesive collaboration. Though you may have many friends, very few can truly be effective confidants in your life. Sometimes, people may unintentionally reveal information about others that could be embarrassing or even devastating. Therefore, choose wisely what and to whom you wish to vent and from whom to seek advice.  
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