Looking to Share Emotional Burdens with a Friend? Before Sharing, Let’s Seek Consent

Consent matters.

That two-word phrase is used often these days when sexual consent is discussed. Those two words are right: consent matters, when it comes to sexual consent.

However, when you are hoping to possibly vent about a bad day at work or share something emotional or burdensome with something else, it’s also important to seek consent for doing that with the person you’re hoping to discuss with/vent to. In other words, another form of consent, that I call emotional consent, is important.

Emotional consent is when you seek someone else’s permission to tell them something(s) involving deep emotions or burdens. Through exercising this form of consent, you can share emotional, burdensome things only when the listener is physically, mentally, and emotionally able to handle it.

At this point, some of you might be thinking this: “Okay, emotional consent sounds great, but how can I exercise this?” I have four answers to that question:

  1. Ask yourself whether your friend will need to invest something significant in order to help you (whether it be time, emotional labor, or something else). If the answer is “yes,” I recommend seeking consent before sharing your burdens. If the answer is no, then chat away with your friend!
  2. Ask your friends questions along the lines of: “Can I share something heavy?” or “Can I vent about something?” if it turns out your friend does need to invest in you in some way. By asking these types of questions before moving a conversation further along, you give your friend the opportunity to say “yes” or “no,” depending on how your friend is doing. If your friend is happy to let you share, then you can share. HOWEVER, if there is an absence of an enthusiastic “yes,” ranging from “ummm…okay,” to “I guess,” to no response at all, to the straight-up “no,” then please do not think that you have emotional consent to share your burdens with your friend.
  3. If you’re going to talk about a specific type of issue or event that may bring emotions with someone (examples include sexual assault, divorce, and mental illness), make sure you give the content warning that your sharing will involve something with that specific topic. It’s important to do that because, without a content warning, you might jump right into an issue or story that reminds your friend of a traumatic event or set of events in their lives (and friends, of course, don’t want to put other friends in that type of situation).
  4. Make it clear that it’s okay if your friend does not want you to share the burden. A friend might worry that it would negatively affect the friendship if the friend is unable or unwilling to give emotional consent. However, if you reassure your friend that there is no such thing as a bad answer, even if your friend says “no,” then your friend doesn’t feel the need to listen to burdens without being emotionally ready for them.

Hopefully, what I said above gives a pretty good overview of what emotional consent is and why it’s important. However, I think it’s also extremely important to discuss what happens without that emotional consent. In my experiences of being on both the giving and receiving end of a lack of emotional consent, one or more of the following things often happens without it, none of them good:

  1. You dump burdens on the friend, and the friend doesn’t respond back because the friend just can’t emotionally deal with or consider the message, let alone respond to it.
  2. Your friend does respond, but does not give a wholehearted response because your friend just can’t handle your burdens fully at that time.
  3. Your friend just says that “I can’t handle this right now.” Or worse—your friend tells you that what you said has brought back bad memories.
  4. Your friend ends up being hurt emotionally by what you shared (whether that’s said or not), even if you didn’t intend it.

Instead of experiencing one or more of these potential events, my advice is to just seek emotional consent for heavy topics. Seek emotional consent from someone if you need to talk about your bad day at work, or something much deeper than that. If your friend consents to your talking about something(s) burdening you, then great! If not, then you will want to find someone else to talk to, as finding someone else to talk to would be in the best interests of you and your friend.

Indeed, consent matters.

Note: As emotional consent is something I consider “blindly just,” this is a “blindly just” post.

Also note that for those of you wondering how to avoid the emotional labor issues that I talked about in the post I shared on January 9, 2020 from another blogger (Arielle), emotional consent is a potential way for avoiding emotional labor issues.

How Wintry Weather is Not Friendly to People Struggling Physically or Mentally

An image of snow.

For able-bodied people like me, commuting in the snow takes a little bit more twisting and turning than it does on the average day. It’s annoying, but doable, for me.

For people with certain health challenges, whether it be physical health or mental health, the barriers created by individuals’ and/or society’s handling of winter weather, as well as barriers caused by the bad weather itself, can be problematic. Here are a few such barriers:

We as individuals don’t clear away a path wide enough for wheelchair users to navigate our sidewalks. 

Many wheelchair users need a pathway that’s at least 32 inches, so a pathway shorter than that will most definitely not be friendly to people using wheelchairs. For this, the solution is simple—just clear a wide pathway on our sidewalks!

We as a society have no effective way of handling the crosswalks that get plowed in. 

After major snowstorms, many a crosswalk in New York City, my hometown, get plowed under inches or even feet of snow. This affects wheelchair users, the young, people with other mobility issues (regardless of whether they use a walker or wheelchair or not) and the elderly the most, keeping all of these groups from effectively moving around. I am personally not aware of effective yet reasonable alternatives to this problem, though if anyone has solutions you can let me know in the comments section down below!

Pathways between sidewalks and buses are nonexistent or not wide enough for wheelchair users to pass, or for people with other mobility issues to navigate.

This is something I only noticed during a blizzard in January 2018, but boy is it a problem! Many pathways between sidewalks and buses that should exist don’t exist, making access to the bus impossible unless you’re completely able-bodied as I am. If the entity/entities responsible can shovel a pathway between sidewalks and buses wide enough for wheelchair users and people with other mobility issues to pass, the problem can be fixed.

The bad weather has adverse affects on mental health. 

A string of bad weather days can affect people who deal with claustrophobia (fear of involving being confined to small spaces), and the weather can cause great deals of stress that can be harmful to mental health, to name two. Nobody per se is at fault for these issues, but nevertheless we should be aware that these issues exist.


So next time a snow or ice storm comes, some of us may rejoice while others may complain. But regardless of what our own reactions are, we must be sensitive to the challenges that people with disabilities face in the elements. To that end, feel free to comment below is there’s some issue (physically or mentally) caused by winter weather that I did not mention in this post.

Shared Post: I Do Not Have to Perform Your Emotional Labor

One thing I’ve increasingly heard from many friends in marginalized communities is the great demand for performing something called emotional labor, which is “the process by which people manage and often suppress their feelings, their facial and verbal expressions, and their body language in order to fulfill the emotional demands of some task.”[1] One common refrain I’ve heard from these friends is that they are exhausted from having to perform this extensive emotional labor, especially when the labor asked of my friends involves something that people can find out themselves through minimal research.

Arielle Rebekah Gordon at Trans and Caffeinated wrote about her own experiences with having to perform extensive emotional labor. As an activist for transgender rights, she, like many of my friends in marginalized communities, has expressed just how exhausting it is to consistently perform emotional labor for other people.

While the emotional labor asked of Arielle may be in some ways different from the emotional labor asked of people in other marginalized communities,[2] many of the same issues expressed in her post about emotional labor have been expressed by friends also having to perform extensive emotional labor. They are issues that others of us should be aware of.

So, I hope that my readers also read her post on emotional labor, and also give her blog a look!

You can find Arielle’s post on emotional labor here.

You can find Arielle’s blog here.


[1] This definition of emotional labor comes from the post I shared. The only difference between the definition I have and the definition from the author of the shared post (Arielle) is that my definition is in the third person while her definition is in the first person.

[2] For example, the common question of, “Have you had ‘the surgery’?” is a question that is specific to people who identify as transgender.

A Few Words Heading into the 2020 United States Elections

Image of someone casting a ballot.

This calendar year, we already know what one of the biggest stories will be: the elections for President of the United States. The first part of the year will focus on the Democratic Party primaries and caucuses, while much of the second half of the year will have campaigning for the election in November between the Democratic nominee and President Donald Trump.

For all my readers who live in the United States (which is most of my readers), I ask that you keep in mind issues such as economic justice, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ issues, environmentalism, immigration, and more, as you consider which candidate to support. In other words, I hope my readers keep in mind the sorts of issues that I try to talk about here on a weekly basis.

Too often, these issues, and other issues relevant to those on the margins in American society, are not taken into consideration as much as they should be. The good news, however, is that every voting American has the power to change that in 2020.

Blog Wrap-Up: Calendar Year 2019

Around this time of year, many of us are looking back at the year—what has gone well, and what didn’t go as well as intended. As such, I thought it was appropriate that I would do a blog wrap-up for 2019, the first time I’m doing such a thing on Blind Injustice.

It was a year when I made some changes to when, and how, I shared my content. I decided to start re-publishing old blog posts sometimes (an idea I got from some other blogs that did the same), decided to change my blog post schedule, and actively use Pinterest as a way to promote my blog. For a person who has, at times in the past, been scared of change, that’s a lot of change. However, these changes have been for the better—re-publishing old blog posts has given my newer readers an opportunity to read some of my older content, my changed blog post schedule works better for me (and many of my readers, I think) than the schedule I used to have, and my post on bisexual stereotypes has been shared around a lot on Pinterest. I was particularly hesitant about using Pinterest because I was afraid of not being able to find appropriate pictures to go with my blog posts, but I’m now very glad to use that social media platform to promote this blog! Sometimes, change is a good thing.

I was also nominated for two blog awards this year, both of which were Mystery Blogger Awards. I want to yet again thank Jordyn at The Chronically Unimaginable as well as Ospreyshire’s Realm for the nominations. Even though this is technically a personal blog, I tend not to talk that much about myself, so these award nominations are a cool opportunity to share parts of myself with my readers.

Another big surprise was that I was able to pull off my LGBTQ+ Stereotypes Series. Even at this time last year, if you asked me whether I felt I was capable of pulling off such a blog post series, my answer would almost certainly be “no.” However, I’m glad that I was able to do the series, as I felt like a learned a lot just by working on it (and, as far as I can tell, many of my readers also learned a lot).

The biggest surprise this year, however, was not my willingness to change some things around or the awards I won, but the fact that my post on men and mental health got so much attention! I don’t even primarily consider myself a mental health blogger (though I have published on some mental health topics), yet that post got more views, more likes, and more comments than anything else I published this calendar year! I didn’t even think that this post was really that much better than most of my other posts, yet my post on men and mental health got attention.

I guess the theme of this wrap-up (if there is one) is that you never know what you’ll learn or get yourself into with blogging. When I started blogging, I couldn’t have dreamt of winning awards, having the discipline to do a blog series, or get as much attention as I have with some of my posts. Yet, it happened, at times I would least expect it. Blogging can be full of surprises, and a lot of good surprises, at that.

Note that I will not publish a post next Monday because it’s the week of New Year’s Day.