When does "sharing" become "dumping"?

Within 15 minutes of leaving what was actually a pretty satisfactory day at work (completed task-wise, that is,) after a particularly tough week, I realized I was in a bona fide funk. Started out thinking of myself as pensive, then overtired, then sensitive, then overwhelmed...and on it went. Pretty soon I realized that given the right set of circumstances, I could actually have myself a good cry.

Instead of putting myself in that right set of circumstances for the good cry, I decided instead to keep checking off things I needed to get done. I'm horridly behind on personal emails, have a ton of freelance work that's been pushed to the side in lieu of this regular (albeit part-time) job that took more hours than usual this week, and just needed to handle some general computing. 

After working on that a while, and cleaning up some more clutter in my in-box, I noticed the name of a friend with whom I sometimes exchange truly satisfactory emails. We're not close in the "hang out at each other's homes every few nights" kind of way, or even in the "pick up the phone and ask 'whassup?' on the weekends" kind of way, either. But we have a great connection, nonetheless, that works for both of us, quite well. We share a great lunch or dinner on occasion, have similar senses of humor (both appreciating the ludicrous in much of what we observe, for example,) and both, too, tend to look for what's good in the world rather than what isn't. This, I realized, is the friend I need to talk to now!

So I set about writing a truly long, truly rambly, truly honest email. One of those you might read back over and think, "Self...you shouldn't oughtta' send that." If you were smart. People, I'm telling you I dumped on this woman. Seriously let it all hang out. Even let myself indulge in a bit of whiny, self-pity, if I am completely honest.

By the time I was through? Oh yea, I felt much, much better. But I didn't stop. Nope, I actually let myself send that email! I only hope she reads it when she's in a strong mood, perhaps with a glass of wine in her hand. I can't say why, but something about the thought of merely letting it go, once I'd written it, and thinking of the writing as a cathartic practice in itself just wasn't good enough. I needed to hit that "send" button. I needed to be heard.

It's possible the guilt won't be too strong, once it arrives full-force. This friend, as I've said, tends to "really get me." And she's strong. And insightful. With healthy boundaries. Which means she gets the difference between "Eek, Melody's about to go over the edge," and "She's processing and there's value in that." At least I sure hope I'm right about that! 

But when is too much dumping just too much? I like to think I didn't quite reach that threshhold. I like to think I stayed far enough away from the line, even, that my funk won't rub off on her. And if not? I hope she tells me in her gentle way, so I'll know for next time that maybe even when it feels like the right thing to do? Yea, really...maybe you shouldn't hit send...