Friends who complain and "vent" all the time

I’ve recently realized that a lot of my time spent talking to long-time friends is listening to them complain, “vent,” and ask my opinion about if they’re being X (unreasonable etc.) None of these friends do thought work. I’ve shared some LCS podcast episodes but it’s clear they’re not interested in changing their ways at this time, and I definitely don’t want to push stuff on others or try to “fix” them because I know my time is much better spent on what I can control (me and my thoughts).

Last night, I zoomed with a really long-term friend who has a ton of amazing things going on in her life, and almost the whole time was spent with me listening to her complain about her partner, complain about his kids, complain about not having her own space in the house, and on and on. It’s so frustrating. I don’t mind listening a little, but I had a headache at the end of the conversation. Also, I used to find this interesting and used to love to trade venting and complaining, but now I find it boring as F. I realize I’m the one who has changed.

My mind keeps wanting to go to what I should do or say in the moment, which is funny because I remember thinking about how unproductive it sounded when my friend was talking about how she plans to confront her partner’s daughter to get the daughter to change how she talks about certain things (something innocuous my friend took offense to, IMO.) But here I am wanting to focus on what I should say to my friend to get HER to change. I do see the irony there, but in my case, it seems so logical.

So, then I think I “should” come up with some new thoughts to make this more bearable. I’m struggling to come up with new thoughts to think that would make my friends’ constant complaining anything other than extremely annoying and exhausting. The best I can do is something like, it’s OK to be annoyed with your friends sometimes (so at least I’m not fighting reality.) Or “everyone complains sometimes.”