Well, hello there July! I’m glad you’re finally here, and now that you are, maybe we could hit the pause button to make you last; you know, like the months of January, February and March seem to last. I’m sure my readers can read between the lines here, BUT, I probably shouldn’t complain. Maybe I’ll call it a little venting and move on.
Last month I talked about the three different kind of complainers as well as the negative effect chronic complaining can have on your mental and physical wellbeing. As promised, this month we will learn how to deal with the chronic complaining as well as exploring to see if there is such a thing as “the right way” to complain.
How do you fare in the complaining department?
Take a moment to consider how many things you complain about during the course of a day. There’s endless things to complain about; the weather, your neighbors, friends, kids, parents, boss, co-workers, bills, weight, politics, bad service at a restaurant, store, repair shop. And then there’s everyone’s favorite — overseas customer service for cable, internet, or telephone providers (don’t even get me started)!
As you can see, the list could go on and on. So, do you think you complain more than you should? Or do you live or work with someone whose only form of communication seems to be complaining. Either way let’s look at how to deal with both.
4 STEPS TO STOP COMPLAINING
- Listen to yourself. Most complainers don’t think of themselves as being negative. So, the first and most important step is to listen to yourself and recognize when you are complaining.
- Take a breather. When you catch yourself starting to complain, pause, take a moment to figure out what triggered the complaint. Then describe to yourself what you are thinking and feeling. Ask yourself if there is a purpose to complain. In other words, do you see a positive outcome by complaining.
- Accept responsibility. Once you have figured out the emotions behind the complaint, seek out a solution. Determine what needs to be done to improve the situation and then address the people who can do something about it. Often, you will find the answer lies wholly in your court. For example: better time management, cutting ties to a bad relationship, sticking to a budget, or taking better care of yourself. In spite of what the problem is that is concerning you, remember, you have to the power to take control and do something about it.
- Create new habits. When an old complaint wants to rear its ugly head, turn it around; see if you can come up with a positive to be grateful for instead. For example: Instead of complaining that it’s been raining for three days straight, think of a positive—That at least it’s making your grass nice and green and not piling up as snow waiting to be shoveled. (See how I turned that around regarding our soggy spring?) Hopefully by the time you read this the ground has dried up and the weather has decided to play nicey-nice. Anyway, focusing on the positive rather than the negative will not only improve your mood, it might just change your life!
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE CHRONIC COMPLAINER
Because chronic complainers are typically resistant to solutions it can make the job of coping with them quite taxing at times. The key to dealing with them is to first understand his or her mindset.
Chronic complainers see the world rather than themselves as being negative. Subsequently, they feel justified in their copious complaining about the irritating and unfair circumstances in their lives.
Therefore, you won’t be too successful in convincing them that their circumstances are not as bad as they think. In fact, if you try, you will quickly discover they have a large bevy of other misfortunes to try to convince you otherwise. So instead, try using one of the three tips below to see if you can get a more favorable outcome.
TIP 1 – GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT. The main reason complainers complain is to get sympathy and emotional validation for their perceived difficulties so just go ahead and give them what they want. You will find the best and quickest way to shorten the complaint session is to validate their feelings, convey sympathy and then redirect their attention in another direction.
TIP 2 – RECOGNIZE A TRUE CALL FOR HELP. Even chronic complainers will have valid and legitimate complaints at some point in time. If you can sense they really want help, still offer sympathy but quickly follow it up with some pertinent advice. Or better yet, ask them if they could have the perfect outcome to their situation what would it look like. Then have them think of a couple of things they could do to make it happen. Hopefully this will motivate them to handle future complaints as well.
TIP 3 – SET SOME BOUNDARIES. And finally, in the case where the chronic complainer is someone close to you it’s important to set some boundaries. Let them know you want to be there for them but having the same conversation over and over again is not doing either of you any good. Be open and honest with them about the effect the complaining is having on you. Convey that even though you would like to help them, the constant complaining is causing you to become stressed too. You might encourage them to talk to someone qualified to help them manage their issues more successfully.
COMPLAINING THE RIGHT WAY
When you have a legitimate complaint, go to the person who has the authority to do something about it. Sticking to the facts and knowing what you want your desired outcome to be will be the most effective.
There will be other times where you just need to vent and that’s okay! It’s actually healthy for you to do this, IF, you do it in the right way. So, go ahead. When frustrations start to build find a person you can trust and blow off a little steam. Voicing frustrations in small doses can be a great stress reliever. Just be sure those small doses don’t turn into a cycle of complaining to anyone and everyone without the purpose of resolving your issues.
So you see, complaining does have its benefits when handled the correct way. However, if you feel you are complaining all the time but getting nowhere, why not set up an appointment with me, (Kris Henderson), at 616-516-1570. Together we will work to uncover the hidden feelings leading to this behavior and find a solution for a better and more optimal outcome.