A few weeks ago, we discussed How To Give Constructive Criticism. Today, in continuing our series on the subject of complaining, we have Part II – The Most Dangerous Type Of Complainer…
And that is, someone whom I call, a denigrating or chronic complainer. These kinds of complaints serve no purpose. We’re not looking for a solution other than to point out the shortcomings of others and to bring them down in order to feel better about ourselves.
Now, I know you know a chronic complainer. Sometimes they’re complaining about everything including themselves. If you suggest a solution, they don’t want to hear it. They really just want to vent and bring everybody else down while doing so!
Listen, I’m no angel, and neither are you. We’ve all had those days where we just feel like complaining. I get it.
You have to be very careful, though, because it’s contagious. And it’ll not only infect you, but everyone around you, too.
Related anecdote: On reality TV there’s a ton of this particular kind of complaining. Why? I mean, we’re human. It can be very tempting to listen to others complain just for the sake of it. On these shows, a remedy to the problem is never intended, right? Sure, there are always exceptions, but in most cases, the characters are gossiping, stirring the pot, and causing problems.
Whether it’s a real-life conversation or scene you watch on TV, don’t you have that feeling afterward like you need to take a shower!? Well, the reason you feel that way is because you know what transpired was wrong.
Strive for relationships with people where there’s a level of trust built in. Therapeutic complaining allowed, but gossiping… that’s just never okay.
How, then, do you respond when someone wants to complain while offering no solution?
Well, you can use specific phrases that immediately turn the tide and don’t make the other person feel like you think you’re better than them. These replies are simply meant to communicate you’re not comfortable with this scenario.
“Oh, I just don’t feel really cool sharing these details about this person. Have you talked to them? I think you should probably talk to them.”
You redirect it and, at the same time, tell them you’re not comfortable with this.
“Ah, I don’t want to talk about that. Tell me what’s going on with you.”
That’ll turn things around, stat!
Here’s a challenge: Reach out to the person who you complained to recently and explain yourself. Own it.
“I don’t why I complained in that way about that individual. It was wrong. It was gossip. I shouldn’t have done it! Kindly erase that from the tapes of your memory and know that I’m not that kind of individual. Please accept my apology.”
That’s my challenge for you this week. I’m going to do it as soon as I publish this blog. When are you? Let me know in the comments!
And stay tuned for the 3rd and FINAL part of this series on complaining…