To me, there are few things in life worse than listening to someone complain. It just brings everyone down and creates a negative atmosphere. Yet, everywhere we turn, somebody is complaining about something. The glass is seen as half empty instead of half full. We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that certain things shouldn’t happen to us. It’s a ‘Why me?’ attitude instead of a ‘Why not?’ approach to life. Our time would be better spent turning the lemons that come our way into lemonade.
The thing about complaining is that nothing good can come from it. Rehashing the details of a particular scenario will not change the outcome, it won’t make you feel better, in fact it will probably make you feel worse as you take yourself back to that very moment in time and relive it all over again.
Every once in a while I catch myself in the act. Last week I scheduled for a plumber to come out to the house to attend to a leaky toilet. I had set the appointment up two days prior and the secretary let me know that my home was only 10 minutes away from their office which was convenient I thought. When the day arrived I was both surprised and frustrated that they didn’t show. I followed up to make sure that someone was in fact still coming out to my house after half an hour. I had waited 45 mintues before they finally showed up.
In my mind, I was upset that nobody had even called to let me know they’d be late and when they arrived there was no apology for disrespecting my time. Some might say I had a right to be frustrated. Regardless, there was no excuse for sharing my frustration by complaining to a friend about how it threw off my schedule later that day. All that resulted was her commiserating and sharing her frustration as she recounted a time that she ahd waited all day for a plumber who never showed. As this type of ‘sharing’ usually goes, we accomplished nothing more than venting in the process.
Thankfully, I stopped myself as soon as I saw what I was doing and changed the subject immediately. It’s a daily effort to be mindful of our actions and one worth investing in as we as adults serve as role models to others, especially young children. As it pertains to dating, it’s important to remember that this type of behavior is what a potential mate will watch for also. Men don’t enjoy the company of women who complain, or gossip for that matter. It’s just one more reason to work on this area. So, here are some tips to avoid getting caught up in the complaining trap.
How to Refrain from Complaining
1. Remember, life is not a Contest
Do you ever notice that while amongst a group of friends or colleagues, when one person starts complaining about their morning, the traffic on their way to work or how little their spouse helps out around the house, that someone will usually jump right in afterwards with something that will top what they just heard. You’d almost think complaining was a competitive sport! It begins with, “You think that’s bad, listen to how long I waited in line…..” And so it continues. This is how we perpetuate complaining and give a voice to it.
Instead of being the next to enter the complain game, be careful to sit back and observe what is happening. Try to steer the conversation in another direction with a completely different subject. If that attempt does not work, it’s best to bow out gracefully and remove yourself from the situation. If you’re at a party, you can excuse yourself from a group conversation and mingle with others. At an intimate dinner party however, it can prove to be a bit more challenging with nowhere to run. In those instances, changing the subject is your only option after which point, sitting tight and enduring it is the alternative. This is a great time to evaluate if these are the kinds of people you really want to continue spending time with, if much of the conversation was dominated by negativity. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself get sucked in!
2. Gossip is really just Socially Accepted Complaining & Jealousy
3. Facts vs. Feelings
There are different types of complaining, and when you are in a situation where something isn’t right, it is okay to speak up so that the issue may be corrected. They key is to do this is a pleasant way regardless of how you might be feeling in the moment. It’s all about the facts, not your feelings. If you’re dining at a nice restaurant and your steak appears to be rare when you ordered it medium well, mentioning it will benefit both you and the restaurant. You want to enjoy your meal and overall experience and the restaurant staff want you to be happy with your experience also so you’ll leave happy and become a returning customer possibly recommending them to others.
Politely point out to the the server that you had ordered your steak medium well, at which point they should have it taken care of. Causing a scene and going off about how you paid good money to dine at their restaurant to enjoy a meal with your significant other, only to have to eat your meal alone while they have nearly finished theirs, crosses the line. People will be more willing to work with you to make things right when you are courteous.
4. Create Your World & Be a Guiding Light to Others
It’s important to remember that in life we can’t change someone else, only ourselves. There really isn’t much use in pointing out to another person how much they complain or voice our concern for how negative it is (unless of course they are your own children). Other people only change because they want to, not because we want them to. The best way to help and positively influence others, as with most things, is to lead by example.
This is actually one of my all time favorite quotes. We would be wise to heed Maya’s advice. While we can’t control everything in life, we have a choice everyday as to what our attitude will be. It is not in the joyous experiences, but through experiencing life’s difficult circumstances that reveal our true character.
I’d love to hear from you. How have you removed yourself from others who were a dark cloud of negativity or overcome complaints in your own life/home? As always, anonymous comments are welcome. 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend!