Dare To Live Without Limits

Bryan Golden

Complaining takes time away from finding solutions

Is complaining an effective strategy for solving problems? Will complaining improve your situation? Do others enjoy listening to you complain? The answer to all three questions is no. Then why do people complain?
There are a number of reasons a person complains. He or she may be looking for sympathy, assistance, support, or just letting off steam. There are also people who are habitual whiners who are never satisfied or content.
In the case of sympathy, there is an erroneous assumption that if enough other people feel sorry for them, it will somehow improve the complainer's situation. All that will be accomplished is that others will grow tired of their moaning and give them a wide berth. Everyone has their own problems and very few people want to spend their discretionary time listening to the tales of woe of others.
Sympathy seekers tend to dwell on their problems rather than seeking solutions. When potential solutions are presented, they invariably find fault with and summarily dismiss them. These complainers seek attention and monopolize conversations. They look for opportunities to show how their plight is worse than everyone else's.
Spending time with sympathy seekers can be draining. They are consumed with their own situation and show little or no interest in other people. Regardless of how good you may feel, a gripe session with a sympathy seeker will depress your mood.
Some complainers are looking for assistance in solving a problem. In this case they are interested in advice that will lead to a solution. The danger here is that they will indiscriminately seek guidance from anyone. In their attempt to overcome an obstacle, they will try virtually any remedy offered without considering the qualifications of the source.
Following bad advice can exacerbate a problem. Advice seekers that jump from one bad suggestion to another will become frustrated as they fail to solve their problem. The result is the erroneous conclusion that their situation has no solution.
Complainers in search of advice must be very selective in whom they approach. Only those who have successfully solved similar problems or who have appropriate expertise should be sought out. When the right person is identified, they should be asked for advice directly rather than complaining to them.
Perhaps a complainer is looking for support. They may be overwhelmed by unexpected events or overloaded with responsibilities. This type of complainer is likely looking for help rather than advice. If you are so inclined, offer to lend a hand.
Even when they are helped out, some complainers always wind up in another crisis situation. Helping them out again will only improve their situation temporarily. Without a change in strategy, they will soon become immersed in another crisis.
Complainers who are incessant whiners find fault with virtually everything. They complain about their lives, other people's lives, the weather, politics, religion, society, etc. Everything they comment on is flawed. All of life is tainted. Their glass is always half empty and probably leaking. These people are not happy unless they are unhappy.
Whiners will never be satisfied. They don't want sympathy, solutions, or help. They just want to complain. These people will never change and their minds are closed to new ideas. Your only option is to limit exposure to their griping.
Complaining is unproductive and destructive. If you have problems, find solutions. If you need help, ask. Occasional complaining to seek understanding or let off steam is ok. But don't make it a way of life or a topic of every conversation.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2022 Bryan Golden


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