Jul 11, 2011

Stop Bitching, Start Living!

"Some people seem to go through life standing at the complaint counter
~Fred Propp Jr.

Complainers are like insect repellents! They create strong impression about themselves with people they talk to, and they are effective in doing their repelling job well! Psychologists say that's the biggest reason why people should change this behavior. Oh yes, there is no dearth of complainers around us, colleague bitching about the boss, neighbor whining about the weather, friend kvetching about the state of politics...expressing helplessness is a common tendency of ineffective people.

Dilbert on Complaining


Getting rid of learned helplessness and whining behavior can be quite liberating, empowering. And the good news is, it can be unlearned. Change is easier for some people than others because not all complainers are the same. I feel there are 3 types of complainers:

  1. Habitual Kvetchers suffer from existential angst perhaps - they are stuck in the ditch of their mindless complaining, unable to get out. It takes persistent effort can change themselves.
  2. Infected/secondary complainers - complaining is contagious yes, and these folks are like vampires and start their own rant once infected. They may be complaining to gain a common ground with their peers, to get closer to the others. They might be able to overcome this attitude quicker than Habitual Kvetchers.
  3. Genuine complainers: The folks have a genuine reason to complain but chances are they end up complaining to the wrong person, in a wrong manner at wrong place. 

How to Change?

  • Become aware: ask yourself: "Am I a complainer?" and be honest with your answer - if you are and your answer is "yes" you have just won half the battle!
  • Toll Gate: Next time you are about to complain, just stop yourself - try a joke instead or just don't say anything till you have something positive to say.
  • Recruit help: entrust a close friend or colleague to alert you when you start - in a subtle way (by blinking at you for instance!)
  • Record & Reward: keep a log of your attempts to complain, successes and failures. Reward yourself as you succeed.

Got to Complain?

When you NEED to complain, complain by all means, but make it legitimate. Here is how:

  • make sure you are complaining to the right person
  • don't blame briefly describe what happened 
  • how that effects you and 
  • what exactly you want as a possible solution to the problem (don't complain if she has a different solution)
  • focus on the problem not people

If you are in the company of a complainer, anticipate situations and subtly avoid those situations. Try helping complainers, most of all, don't get influenced into complaining yourself.

What do you think? Sound it off! click 'reactions' (below)


  1. I say things like - isn't the sky so blue today, or something else to try to turn their mind towards somthing they can be grateful for.

    1. Hi Tahlia, thanks for the comment - I didn't notice - I was away for a long time (bereavement). Thanks for visiting my blog and the comment.

      Hey, I will start again in a few days. Visit again!