The Art of Complaining

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Waking up one morning, you notice by the sound of the rain and thunder that your day is already off the a “slow” start. After all, who likes to get up and get out of their comfy bed for work when it is raining? Nobody. Nevertheless, you proceed on with your morning but then you notice that you’re running late because you failed to set your alarm the following night. Typical human error, right?

Still, you press your way forward and go outside to your car to head to work and then you notice that you forgot to let your windows up last night. By this point, you are about ready to blow a gasket because your day is off to one of the worst starts that you have experienced in a while, so to work you go, assuming the role of “Debbie Downer.”

You head into your workplace and when asked, “How are you this morning?”, you open up the flood gates of complaints. “I woke up late this morning…did not get a chance to grab breakfast or a coffee because I overslept…got out to my car and my seat was soaked because I did not let my window up last night…to top it off, my hair is wet and my clothes are soaked from riding to work sitting in a wet seat…so to answer your question, I have been BETTER!!”

How many of have had a morning like this? I am willing to count on all of my fingers and toes how many times I have witnessed this occurrence within the past few months. I too have assumed the role of “Debbie Downer” for the day, but lately I have been wondering what good does it do for me to complain?

Although complaining can be therapeutic for some, I feel that it creates a negative environment for most. Most of the time, no one cares to hear about your food being cold at lunch OR the train sitting on the track for too long OR whether or not you agree with the meat selection for a Pick-5 at Hays. This list could go on and on.

Like many people, I have a love-hate relationship with complaining. There is little that is more satisfying than chewing over a meaty complaint about an idiotic service person or the really annoying thing that friend does or how unbelievably rude a teenager can be.

On the other hand, I am not very fond of those who constantly whine about the same thing. Or those who come to me seemingly wanting advice but then ignore my suggestions and continue grumbling about the same protest.

So, would I prefer a complaint-free world? Or simply just one free of the kind of complaints I do not like? I would definitely have to say the latter of the two. As previously stated, I feel that overall complaining is necessary for our temperament. After all, who wants to walk around with bottle up negative opinions and emotions? If no one was able to vent their problems and frustrations to their peers, the world would be full of a bunch of “dormant volcanoes”, metaphorically speaking.

It would only be a matter of time before we all would “lose it” if we were not afforded with the opportunity to express the things that we deem bothersome to us. In today’s society, there are a lot of negative things that we could rant about, but at the end of the day, what is it going to solve? Who will benefit from it? No one.

I think that if we asked ourselves these questions before we thought about complaining, perhaps we would find a more neutral tone to convey our messages more effectively because complaining is all about the tone in which you use.

For example, you receive some soup at a restaurant and it is cold. You could simply state, “My soup is cold, do you mind warming it up?” Although you are complaining, it sounds significantly better than, “How dare you bring me cold soup!” In life, most times it is not a matter of what is said, but the manner in which we say it.

No, I am not being naïve in saying that we need a complaint -free world because I do understand that in doing so negates the ideal of living in a realistic world, but I do feel that we should be more conscious about the way that we complain as well as who we complain to.

There is an old saying that says, “Someone always has a worse than you do.” This saying is so very true, so while you are complaining about waking up late, someone did not wake at all…while you are complaining about your car seat being soaked, someone does not have a car and had to walk to work in the rain. I have witnessed these things first hand. So, now when I am asked, “How is your day going?” I simply reply, “I cannot complain.”