Constant Complainers



There is in Schiller Park a trend that seems to be everywhere these days. Only to have been made worse by the introduction of social media.

Constant and endless complaining. So much of it that it has become toxic.

I was reading a topic about taxes on one of the many Facebook pages for this town, and could not help but notice it’s always the same individuals doing the complaining. These individuals refuse to properly Understand the subject, but continue to spread their toxicity. This kind of chronic complaining, justified or not, leads to no good. In fact, it can be downright toxic and can make any situation considerably worse.

Here’s why constant complaining is so bad:

1: It makes things look worse than they are
When people complain, they focus only on what’s wrong. Things may be mostly fine, or better but complainers only talk about the problems, annoyances and peeves they perceive.

If things are 80% good and 20% bad and you spend most of your time thinking and talking about the bad 20% the situation will look a lot worse than it really is.

2: It becomes a habit
The more you complain, the easier it gets. In the end, everything is bad, every situation is a problem, every person is a jerk and nothing is good.

The more you focus on the negative, the harder it gets to switch into a positive mindset.

3: You get what you focus on
According to Wikipedia, Confirmation bias is:

…a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions and avoid information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs.

In other words, what you already believe influences your perception of everything around you. That’s why constant complaining makes you see everything in a negative light, because your subconscious mind tries to make new observation fit with what you already know.

4: It leads to onedownmanship
A complaining session might go something like this:

The other day, I had to stay two hours and missed my football game.

Yeah, well my boss told me to work this weekend AND the next.

Hah, that’s nothing! My boss…

This type of interaction rewards the person with the worst story who can complain the loudest. Not healthy!

5: It makes people despondent
Not only does constant complaining make you see everything as worse than it really is, but because you’re constantly hearing stories of how bad things are and how they’re constantly getting worse it also destroys all hope that things can get better.

This of course makes people less likely to take action to improve their situation, because everybody knows it’s doomed to fail anyway.

I think this is one of the biggest problems here and in most towns. I am guilty of it to a point, but I always try to give a solution, or a differing viewpoint. I guess I consider it a difference between raising awareness to a situation, and non-constructive complaining.

6: It kills innovation
Because the situations looks so hopeless, people become less creative and innovative. What’s the point of coming up with ideas and implementing them, it’s never going to be accepted anyway.

Also, chronic complainers are the first to shoot down any new idea. This is one of the downsides to Facebook. It gives the “chronic complainers” a soap box.

7: It favors negative people
The way to get status among complainers is to be the most negative. To be the one who sees everything in the most negative light.

Any attempt to be positive or cheerful will be shot down and optimists will be accused of being Pollyanna, naive and unrealistic.

8: It promotes bad relationships
People who complain together unite against the world and can create strong internal relationships based on this. But these relationships are based mostly on negative experiences. That’s not healthy.

It also means that you can only continue to be a part of the group if you can continue to complain, miring you even deeper in a complaint mindset.

9: It creates cliques
Being positive, optimistic and appreciative makes you more open towards other people no matter who they are. It becomes easy to connect with people.

Complaining, on the other hand, makes people gather in cliques with their fellow complainers where they can be critical and suspicious of everybody else.

10: Pessimism is bad for you
Psychologist Martin Seligman showed in his groundbreaking research in positive psychology that people who see the world in a positive light have a long list of advantages, including:

They live longer
They’re healthier
They have more friends and better social lives
They enjoy life more
They’re more successful at work
We sometimes think that pessimists and complainers have the edge because they see problems sooner but the truth is that optimists not only lead better lives, they’re also more successful because they believe that what they’re doing is going to work.

The upshot

Constant complaining is toxic. It can drain the happiness, motivation, creativity and fun from any situation. Wherever it’s going on it must be addressed and handled properly.

I’m NOT saying that we should never complain quite the contrary. If you see a problem, complain to whoever can do something about it.

What we should avoid at all costs, is constant bitching and moaning, where we’re always complaining about the same things, to the same people, in the same way, day in and day out.

So what can we do about it? Well first of all, each of us can learn to complain constructively. This means learning to complain in a way that leads to the problem being fixed rather than to more complaining.

Secondly, we need to learn to deal with the chronic complainers we meet. Unfortunately, our traditional strategies like trying to cheer them up or suggesting solutions for their problems don’t work because complainers aren’t looking for encouragement or solutions.

Finally, we can train our own ability to be positive. Just like complaining can become a habit, so can being appreciative, optimistic and grateful. We could declare today a positive day, you could take a few minutes at the end of every day to write down five good experiences from that day or you could praise Someone for a job well done.

Try it or don’t, but it’s our own individual choice, and it will improve your life and those lives around you.

Your take

But what do you think? Do you know any chronic complainers? What is their impact? How do you complain when you see a problem?

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