Do you view yourself as a complainer? If not, try going the rest of the day without complaining, and you will probably be surprised to see how many of your words are negative.
Although complaining seems to be second nature to us, it can have more damaging effects besides annoying those around us. Listening to someone complain makes us less intelligent, it damages our mental health, and makes the people we complain to more negative as well. Prolonged exposure to negativity and complaining diminishes the brain’s capacity for problem solving because we adjust to accepting that we cannot fix our own problems.
Here are the 3 most notorious forms of complaining:
#1: Complaining without a solution – People like to be around others who have solutions, not overwhelmingly redundant anecdotes. It gets tiresome to hear about problems when you just want to exclaim, “Well do something about it!” Also, complaining regularly about things that can’t be changed is toxic, because over time, it wears on people. They stop listening or taking the complaints seriously.
#2: Complaining about things that most people experience everyday – Complaining about the weather, traffic or annoying people is frustrating to others because making mention once in a while to commiserate is bonding, but when it’s all the time makes you seem intolerant. Actively and regularly complaining about it to others who experience the same struggles either makes for a very negative conversation or makes them frustrated, because you seem to think that you’re so worse off than they are, and in turn demean their problems, and them.
#3: Complaining without humor or balancing it out with positivity – We all have struggles; from simple everyday events, like dealing with rude customers, to real, substantial problems, like watching the failing health of a loved one. If we can’t find humor or hope somewhere, and resort to incessant complaining we teach others that we are a dreary “Debbie Downer.”
However, complaints also make things happen. Complaints are the only way for a company to know that its practices are making their customers unhappy. Complaints drive the creation of laws. And without complaints, we wouldn’t have most of our public services. We need to hear that there is a problem in order to devise a solution, in both our personal and professional lives.
If you are faced with a real challenge, your safety is being threatened, or you have a legitimate solution to a problem, then complaining to the right people at the right time can be OK, even beneficial. But generally, you should stick to following your mother’s age old advice: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.”
Be sure to follow us on Twitter and check out our Facebook for more posts and office productivity tricks!