I recently read a Facebook post that suggested people try going 24 hours without complaining, not even once, and see how their world starts changing. That is one big, giant ”if only” in my book! I can’t even begin to tell you how much complaining goes on in my house. Some of it is done by me, but most of the time I am doing it in a way that ties in with making a suggestion about someone doing something differently in the future so as not to keep repeating a behavior that causes stress, frustration, or hurt feelings. I am not just complaining for the sake of complaining. I am trying to work on a solution.
I can’t really say that about the rest of my family though. It’s one complaint after the next after the next a good part of the time. I keep telling them that instead of complaining, they should just ask nicely for what they want. There’s a big difference between, “You’re making me late again!” and, “Could we please leave now so I am not late again?” “Could you get some more of the granola bars that I like the next time you’re at the store?” sounds much better than, “How come you never buy the granola bars I like anymore!?!” I would much rather hear, “Could you please do some laundry soon? I am all out of white socks.” than, “I never have any clean socks when I need them!” (Of course, there’s the matter of how many socks didn’t make it into the hamper before I DID do the laundry, but that’s a whole separate topic.)
There are bigger complaints in my household than the ones I have mentioned. In response to those, I often find myself saying something along the lines of, “Maybe you can stop being part of the problem and try being part of the solution.” For example, I might tell other family members that they shouldn’t moan and groan so much about being reminded to do the things that they are responsible for getting done if they are not going to take the self-initiative to get them done or do them when asked the first time or two, rather than saying they’ll do it later and then forgetting multiple times. I wouldn’t mind the complaints so much if there was willingness to try to make some improvements.
Complaining for the sake of complaining only puts people on the defensive. My feeling is, if you’re going to complain, then you should first take the time to figure out a solution to the problem that you can offer along with your complaint and, hopefully, not make it sound like a complaint in the process. Perhaps then the person to whom you are complaining will be more open to hearing what you have to say. And perhaps you will consider if there is anything you could do differently to help as well (like make more of an effort to get all of your socks in the hamper in the first place).
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