I‘m almost sure you all know at least one chronic complainer.
Someone that is always complaining about something or other, even about someone. Someone that feels the world is out to get nail them.
That someone that voices their disappointment about everything in their life. They never seem to share any of the good things that happen in their lives, or maybe they just don’t see any good things that are happening around them.
When you around them, you probably feel totally exhausted and drained after spending some time with them.
The reality of it is that they often don’t even realize that they are a chronic complainer. Some people refer to them as negative people, but they really fall under the category of a chronic complainer.
Should you find yourself in that position, listed below are a few tips to help handle their endless grievances.
Most times, chronic complainers could be quite positive people who don’t know how to express themselves positively.
Differences between negative people and chronic complainers.
A person that is constantly complaining you would think that they have a negative outlook on life, just like a pessimist would. Chronic complainers are different, they may have a negative outlook but they still want to know that nothing is ever good enough.
Guy Winch, Ph.D. at Psychology Today explains;
Optimists see – A glass half full.
Pessimists see – A glass half empty.
Chronic complainers see – A glass with a slight chip holding water that is not cold enough and that it was tap water when they asked for bottled water, oh wait, and there is a smudge on the rim. Thinking they will end up with a virus, thinking or vocalizing, ‘Why do these things happen to me!’
Negative people are notoriously difficult people to deal with. They don’t see themselves as negative; to them, the world is negative, and they only know how to deal with it is cynical. You should approach them in the right way.
Surviving a conversation with a complainer – if possible, you wouldn’t want to enable this kind of behavior. Sometimes you have to make it through a conversation where both parties end up alive at the end of the conversation.
You could listen, validation is the key to shutting down a complainer. You do need to show that you care about what they are telling you.
Do not roll your eyes or fidget. It is tough listening but nod your head and say things such as ‘I understand’ or ‘I hear you.’ Most times, they wear themselves out in a few minutes unless you add fuel to the fire by suggesting a solution.
Generally, chronic complainers are that way as they need to vent and be heard, even if it is irrelevant. They need to feel that you care. Venting helps them move on. You do not have to say one single thing, just listen, nod to show that you are validating their issues.
Validate, sympathize, deflect, and redirect
Once you have shown them that you are listening, you are ready to deploy the ultimate weapon for shutting them down. You mustn’t use sarcasm, cause that can cause a whole lot of other problems — express sympathy as authentic and real as possible.
In most cases, validation and sympathy are enough to ease a chronic complainer. For a really tough situation, deflection is a way for you to respond to them without saying they wrong or shutting them down.
Defection is another way of redirecting. Change the conversation subject without making it too obvious.
Chronic complainers have no intention of changing. Complaining is a habit, so a simple redirect is all it takes to shift their mindset.
Keep advice very brief and to the point.
Most times, chronic complainers are so wrapped up in thinking that hardship is part of their life and are not really looking for advice; they just want to share their problems all the time.
Should a chronic complainer ask for advice, try to keep it short and sweet.
Quite often, they could reject your help after requesting it and probably insisting that your advice is not relevant or it is useless. Should this happens, its best to ask them how they would intend to fix their problem. That way, they could either start thinking of ways to address the issue or leave it as they realize that nothing can be done.
It is not advisable to argue or disagree with a chronic complainer.
It’s essential to realize that you can’t change somebody’s behavior on your own. What you can control is how you handle them. This would take time.
Chronic complainers seek validation, not someone telling them that they are wrong. It is not advisable to say to them that ‘it is not that bad.’ they will just complain harder to convince you that it is really as bad as they are saying.
It gets very frustrating hearing the same complaints continuously while they are rejecting your advice, so it is crucial to set boundaries with a chronic complainer.
Ultimately, you are not responsible for their happiness or well being. Put your foot down, saying that you are not prepared to listen to any negative or complaints and that you are prepared to talk about anything else but that! Be sure to reward the person for their change of behavior.
Be firm and have a positive attitude, stand your ground.
There is no reason to waste your time talking to someone who is continually making you unhappy and negative.
Chronic complainers are not inherently bad people. They do, however, need guidance. Sometimes they have real legit problems, so you should give them a chance to explain. Follow up by validating, sympathizing, deflecting, and redirecting.
You matter in life and how you feel is based on your actions and who you allow in your life.
No type of complaining is the answer to complaining.
Frequent complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. You will find that over time it becomes easier to be negative than to be positive regardless of what is happening around you. Complaining will change how people perceive you as it becomes your default behavior.
Use complaints as an incentive for positive change and positive actions. It changes your life and brings peace and happiness rather than frustration.