Monday, March 19, 2012

What Good Does it do to Complain?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the world is full of complainers. There are the garden variety complainers who complain now and then about something or other, there are the specialists who regularly complain about their pet peeve and then there are the pros, who can complain about anything, any time and do so voraciously.

Regardless of which type of complainer you are, you probably fit into one of those three categories. I mean, we all have things we complain about, don’t we? Okay, so let me ask you a question. How much good has all your complaining ever done? Huh? Have you ever seen anything improve because you complained about it?

Now, I’m not talking about sending your undercooked steak back to the kitchen in some restaurant; that can actually do some good. No, I’m talking about complaining about things in life. Have you ever complained about something in life and actually seen some positive change come out of it?

I seriously doubt that you have. Now, let me ask you another question. Have you ever seen anything bad come out of your complaining? If you think about it, you’d pretty much have to answer yes to that question. You see, complaints are negative. When we start acting negative, it acts as an infection, spreading and infecting those around us.

Let’s say that you’re eating dinner at home and start complaining about the way your wife cooked the meal; I guarantee you that your negativity will spread to your wife, and quickly too. She’ll definitely take your complaints personally. But, what if you were to complain about something at work instead; will that affect her? Yes! Even though the complaint isn’t about her, it will be about something that affects someone close to her; you. That will affect her, because women are empathetic.

So, instead of bringing about a positive result, you’ve just succeeded in bringing about a negative result. Now, if you want to try and experiment, try kissing your wife after complaining about something. While she might kiss you back, it’ll just be a peck, not any sort of passionate kiss. She’ll hug you, because that’s something that empathetic people do to comfort others, but there will be nothing of intimacy in that hug, it’ll be more like she’s hugging one of the kids.

Negativity spreads and infects those around us. Complaining is one of the mechanisms which are used to convey that negativity; so, we need to learn to zip our lips and shut off our own complaining. That way, we don’t infect our wives with it.

That doesn’t mean that we should totally internalize our complaints. As guys, we can be pretty good at that. But, that’s not healthy. Keeping those complaints inside can cause them to eat away at us like an acid. So, we need to find a non-destructive way of getting rid of them.

That can be done with co-workers, by shooting some hoops or by sticking them on a dart board and throwing darts at them. I dispel mine by writing satires about them (okay, that might not work for you). But, you know the best way to get rid of complaints; it’s to do something about them. Yep, working on the solution to the problem which you are complaining about is the best way to get rid of the complaint. Not only that, buy you might actually succeed in doing some good.

Whatever you do, don’t dump your complaint on your wife; that’s definitely unromantic. If you need to share it with her (and you should), disarm the complaint first. In other words, get the bitterness out of it, before you share it. That way, you’re sharing your life and concerns with her (which she wants and needs) without sharing the negativity. You’re letting her be part of your life, but not forcing her to carry your burden. You’re protecting her from yourself, or at least the negative part of yourself, while still maintaining the communication necessary to maintain intimacy in your hearts.


  1. You're right, complaining doesn't do much good. But sometimes you need to ask for change in a positive way. Your comment about dinner reminded me of my grandparents. My grandfather never complained about my grandmother's cooking, and he always at whatever she made for dinner. But once in a while, after finishing the meal, he would gently suggest that they probably didn't need to try that again. No wasted food, no fight, and an improved menu in the future.

  2. Rosemary, I think your grandpa was a wise man. Why make a big deal about it. His soft answer wasn't threatening, insulting or abrasive; but he still got his point across.