In The Trenches

No more complaining

Published on May 20, 2019 Back to blog
Woman Wearing Glasses Complaining and Making Thumbs Down

After my last blog post, a friend commented that my posts have been a bit negative lately. And after re-reading them, I had to agree. I generally live life with a glass half full mentality, and share many of my learnings from that perspective with you here. But, somehow, I got hit with a case of “complainitis” – and it took a comment from a friend to help me recognize it and put an end to it.

I affectionately refer to this issue as “complainitis” because complaining is undoubtedly a highly contagious virus. If you happened to catch it from me, I am sorry. But, here are a few ways to either cure it or prevent against it in the future.

  1. Don’t be the empathizer – One of the easiest ways to catch complainitis is by being the person that others go to for empathy. The more you hear other people complain – and empathize with it – the more susceptible you are to the virus. So, instead of empathizing with them, advise them to share their complaint with someone who can do something about it (usually the person with whom they have an issue).
  2. Worry about yourself – I’ve noticed that many people often complain on behalf of others, based on what they believe others may think or feel. Rather than worrying (and complaining) about other people’s potential feelings, ask them how they feel. And if you discover that there is an issue, encourage them to advocate for themselves. (see #1)
  3. Assume good intentions – Most people do not intentionally do things to hurt or offend others. So, rather than getting upset or complaining, assume that the intent was good and address the issue with that mindset. You will likely discover that it was a misunderstanding or miscommunication that, once discussed, can be addressed and prevented in the future.
  4. Find the silver lining (focus on the positive) – I’ve noticed that some people tend to complain about things that actually result in positive outcomes – like not getting invited to a party that you didn’t want to go to in the first place. Consider celebrating the fact that you didn’t have to go to the party as opposed to complaining about not getting invited.
  5. Be as happy as you want to be – I recently heard someone say that we are all as happy as we want to be. And, while there are clearly some exceptions to this rule, we can generally control our own happiness. Complaining typically doesn’t lead to happiness. Either let it go or work to resolve the issue – that is a much better path to get there.

I for one am going to do all I can to avoid catching complainitis ever again – and do what I can to prevent others from catching it. If it becomes an epidemic, it can kill a culture – and potentially even a business. I encourage you to follow the steps above, and share this post with others to help them do the same. It will surely make for much happier days ahead.

Have a great day!

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners