(Found at: http://www.wikihow.com/Handle-Chronic-Complainers and attributed to Alex Kjerulf. )
Donna says: Saturn is leaving hyper-critical Virgo at long last on October 29th, when it enters Libra. (It returns for a few months from March to July, 2010.) Not to complain, but I’m fed up to the gills with the constant bitching, nitpicking, fault-finding, and blaming that passes for commentating among journalists and for political wisdom among members of congress. There’s also a generalized air of disgruntlement in the world at large in which nothing but nothing satisfies the public.
I’ve always had a good impression of natal Saturn in Virgo, as it so often corresponds with exceptional capability and responsible service in a worker. Alas, the current sojourn has somewhat soured me on that Saturn sign. This article in WikiHow had great suggestions for dealing with the chronically disgruntled. Fabulous word, disgruntled—not especially aesthetically pleasing, but evocative…it hints of constipation, that frequent Virgo complaint. (Every sign has body parts associated with it, and Virgo rules the intestines.)
The wikiHow article advises:
Got any chronic complainers where you work? It seems like every workplace has them – the people for whom the weather is always too warm or too cold, the boss is a jerk, the food is lousy, work sucks and … you fill out the list. No matter how good things get they still only see the bad – and they go to huge lengths to point it out to everyone around them.
Workplaces need to do something about the chronic complainers because they tend to make people around them unhappy at work. It’s a fact that negative people are highly contagious, and one chronic complainer can easily get an entire department down.
We try many different strategies to deal with complainers – one German IT company even bans whiners from the workplace. Yep – if you have a bad day you are not allowed to come in. But most of the strategies we normally use on complainers don’t help and often make matters worse. Check out what not to do and then read what you should do.
- Note the things that just don’t work. There are several commonplace strategies that we tend to rely on and they just don’t work to stop chronic complaining:
- Cheering them up doesn’t work. As in “Oh, it can’t be that bad”, “Come on, cheer up” or the perennial favorite “Time heals all wounds”. Saying things like this shows the complainer that you’re not taking their pain seriously. When you tell a complainer “it’s not that bad”, he will often complain even harder to convince you (and himself) that his problems are very serious indeed.
- Suggesting solutions doesn’t work. “Why don’t you…”, “have you tried…” or even worse “You should really have…”. The complainers’ problems are really serious and can’t be solved by a few smart-ass suggestions from you. Or so they’ve convinced themselves. The more you try to suggest solutions, the harder they will work to convince you and themselves that these solutions could never possibly work for them.
- Telling them to pull themselves together doesn’t work. “Quit complaining and do something about it” or one favorite: “You either want the problem or you want the solution”. Yeah, telling them that their problems are trivial and they just need to pull themselves together is going to work juuuuust fine. All complainers magically stop complaining at this. Or do they?
- Complaining about the complainers doesn’t work. “Damn, that Sally complains a lot doesn’t she?” Guess what, you just became a complainer too!
- Ignoring them / avoiding them doesn’t work. This makes complainers clamor for attention even more – which usually makes people ignore them even more. That’s a vicious cycle right there.
- Complaining along with them doesn’t work. “You know what, you’re right, the boss is a jerk. And the weather sucks. In fact everything sucks.” This can be kind of cosy because it creates bonding and an us-against-the-world feeling. But ultimately it’s a bad idea because the more people complain, the less prone they are to doing something about their problems.
- Confronting them doesn’t work. You can drive the complaints underground where you don’t see them, but they will probably still be going on. And repressed complaining is worse than open complaining because it gets to stew and grow while it’s hidden.
- Try the trick that does work. It is very simple but also very effective. Listen to the complainer Then, with deep sympathy in your voice, say “You know, that sounds terrible. I don’t know how you deal with all of these problems.” The answer will often be “Well…, it’s not that bad!” This approach works because it gives the complainer what he’s really after: Empathy. Not cheering up, not solutions, not egging-on. Just understanding of what is, for him, a difficult situation. There are two important things to notice here:
- Don’t be sarcastic when you say it. Be sincere.
- You don’t have to agree that these are huge problems. Even if everything the complainer says sounds trivial to you, remember that it feels like a huge problem to him or her wouldn’t go on about it. What seems trivial to one person can be a huge problem for others. So you’re not saying “Yes, I agree that’s a huge problem”. And you’re certainly not saying “Oh, poor poor you” in a sarcastic voice. You’re just acknowledging the fact that this is a huge problem for that person. Which undeniably it is.
- Be patient and realistic. Does this trick make the complaining go away? Only sometimes. But it keeps you from being part of a vicious cycle of responses that just makes the complainers complain more and more and more. The cycle is cut at the point you take their distress seriously. Try this approach on your favorite complainer and leave your response in the comments on this article to tell everyone how it goes!
- How to Complain and Get Results
- How to Deal With People Who Always Complain
- How to Complain in a Restaurant
- How to Tell a Friend She Complains Too Much Without Hurting Her Feelings
- How to Handle Complaints and Keep Customers
For more Articles on Relationship Issues on Skywriter, see the category Relationship Help.
About the Author: found at: http://www.wikihow.com/Handle-Chronic-Complainers Original source of article, Alex Kjerulf, How to Handle Chronic Complainers. reprinted with permission of WikiHow. See his website, Positive Sharing here: Happy Hour is 9 to 5 by Alexander Kjerulf.
Art credit: Like the majority of the images on this site, the disgruntled woman in argyle shown here comes from clipart.com.