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Why Do Some People Complain?

I'm fortunate. Most of my life is relatively low drama. I don't invite negative people into my life, and I do my best to always be kind, respectful, and helpful to everyone. I'm certainly not perfect, and I've made plenty of mistakes, but I've tried to learn from my past and I do my best.

I strongly believe that you attract who you are.

To me, spreading negativity, being a toxic person, and complaining always creates a lose-lose situation. No one likes complainers, and complainers make themselves miserable by complaining.

Despite my efforts, I have encountered some complainers in recent days. I dealt with them with as much kindness and willingness to help within my power, but it seems there are simply some people who don't want your kindness and don't want to cooperate. They just want to complain. This got me wondering why this is the case, which led me to today's idea list.

    1. First, ask yourself: Are you attracting complainers?

    Before pointing fingers, take a hard look in the mirror. Are you doing anything in your life that could be attracting negativity? We have blind spots, so take some time to consider if the root cause of someone's complaint is something you have done or said, whether intentionally or inadvertently.

    2. Avoidance of personal responsibility is a complainer's bedfellow.

    People who complain love to talk about how things are totally out of their control, and that only if this person does what the complainer thinks the person should do, or if some big malevolent force (government, corporations, insert your favorite boogyman) would stop making things so terrible, then the world would be a better place.

    3. Gratitude is the ultimate weapon against complaints.

    Ask anyone who has experienced poverty, and I mean true poverty where one is hungry and unsure where the next meal is coming from if they have any complaints when someone offers them food. Do they complain the food tastes terrible? Or that they should have been given more? No, they are grateful someone expressed enough kindness to help them in their time of need. Gratitude is the ultimate weapon to fight complaints.

    4. Complainers lack humility.

    Similar to lacking gratitude, people who think they know best and therefore everyone else clearly must be in the wrong will be terrible complainers. People who are humble and willing to work with others to solve problems rarely complain.

    5. Complainers focus on the problem and not the solution.

    You can take a complainer's problem and provide an easy solution to them on a silver platter and they will refuse it. They seemingly prefer to continue complaining. I believe this is because when one focuses solely on the problem and complains, they are unable to see any solution even when it is dangling right in front of them.

    6. A feeling of helplessness seems to pervade complainers.

    People who frequently complain seem to feel like a situation is out of their control, and the only solution is to complain about it. I think this feeling of helplessness is the most common thread that connects all complainers.

    7. Complainers have a lack of self-control.

    People who complain seem unable to control their emotions. While it's true that it's difficult to stay calm and focused when stressed, it's not an excuse to lob complaints left and right. For some reason, these people have not had enough opportunities, or they squandered the opportunities, to learn how to keep their emotions in check when life doesn't go their way.

    8. Research has shown that the feel-good chemical oxytocin is released when complaining.

    This is particularly true when complaining to someone who agrees with your complaint and reinforces it. It's like a bonding ritual. The chemical burst feels good in the short term, so people continue to complain to get that 'hit.'

    9. Complainers think other people should fix their problems.

    This item is birthed from a lack of personal responsibility. If I don't feel responsible for something happening in my life, then surely someone else must come along and fix it for me - so, I'm going to complain and complain and complain until someone comes along and saves me.

    10. People who complain fail to see the forest through the trees.

    Sometimes complaining derives from one's inability to extricate themselves from an undesirable situation and gain a larger perspective.

    11. Complainers don't know a better way to handle situations they don't like.

    Somehow people who complain have gone through their lives learning that the go-to solution to any problem is to complain about it. They literally never learned a better way.

    12. People who complain lack empathy.

    Lastly, when I look back at times in my life when I complained to anyone, I see that in those moments I lacked empathy. I refused to understand the other person's perspective. Instead, I insisted that I was right and they were wrong so I was going to complain about it until I got what I wanted. Over time, it became clear that most of the time people, good people, are always trying to do their best and that if I'm not getting what I want from them, there could be a very good reason. It helps to understand where the other person is coming from, and from that point, a complaint-free solution can be found.

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