Reading time: 2 minutes
Do you know that your inability to deal with a habitual complainer can affect your relationship with them negatively?
Do you know that when this happens, your relationship with other friends and colleagues in your personal and work space can be affected badly too?
In fact, this problem is applicable to partners in a romantic relationship, team members at work, your boss, as well as customers and service providers.
In this blog post, my friend, Yakoub shares about how he handled a chronic complainer in his life.
Even though his own case was related to a romantic relationship he was into, I would recommend anyone reading this post to figure out ways of adopting his exact strategies on how to deal with chronic complainers.
I am optimistic that anyone can learn how to deal with chronic complainers, and get the kind of results that Yakoub got by doing the same things he did, but in other creative ways that are specific to their peculiar contexts.
Here is Yakoub’s story in his own words:
“I used to hate chronic complainers a lot. I would prefer that they bottled up whatever was their problems inside of them. Why? Cos even I have got my own problems.
Then, I met this girl. She seemed to be in control of her life at first. However, when we started dating, I discovered it was more of the other way round. She turned out to be chronic complainer; easily overwhelmed, easily pissed off and all that.
But she trusted that I loved her. She let me know it was the reason she preferred to talk about things with me. She knew I would show more concern than the average person out there.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, I avoided talking over issues with her. When she says “I need to talk to you about something”, she actually means, I have got a lot of complains to make about you and everybody I met today.
I also did not want an award for “showing concern than the average person out there”. This would actually mean sitting for long hours, listening to everything she had to complain about. All crap. I hated to listen to crap.
But I loved her. If I didn’t adjust, I would hurt her more, then, lose her to someone else. I didn’t want to hurt her, neither did I desire to lose her.
Then, I began to adjust. Even I had my own weaknesses. So, I resolved to help her where she was weakest.
Here is how I changed all that:
How to deal with habitual complainers, while remaining positive
1. I started listening
First, being a creative writer, I thought of making stories out of the different characters she complained about. It was funny how those characters would turn up in my stories after I had described them the same way she talked about them. My stories got richer. Listening proved to be of advantage to me. But, this was selfish. I was listening for my personal gain. So, …..
2. I learnt to listen some more
Whenever she complained, I reminded myself that I may not be able to change her, but I can change the way I perceived her worries. Then, I began to discover why she complained a lot. Mostly, she got pissed any time it appeared that someone she valued so much did not value her the same way she did value them. Too much expectations from other people gave rise to the events that generated her complaints.
3. I began to respond
Whatever complain she had, anchored on the discovery I had made about the most source of her complains (2). So, I started to chip in responses that were aimed at debunking her way of seeing people. She would insist that “people shouldn’t be like that”, but I shared a lot of my own personal stories about people, and how some of these thing are normal with people. And why too much expectation from people can be toxic.
4. I was patient
I was very careful not to force my point of view. This ensured that she had enough freedom and time she needed to conceptualize the advice I gave her. It was not easy, but after a period of time, she began to understand.
The results I got
An increased level of self awareness for my partner, and a new healthy tolerance threshold for me. Now, if she wanted to complain about things (especially people), she would say, “well, not like I expected more from them, but it hurt me that they did it”.This is remarkable because, her expectations from people have dropped significantly. She understands better that people act differently, react differently, love differently and care differently. I foresee that with my approach, in the nearest future, she should overcome all the paranoia. ”
For me, I am currently able to demonstrate more patience in dealing with her. Consequently, my relationship with my supervisor at work and other team members, have improved greatly, as I have become more tolerant and understanding.
Anyone can learn to deal with chronic complainers. From Yakoub’s experience, it is safe to deduce that listening is key to dealing with chronic complainers. Empathy and patience will inspire your feedback and responses to their worries, and soon hopefully, they will begin to see things differently.
Feel free to share in the comment section how you dealt with a chronic complainer in your life. I guess your experience is different from Yakoub’s, and will help a lot of other readers learn a thing or two.