Friday, March 07, 2008

How to handle complaints...

I was reading this *fab* article today... and am now going to bore you senseless; as it is refreshing to totally identify the chronic complainer traits (aka anon smack bloggers.)

{Know} any chronic complainers?
...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.

I’m not saying we should outlaw complaining, but {we} need to do something about the chronic complainer because they tend to make people around them unhappy...

There are several strategies people use around complainers, none of which really work {with the chronic complainer}

1: 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.

2: 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.

3: Telling them to pull themselves together doesn’t work “Quit complaining and do something about it” or one of my favorites: “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.

4: Complaining about the complainers doesn’t work “Damn, that Sally complains a lot doesn’t she?” Guess what, you just became a complainer :o)

5: 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.

6: 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. I remember one of the first jobs I had where my manager was a complete dolt. My co-workers and I couldn’t start a meeting, go out for a beer or just meet in the hallway without spending 15-20 minutes complaining about him and his stupid ways. One thing is for damn sure: Our bitching about it, fun though it may have been, did not improve things one little bit.

Humour... and some choice advice.

It is an interesting form of bullying - usually from those who would absolutely not like to be named and then have the tables turn in their general direction. Funnily enough there are loads of bloggers who shriek about their kids getting bullied (and rightly so) to then only embark on bullying in a virtual playground.

Anways, as always, comments welcome...
Becks x


Suzanne said...

At the end of the day it all boils down to 'treat others as you would want to be treated'. Yes people will complain, take issue etc when they feel they have been wronged ~ it is how people respond to the issue that matters.

Becks Fagg said...

I totally agree - why bag someone if you would hate to have someone bag you?! It seems like it is easy to dish but not take - so let's just remember how we would feel if our kids were on the receiving end of some of the antics that go on in this 'big girl' world ;)