I know complaining is a bad idea, but sometimes it just feels so good and right. First, it gets me attention. Second, it makes people feel sorry for me and so they might be nicer than they otherwise would be. Third, I think it helps ensure others won’t criticize me or put more on my plate. Very powerful stuff, this complaining. This game of “misery poker” is something I have felt it in conversations: a subtle power struggle for winning “most needy” and getting the most care. In order to win, you need good strategy, and I love winning!
So, I have developed some sneaky and creative ways to complain. I’ve listed them below because I always love to share my “tips” with you.
1) The List: Listing my To-Do’s as though it’s conversational. I’m just sharing, but you are meant to “get” how hard it is for me.
2) Asking Fake Questions: These are just disguised complaints. “Is that what you are wearing?” or “How is that going to get accomplished?”
3) Sarcasm: “Sure, I have time to get that done, just add it to my list.” or “Oh yeah, that fits perfectly with running a company, shooting a TV show and being there for my family.”
4) Sounds: Heavy sighing, whimpering, screaming, grunting, moving objects loudly. Need I say more?
5) Ethnic Flavor: Other languages are sometimes good camouflage: Oy vey, Ay caramba!
6) Body Language: eye rolling, head on table, hands to head (can be combined with sarcasm—finger twirled in air while exclaiming a fake “yea”)
You see I have this down to a science and I bet you do, too. What are your sneaky ways of complaining? Please share yours, too!
As fun as it is to analyze and share, the truth is that complaining is a big drag: it wastes time, brings me down and manipulates and brings down the people around me. My girlfriend nailed me on it just the other day and I made her a promise I’d pay her $5 for every time she catches me creating drama by complaining. For you, the first step is to acknowledge your complaining, its ill effects and many disguises. Then you too can start to get it on a leash and use your friends to help.