“Why try, it’s not going to be any different.”
“It’s never going to work!”
“We’ve already tried that!”
“I wish someone would get it right.”
“Why can’t they understand?”
For most, it’s just easier than the heavy lifting it takes to be the change agent that gets it done. Maybe we think, someone will hear us out and just pick up the ball to dunk it at the other end of the court. We trick ourselves into calling it an assist.
However, no one that I know of has ever told me they’ve been motivated by complaining or complainers. A chronic complainer is often seen as a negative person that creates a vacuum of negativity that no one can get free from. The only thing it motivates others to do is find the quietest and quickest exit.
But before you walk away, maybe you can be the difference maker by taking the time to understand what makes a chronic complainer one in the first place. The goal of course is to not become one yourself and build up resistance to their gravitational pull of negativity. Instead of letting it become the time suck it can become, it can be the accelerant to move towards a more positive drive for results.
We need to understand three things about chronic complainers: their mindset, what complainers really want, and what complainers don’t want.
With their mindset they cannot not even see they are negative people. They have the perception that they just always seem to get the bad deals all the time. They see themselves consistently getting the short straw with the draw. We have to work at helping them come to terms with their wrong perception by providing them feedback in real time. You cannot feed them with positive comments that suggest “things are not as bad as they are portraying” because it only fuels them to vomit even more reasons why they feel the way they do. Address their feelings head on and level with them on the impact it is having on others around them. Help them change their mindset with honest, fair, and direct feedback.
What complainers really want is to feel they are heard and are understood. They want their complaints to be validated. They are seeking empathy and compassion with their complaints. So use that angle to your advantage. For example:
Another bit of bad luck with that car of yours made you late today for work? Man, sorry to hear that. How about I help you find a new car and show you how you can get the best trade-in value for the one you do have? We really need you here to be successful with our goals and I want to make sure I help you get a more reliable car so you can be.
How empathetic are you?
What a complainer does not want is your advice even though it may seem with their complaining that is exactly what they want from you. Their feelings of getting the short end in life are deeply rooted in their personalities and sense of self. Don’t be their savior and try to save them from themselves because it’s not your job to do so. It’s much more powerful and permanent when you can get them to do it for themselves. Make brief and specific advice when presented with their complaints. Add in a dash of empathy mentioned above. They usually will thank you and express a feeling of appreciation towards your advice versus outright resistance.
The New Year is approaching. Avoid the gravitational pull of planet complainer. Stay focused on yourself being positive and helping others become aware of their own behaviors that can sidetrack them from achieving great goals in 2018.
We spend far too much time complaining about the way things are and forget that we have the power to change anything and everything. – Bozoma Saint John