Complaint Department is Open

The complaint department is now open! Those who are sensitive to people who are advocates for complaining need not read on.


Have you ever recognized how much we all complain? Recently, I read an article that was touching on the very topic of complaining it was entitled The Kvetch Klatch by Amy Baskin in the November issue of Canada’s More Magazine. It explored the possibility that as we get older we may complain more and want to gather with others to commiserate.

There was some good news about our getting together to air our complaints, apparently it can be good for you to complain with people of like age and life situations according to Robin Kowalski, a psychologist who studies complaining (who knew you could study it and be paid?). “We feel validated, get good advice” and socially it brings people together. (Providing, I guess, you have something better to talk about from time to time otherwise you may just clear a room) There is more to this but I’m not going to rehash everything this woman wrote, I suggest you read the article for yourself.

Last night, again watching my Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes, he addressed viewers that accused him of being negative, complaining too much, that is part of his job isn’t it? He proceeded with a great little piece in which he positively enhanced negatives. Maybe that helped all those that felt he complains too much sleep a little easier, though I doubt it. After watching I’m sure they were complaining about his negativity.

I come from a long line of complainers, it is guaranteed that a conversation with my family will get bogged down in complaints and negativity. At times I interject when it is getting too much with something lighter, a humorous quip or just simply tune out the bulk of what is being said. That is not always good when you are to respond, and well…I kinda wasn’t listening. A good laugh eventually is had but still the negativity and complaints are really some of my family members claim to fame. Maybe they should have their own show, but make it 30 Minutes, less commercials which really makes it the 10 Minute show. (but, whose complaining, certainly not me)

When I complain I don’t expect anyone to fix it, it’s not necessary to fix my problem just to air it. Being truthful in the moment, complaining to my hearts content is therapeutic. It is true that going to people of like mind or understanding is far more helpful. My friends and I have the ability to complain for over an hour on the phone or in person and think nothing of it by the time we are finished. A few laughs, compassion, understanding, thoughtful suggestions, no overpowering judgement and good advice usually lightens the load.

I liken complaints, when discussed with others, as something that needs gentle pressure. Kind of like when you have a knot in the muscle and you just hold your fingers on that tension, pushing with just a little firmness makes it back off. You are released! I see this all the time in my work, people who for the most part have legitimate reasons to complain but just being heard opens the space for movement in the right direction.

It is good to complain, not all the time, but just enough to make forward progress on an issue. Some people are great at it and their complaining can be quite entertaining, providing real food for thought. If someone is an energy drainer than take in as much as you can with your ears and don’t expect to fix it with your mouth. Go to someone in your life or a group of people that can truly see it for what it is, and don’t think you are above this because there is always a reason to complain…just ask Andy Rooney.

Andy Rooney Not Negative

2 Responses to Complaint Department is Open

  1. Amazing (really) what one blog post can do to deepen our understanding of ourselves. I have never thought about complaining and whether or not I am guilty of the crime. I have a few “qualities” that I dislike, namely I enjoy light gossip. My husband is not a gossiper, but I try to get him to join in with me, fortunately to no avail.

    I’m pleased to announce, though, that I am not a complainer! I burst into the other room to ask my other half if he thought I was a complainer and he gave a resounding “no!”

    Sigh of relief. One fewer thing that I need to work on;-)

  2. Thanks for your comment Lydia. You will be in good company as gossiping is easy to do in age when we know so much about everyone. Technology has increase the second hand news…and third hand…and so on.

    Don’t know that I would go to my husband to ask about my potential bad habits, he would be sure to start going down the list.
    You are right though, it is always good to find out you don’t need to seek out the self help book for yet another problem. I will join you in that sigh of relief.

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