Life is just not fair, is it? There are going to be days, months, or entire years where nothing seems to go exactly the way you want it to. Sometimes the best of us just have to get it off our chest and find a friend, boss, teacher, or the appropriate authority figure to complain to. Of course, you don’t want to make a habit of it, or you just might get a reputation as a whiner. You know the type. Whiners are the people who have to complain about all the unfairness in their lives, no matter how minor it might seem to everybody else. They can really kill your mood fast. Well, to make it even, there’s one day out of the year where it’s okay to whine. December 26th is National Whiner’s Day.
You Know Them When You See Them
Whiners. There’s just no escaping them some days. As usual, SNL hams it up with their own skit about whiners.
Ways To Stop Whining
So you’ve finally figured out that your complaining is becoming a bad habit. It gets in the way of being productive and you realize that you’ve managed to annoy most of your friends and co-workers. Now you want to figure out how to stop the whining and just get stuff done. Here’s some ways to stop the whining and get yourself back on track.
- Limit your complaining to a few minutes a day. Get somebody to time your complaining and let you know when your five minutes is up. Have a “tip jar” you drop a few coins into for every minute you go over your daily limit. When the jar is full, donate it to charity.
- Stop yourself from rehashing old topics. Have each of your friends already heard about your crazy ex-boyfriend a half dozen times? If so, remind yourself that he’s your EX every time you feel like bringing it up again. Ditto for that thing your in-laws pulled on you last year and that former co-worker who managed to get himself fired for being lazy.
- Brainstorm solutions to those problems you’ve been complaining about. Do it out loud if you want, because finding solutions to your problems doesn’t really count as whining. Once you’ve figured out a solution that sounds reasonable, put it into action and see what happens. You might find that the problem is easier to solve than you once thought.
- Carry a tape recorder around for just one day. Record your interactions with people you associate with routinely. Play it back when you get home. If you notice an excessive amount of complaining on a certain subject, see if you can keep from bringing it up tomorrow. Repeat as often as necessary.
- Find a friend who can help you focus on positive things. If you start complaining, they can remind you to look for something positive related to the topic or change the subject altogether. They might even apply a little “tough love” and refuse to listen to your whining.
Are You A Winner Or A Whiner?
Ways To Stop The Whiner
I bet you’re on the receiving end sometimes. You have a friend or co-worker who just won’t stop whining about how terrible their life is. How can you convince her to quit? Well, maybe it’s a chronic habit and she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. There are ways to shut her down.
- Mention that you’ve already discussed this before. It is possible that your friend has selective amnesia and “doesn’t remember” that she has told you this before. You might be able to stop her whining by reminding her that she told you this the last time you got together.
- Be the positive person. You can be the person who always goes, “Well, sure, but look on the bright side.” Or you can change the topic to something more bright and cheerful. Your friend will either go along with it, or stop talking altogether. Either way, you’ve managed to kill the negativity.
- Refuse to play the blame game. A lot of whiners are looking for a scapegoat they can blame for their problems or chronic complaining is their way of expressing something they haven’t figured out how to say in a more positive manner. If they try to target you, hang up the phone, walk away or otherwise refuse to participate and they will eventually get the message and leave you alone.
- Decide whether it’s not the whiner but the whole situation. The whiner’s problems might not be entirely her fault. In a few cases, it really is a situation that you both might be going through, like having to share an office environment that stifles productivity. You might be able to improve your own situation and also cut down on the whining by suggesting a positive step towards a solution, like finding a new job.
Quit The Whining
So you spilled coffee on yourself this morning, your boss seems to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, and you just found out that Julian got that promotion while you’re still stuck on the heel end of the accounting department. It’s going to be one of those days. Instead of turning it into one of those office drama shows where everybody is dysfunctional, why not turn a negative into a positive? That spilled coffee might be an excuse to change the shirt you weren’t really comfortable with anyway. You can irritate the tar out of your boss by answering his growl with a cheerful, “Good morning, Mister Smith.” And you can look around for a job opening in another department that might even come with a promotion and a pay raise. Hey, it beats sitting in your cubicle, feeling sorry for yourself because your life is miserable.
Winning Over Whiners