Thursday, December 15, 2011


1. Complain peevishly in an annoying or repetitive manner.

1. Be in a huff; be silent or sullen
2. Complain whiningly.

1. Express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness.

The definitions are obviously meant to draw a distinction between whining and what I would call legitimate complaint. It is easy to say that if you agree with someone they are making legitimate complaints and if they are not, they are whining, but I think that is only scratching the surface.
Much of this is due to our brain's negative bias:

The brain ... reacts more strongly to stimuli it deems negative. There is a greater surge in electrical activity. Thus, our attitudes are more heavily influenced by downbeat news than good news.

Our capacity to weigh negative input so heavily most likely evolved for a good reason—to keep us out of harm's way. From the dawn of human history, our very survival depended on our skill at dodging danger. The brain developed systems that would make it unavoidable for us not to notice danger and thus, hopefully, respond to it.

All well and good. Having the built-in brain apparatus supersensitive to negativity means that the same bad-news bias also is at work in every sphere of our lives at all times.

It seems to me that this bias works against our wellbeing in modern society in much the same way as our flight-or-flight response. Alternatively, maybe we are never as happy as when we are unhappy.

So, what of legitimate complaints? Should we always suffer in silence?

Here are some ideas for effective complaining rather than whining:

1. Choose your battles - there's always difficult stuff but if we complain bitterly about them all be become like the boy who cried wolf

2. Work out what can and cannot be changed – If u can’t fix the problem u gotta stand up and deal 

3. Choose your mark - there is no sense complaining to those who cannot help, unless there is an unspoken agreement that you unload on each other.

No comments:

Post a Comment