Workplace Complainers

Do you have that one person in your office that constantly complains about the job, the people, the process, the day, the weather, or the fact that someone just complained to THEM? Is this striking a nerve? In my 25 years of employment in the “real world” I have often encountered people that rarely have a positive word to share in conversation. Unfortunately, I am the person who thinks I can have a positive affect on these personality types and, at times, wear myself out trying to change them.

I recently read a blog titled: How to Handle Chronic Complainers that listed all the efforts I ever attempted in making a difference in a chronic complainer’s life. When reading the article, I almost lost all hope! The list goes on about all the things that DON’T work!  Cheering them up, suggesting solutions, ignoring the or complaining right along with them. These are things I’ve tried and tried only to fail and wonder if I am the problem! Why are these people drawn to ME!?

But, there is a glimmer of hope offered by the blogger. A trick that DOES work. When a person complains to you or sheds a negative light on something, you can respond with something like, “You know, that sounds terrible. I don’t know how you deal with all of these problems.” This wording, in a sincere fashion, is what I have been searching for in my 25 years of work. Sincerely let the person know you are sorry things are so bad, that you understand the trials and acknowledging that you hear them. This statement doesn’t mean you agree with their point, or are siding with them on their negative approach.

Words of Wisdom from Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa once said,“Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” If we could implement this into our daily lives, how would that affect those that we interact with on a daily basis? If only we could embrace joy and contentment over anger and jealousy. I know, it is easier said than done, especially for the chronic complainer. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want people to be fake at work. But, there is a difference between venting to a co-worker, seeking advice and living out life with those you spend a great deal of time with and bringing people down, asking for advice that you really aren’t going to follow anyway and trying to make a contest out of who has it worse.

This makes me think of Kristen Wiig as Penelope trying to “one up” everyone on everything.  Kristen Wiig/Group Therapy   AAAHHHH!  Maybe if the people in these sketches were to use the tip suggested by Alexander Kjerulf in his Chronic Complainer blog, Penelope wouldn’t be able to come back with her famous “one-upping” comments.

work complaints

What am I asking for?

My hope is that when we come to work we would try to focus on the good things about our job, co-workers, boss and company. Maybe just enough to not drag others down with you. If you want to tell me about an occasional incident or share something about your day, I’m all in. But, if you’re going to take my precious work time, in which I have a LOT to do, to complain for the sake of complaining, then I would rather you blog about it. I’ll read it when I get to it.





4 thoughts on “Workplace Complainers

  1. I so agree and love that you posted about this! Some people, I think, just feel more stress and anxiety than others, and they release it by complaining. I know I’ve done this from time to time. The wording you supplied for how to deal with chronic complainers is spot on! Sometimes (especially if you’re a problem solver) it’s easy to feel like people want you to solve all their problems … when really they just want a listening ear.

    But if they’re complaining just to complain, then yeah. A blog or a journal is a great tool to use to get out those frustrations! 🙂

  2. Hi Keri!

    I love your blog post! I thought it was pretty funny. But to answer some of the questions you posed in your blog; I think people are drawn to you because you are very calming and have a sort of wisdom in everything you say. I say that because I feel like that when I talk to you too!

    I also love the Mother Theresa quote. I tend to be a fairly pessimistic and negative person so when I read very positive things like that quote; it makes me think twice. It’s nice to hear and it would be an amazing thing to do.


  3. As someone who works in HR, thank you for saying the unspeakable. At times, it feels as though all I do is hear about people piss and moan about trivial issues.

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!

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