Author Topic: Go 21 Days Without Complaining  (Read 6797 times)

Libertea

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Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« on: May 10, 2016, 03:48:49 AM »
About a month ago, I read Will Bowen's book A Complaint-Free World (https://www.amazon.com/Complaint-Free-World-Complaining-Enjoying-ebook/dp/B008WOO692?ie=UTF8&btkr=1&redirect=true&ref_=dp-kindle-redirect), in which he challenges readers to go 21 days in a row without complaining.  I find that I can do pretty well on days when I'm not working.  But on days when I work (and this is one of the major reasons why I'll be quitting this job within the next year), so far I have not been able to make it through even one full day without uttering a complaint.  I think I'm complaining less, so at least there's some improvement, but I haven't reached the point of controlling my complaining altogether.  Anyone else out there in MMM land struggling to stop griping about work, and who'd be willing to serve as a mutual support group to get through the 21 days?  And does anyone have any suggestions for getting through a stressful work day without complaining?  I find I do better if I talk to my coworkers less, but it's obviously not always possible to go all day long without speaking to anyone when I'm at work!

Dee18

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 05:16:37 AM »
Thanks for the book suggestion.  I often find myself going along with the complaining around me, despite having a job I enjoy in many ways, and then more inclined to originate a complaint. I have a particularly stressful week at work, so my goal is to make it through Friday night without complaining again, or agreeing with anyone else's complaints.  (I seriously complained about something to a friend at work yesterday ....and then immediately regretted it, simply because I know it made his day a little less pleasant even though he agreed with me, so I have a ways to go.)

Rollin

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 05:21:29 AM »
You are to be commended. Complaining, blaming, and shaming all fit into that category for me. No good comes from them. These are ways that we let others take control and we shift responsibility for our feelings away from us.

GreenEggs

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 05:57:57 AM »
Being negative and complaining all the time is bad.  But, a complaint is often a form of a suggestion, and if a useful solution results from the complaint maybe the complaint isn't "bad".

If we are slower to complain, and rephrase the complaint in our mind into a way to improve or solve a problem (the thing we're complaining about) it seems to use that negative issue to generate a positive result, or at least a positive goal.

Complaining is often just venting about BS, and some of it is out of our control.  I think that it's normal to vent about things that frustrate us, but we shouldn't dwell on the things that we can't change. 

I try to mix my complaints with a bit of humor.  The BS is still on my mind, and I need to vent, but the humor allows me and any listener to "enjoy" the humorous aspect while we acknowledge the problem.  I try to find a source of humor in bad situations if I can.  It helps soften the pain, while my mind considers & accepts what I can't change, or finds solutions.   

There are general categories for most of my complaints.  There are "Stupid Policies" that come from whoever's in charge.  There are "Stupid People" that do things that stike upon my pet peeves.  As I get older there are the "Aches & Pains" that are hard to ignore.  Then there are the "Ideological Opposites" that just rub me wrong.  "The Weather" can also be a PITA at times and after days & days of rain, snow, freezing temps, 100f degree days, or my gravel driveway getting washed out. 

If I ignored all of those things I think I'd probably need a "bad habit" to help me deal with the pent up frustration.  I think I'll just keep complaining.....   ;)

Rollin

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 01:44:14 PM »
Sounds likes you are talking about suggestions.

Libertea

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 09:17:22 PM »
In the book, Bowen clearly distinguishes between complaints and suggestions, nothing that the latter should A) only be made to the person or people who can actually do something about them, and B) should be constructive in the form of providing a possible solution.  Griping with your coworkers about policies or people at work falls into neither category, since your coworkers probably don't have the power to change policies you all agree suck, and your coworkers definitely don't have the power to change the stupidity of other people.  Nor do your coworkers have the ability to fix your aches and pains (unless maybe you work at a pain management clinic), and they definitely do not have any ability to change the weather.  So as Dee says, all you manage to accomplish by venting about any of these things is making your coworkers' day a little less pleasant.  Not to mention that it's a downer for yourself too.

I feel in my case that awareness of my complaining at work is necessary, but will not be sufficient, to solve the problem.  It may be that I will not successfully reach 21 days in a row until I get myself out of this negative environment.  But I plan to keep trying.  FWIW, I was off today, and I have not complained today about anything.

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2016, 12:25:26 PM »
This thread is too long! My keyboard isn't ergonomic enough! ;)

stoaX

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2016, 01:15:57 PM »
I am going to start with 21 minutes of no complaining.   Then tomorrow I am going to try going 21 minutes without complaining while I am awake! 

Thanks for starting this thread - I could make some improvements in this area.

Libertea

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2016, 02:36:04 PM »
I am going to start with 21 minutes of no complaining.   Then tomorrow I am going to try going 21 minutes without complaining while I am awake! 
You may have actually come up with the solution I needed: start with a shorter time frame, and work my way up to a whole day instead of making it all day or nothing from the get go.  I am going to start by trying to go one hour at work without complaining tomorrow, and once I do that, I'll up it to two hours, until I can last a whole day.  Thanks for the idea. :)

Beardog

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2016, 04:24:53 PM »
I find this very difficult as well.  I have tried unsuccessfully not to criticize anything for an entire day.  I have ordered Will Bowen's book A Complaint-Free World through my local library and look forward to reading it and trying his recommendations.  Thank you for posting this topic and good luck on your quest. 

Maybe I'll try the shorter time frame as well.

G-dog

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2016, 05:20:38 PM »
So I usually complain when I am frustrated by someone or something. So, this feeling of frustration will happen, whether or not I complain. What does the author suggest to do when faced with the circumstances and feelings that typically trigger a complaint?

Thanks -

Libertea

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2016, 06:02:22 PM »
So I usually complain when I am frustrated by someone or something. So, this feeling of frustration will happen, whether or not I complain. What does the author suggest to do when faced with the circumstances and feelings that typically trigger a complaint?

Thanks -
It depends on what the complaint is.  If it's something you can do nothing about (say, the weather), he would say not to talk about it at all.  (It is ok to think about the complaints to yourself as long as you don't voice them aloud to other people.)  If it's a health thing (say, your arthritis is bothering you), he would say to keep it to yourself and not discuss it since your coworkers can't do anything about it (unless you're asking them for an ibuprofen maybe?)  If it's an issue with a specific person (say, you don't like how your coworker is talking to you), then he would suggest discussing it with that person, and only with that person.  If it's some other issue that can be fixed by a specific person (say, getting denied on your request for time off), he would advise you to discuss it with your supervisor or someone else who has the power to fix the problem, NOT with your coworkers who do not have that ability. 

So to summarize: complaints about things that can't be changed should never be discussed with anyone.  Complaints about things that can be fixed can be discussed, but only with people who have the power to fix them, and only with the goal of getting them fixed, not to "vent."

sheepstache

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2016, 07:29:02 PM »
This of course is itself a complaint, but I bought this book for my husband this past summer, begging him to read it, because he complains all the time.

It's funny people mention that you make your co-workers' day less pleasant by complaining, because I often find that complaining is a bonding experience between co-workers. I mean, I don't get it, but that seems to be how it works. One of my friends/co-workers almost had a fight with me because she complains a lot about another person who I actually tend to agree with and support. The friend interpreted that as my being unsupportive of her--in the form of my hedging, like, "well, [person] probably did that because..." or "an approach I find works better with [person] is..." rather than just agreeing with the friend's complaint.  So, ha ha, what I started to do is just save up all the times I do have a problem with said person and remember to bring up those complaints around the friend. Things are much better now.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2016, 07:38:01 PM »
Sometimes you can reset something you would normally complain about.  My only example I can think of is this: I used to complain about toothpaste covering the sink and how the kids could rinse after splitting.  One weekend I cleaned the bathroom sink five times between Friday evening and Monday morning.  As I was about to yell to everyone it suddenly occurred to me - gosh the kids are brushing their teeth a lot.  I still wish they would rinse the sink but I am very happy they are brushing their teeth with regularity.  I am less of a nag although they are still very lackadaisical about any kind of cleaning but our family life is more pleasant. 

Libertea

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2016, 01:30:54 AM »
This of course is itself a complaint, but I bought this book for my husband this past summer, begging him to read it, because he complains all the time.

It's funny people mention that you make your co-workers' day less pleasant by complaining, because I often find that complaining is a bonding experience between co-workers. I mean, I don't get it, but that seems to be how it works. One of my friends/co-workers almost had a fight with me because she complains a lot about another person who I actually tend to agree with and support. The friend interpreted that as my being unsupportive of her--in the form of my hedging, like, "well, [person] probably did that because..." or "an approach I find works better with [person] is..." rather than just agreeing with the friend's complaint.  So, ha ha, what I started to do is just save up all the times I do have a problem with said person and remember to bring up those complaints around the friend. Things are much better now.
He talks about that in the book too, how certain friendships seem to be predicated on mutual griping, and once you stop doing it, the friendship kind of loses its reason for being because the two of you no longer have much to talk about.  Also that complainers tend to hang out with other complainers, and vice versa with noncomplainers.  So if you notice that everyone around you is a complainer.... :-p

Ironically, I read the book because I noticed that *I* was complaining constantly, and I was going to work every day feeling like, ugh, what a drag, I wish I didn't have to go.  It has only been since I've been struggling to stop complaining myself that I've noticed I'm surrounded by other people who also complain constantly, and that this is a major part of our workplace interaction with each other.  In spite of my best intentions, it's incredibly hard not to get drawn into a good b*tchfest when my coworkers are rarin' to go (and I feel the same way as they do about whatever issue they're griping about).  But, I do not want to live my life as a chronic complainer.  So again, I am working on getting myself out of what I now recognize is a generally negative social environment (applying for a new job/career).  Not to mention trying to stop doing my part in adding to the general complaint cesspool.

BlueHouse

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2016, 05:53:45 AM »
Great idea!  I am joining in. I don't think I'm a complainer by nature, but hearing other people's complaints can get me started or at least agreeing. And I definitely don't like being around people who find so much negative around them, so I don't want to contribute to it either. On days that I'm the negative-nelly, I can't even stand to be around myself.
There is one person in particular at work who seems to only communicate by complaining. I'm going to take that as a challenge to see how long I can go without nodding in assent, agreeing with his complaints, or possibly even getting him to say something positive.  Oh, fun! 

FrugalLizard, that was a great example! 

GuitarStv

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2016, 06:33:39 AM »
Complaining, when done properly isn't really about what you're complaining about.  It's a conversation starter, a way to find common ground, a way to tell a wry joke, etc.  You can pry my complaints from my cold, dead hands.

alleykat

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2016, 10:35:37 AM »
I think this is a great topic.  One area I need to improve.  At work, it does seem to be a bonding thing and I don't want to participate but find myself pulled into things. I go home and wish I never said anything, ugh. I want to support people that talk to me, but I find myself complaining along side of them just so they don't feel bad.  Not always though, I do state my opinions if it gets too bad.  I have a line I do not cross.  For ex.  a coworker was totally tearing apart someone personally and I nipped that in the bud.  No, I mean, complain about what they did or said in the office, but personal attacks are off limits and I will not engage in it.  If I lose a friendship over it, then so be it.

It seems sometimes in my personal or work life, complaining just makes for conversation.  How sad is that.

slowsynapse

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2016, 10:45:23 AM »
Not complaining?  That is like The Contest in Seinfeld!  I will try the challenge. 

Rollin

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2016, 02:15:37 PM »
This of course is itself a complaint, but I bought this book for my husband this past summer, begging him to read it, because he complains all the time.

It's funny people mention that you make your co-workers' day less pleasant by complaining, because I often find that complaining is a bonding experience between co-workers. I mean, I don't get it, but that seems to be how it works. One of my friends/co-workers almost had a fight with me because she complains a lot about another person who I actually tend to agree with and support. The friend interpreted that as my being unsupportive of her--in the form of my hedging, like, "well, [person] probably did that because..." or "an approach I find works better with [person] is..." rather than just agreeing with the friend's complaint.  So, ha ha, what I started to do is just save up all the times I do have a problem with said person and remember to bring up those complaints around the friend. Things are much better now.

It's called "misery loves company." Or go to Eckhart Tolle and read about the "Pain Body." Either way, it doesn't sound healthy.

dougules

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2016, 02:27:58 PM »
Are you really saying we should go without complaining?  That's horse crap, Sunshine. 

Seriously, though, I think complaining is my pressure relief valve.  Without that I'd lose my mind. 

G-dog

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2016, 08:33:48 PM »
So I usually complain when I am frustrated by someone or something. So, this feeling of frustration will happen, whether or not I complain. What does the author suggest to do when faced with the circumstances and feelings that typically trigger a complaint?

Thanks -
It depends on what the complaint is.  If it's something you can do nothing about (say, the weather), he would say not to talk about it at all.  (It is ok to think about the complaints to yourself as long as you don't voice them aloud to other people.)  If it's a health thing (say, your arthritis is bothering you), he would say to keep it to yourself and not discuss it since your coworkers can't do anything about it (unless you're asking them for an ibuprofen maybe?)  If it's an issue with a specific person (say, you don't like how your coworker is talking to you), then he would suggest discussing it with that person, and only with that person.  If it's some other issue that can be fixed by a specific person (say, getting denied on your request for time off), he would advise you to discuss it with your supervisor or someone else who has the power to fix the problem, NOT with your coworkers who do not have that ability. 

So to summarize: complaints about things that can't be changed should never be discussed with anyone.  Complaints about things that can be fixed can be discussed, but only with people who have the power to fix them, and only with the goal of getting them fixed, not to "vent."

Thanks for the explanation. I used to engage in a lot of bitching and moaning at work. It can help folks bond, but sometimes it does get to be too overwhelmingly negative.  Not everything is sunshine and roses, but learning to ignore some things is beneficial too.


BlueHouse

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2016, 06:14:33 AM »
So I usually complain when I am frustrated by someone or something. So, this feeling of frustration will happen, whether or not I complain. What does the author suggest to do when faced with the circumstances and feelings that typically trigger a complaint?

Thanks -
It depends on what the complaint is.  If it's something you can do nothing about (say, the weather), he would say not to talk about it at all.  (It is ok to think about the complaints to yourself as long as you don't voice them aloud to other people.)  If it's a health thing (say, your arthritis is bothering you), he would say to keep it to yourself and not discuss it since your coworkers can't do anything about it (unless you're asking them for an ibuprofen maybe?)  If it's an issue with a specific person (say, you don't like how your coworker is talking to you), then he would suggest discussing it with that person, and only with that person.  If it's some other issue that can be fixed by a specific person (say, getting denied on your request for time off), he would advise you to discuss it with your supervisor or someone else who has the power to fix the problem, NOT with your coworkers who do not have that ability. 

So to summarize: complaints about things that can't be changed should never be discussed with anyone.  Complaints about things that can be fixed can be discussed, but only with people who have the power to fix them, and only with the goal of getting them fixed, not to "vent."

Thanks for the explanation. I used to engage in a lot of bitching and moaning at work. It can help folks bond, but sometimes it does get to be too overwhelmingly negative.  Not everything is sunshine and roses, but learning to ignore some things is beneficial too.

Yesterday I declared at the office that I was taking this challenge and asked people to call me on it if they heard me complain. Then someone brought up the weather.
FACT: it has rained 16 days in a row in WDC
FACT: I would love to see the sun soon
FACT: when it dries out, I will enjoy some outdoor activities.
I would have liked to voice some thoughts on whether the rain will let up and its impact on newly planted roses and other flowers, but instead just kept a smile on my face and kept my mouth shut. Because no one wants to hear "at least the drought conditions are gone" when they are commiserating.
Any advice on contributing without complaining?  Or is the point to get out of negative territory altogether and focus on positive things?

Libertea

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2016, 06:32:08 AM »
I just want to say that my goal today was to go one hour without complaining, and I went two complaint-free hours.  It definitely does decrease the amount of time I spend talking to my coworkers, which is probably also a good thing in terms of getting my work done.  Tomorrow my goal is to go three or maybe even four hours, working my way up to a full day.

sheepstache

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2016, 11:32:21 AM »
This of course is itself a complaint, but I bought this book for my husband this past summer, begging him to read it, because he complains all the time.

It's funny people mention that you make your co-workers' day less pleasant by complaining, because I often find that complaining is a bonding experience between co-workers. I mean, I don't get it, but that seems to be how it works. One of my friends/co-workers almost had a fight with me because she complains a lot about another person who I actually tend to agree with and support. The friend interpreted that as my being unsupportive of her--in the form of my hedging, like, "well, [person] probably did that because..." or "an approach I find works better with [person] is..." rather than just agreeing with the friend's complaint.  So, ha ha, what I started to do is just save up all the times I do have a problem with said person and remember to bring up those complaints around the friend. Things are much better now.
He talks about that in the book too, how certain friendships seem to be predicated on mutual griping, and once you stop doing it, the friendship kind of loses its reason for being because the two of you no longer have much to talk about.  Also that complainers tend to hang out with other complainers, and vice versa with noncomplainers.  So if you notice that everyone around you is a complainer.... :-p

Ironically, I read the book because I noticed that *I* was complaining constantly, and I was going to work every day feeling like, ugh, what a drag, I wish I didn't have to go.  It has only been since I've been struggling to stop complaining myself that I've noticed I'm surrounded by other people who also complain constantly, and that this is a major part of our workplace interaction with each other.  In spite of my best intentions, it's incredibly hard not to get drawn into a good b*tchfest when my coworkers are rarin' to go (and I feel the same way as they do about whatever issue they're griping about).  But, I do not want to live my life as a chronic complainer.  So again, I am working on getting myself out of what I now recognize is a generally negative social environment (applying for a new job/career).  Not to mention trying to stop doing my part in adding to the general complaint cesspool.

Yeah, when I think about it, it's strange. This co-worker friend is actually usually open to suggestions and solutions when she vents about stuff, in fact that usually seems like why she brings up problems; that's why I was surprised when I did the same thing with complaints about said person and she was sensitive about it.

Similarly with other co-workers, I think it can be about consensus building, not just bitching. For example, none of us can solve the policy problems we're talking about, but it's useful to share opinions and information to learn whether everyone has the same issue with a policy. That then gives the motivation and direction to speak to management about possible solutions.

Another use I'm thinking of is that it can relieve tension if the person is, in fact, annoyed with me personally. For example if my husband and I are arguing about something and trying to just leave it alone, complaining about someone else is a really effective diversion. He takes to it easily and it seems to make him feel like we're back on the same side.

One way I try to balance things out is to make sure I'm saying positive things. About other people and the world. If I find it's really hard to come up with something nice to say, I know for sure I'm in a complainypants headspace and need to get out of it.

I would have liked to voice some thoughts on whether the rain will let up and its impact on newly planted roses and other flowers, but instead just kept a smile on my face and kept my mouth shut. Because no one wants to hear "at least the drought conditions are gone" when they are commiserating.

Yeah, I have to admit even though I don't like neverending bitchfests, I find something rude about really obvious redirects. Maybe it's only when the person's optimism feels forced? Or maybe it's just the usual awkwardness when someone tries too obviously to control the conversation (same as my MIL taking every subject as a reason to start bitching about Obama). Maybe it feels like a denial of what the other person is expressing. Though I don't mind outright disagreement, like if someone wants to say, 'well I think the rain is great,' that seems fine for them to express their opinion vs. a more passive redirect. Though if the complainer is being really aggressive trying to get them to respond it seems fair.  Interesting, you never really think about all these social rules explicitly.

Beardog

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2016, 09:49:50 AM »
I got the book which is the subject of Libertea's post from my public library and have been enjoying it.  The author, Will Bowen, states that it takes the average person 4 to 8 months to go 21 days without complaining.  So apparently this takes time to master.

The book recommends getting a purple 'Go21DaysWithoutComplaining' bracelet from their web site and switching the bracelet from one wrist to the other if you slip and inadvertently complain.  This seems like a useful technique to help develop focus on what comes out of one's mouth.  I have a rainbow bracelet and am going to try this technique.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2016, 09:59:04 AM »
So I usually complain when I am frustrated by someone or something. So, this feeling of frustration will happen, whether or not I complain. What does the author suggest to do when faced with the circumstances and feelings that typically trigger a complaint?

Thanks -
It depends on what the complaint is.  If it's something you can do nothing about (say, the weather), he would say not to talk about it at all.  (It is ok to think about the complaints to yourself as long as you don't voice them aloud to other people.)  If it's a health thing (say, your arthritis is bothering you), he would say to keep it to yourself and not discuss it since your coworkers can't do anything about it (unless you're asking them for an ibuprofen maybe?)  If it's an issue with a specific person (say, you don't like how your coworker is talking to you), then he would suggest discussing it with that person, and only with that person.  If it's some other issue that can be fixed by a specific person (say, getting denied on your request for time off), he would advise you to discuss it with your supervisor or someone else who has the power to fix the problem, NOT with your coworkers who do not have that ability. 

So to summarize: complaints about things that can't be changed should never be discussed with anyone.  Complaints about things that can be fixed can be discussed, but only with people who have the power to fix them, and only with the goal of getting them fixed, not to "vent."

Thanks for the explanation. I used to engage in a lot of bitching and moaning at work. It can help folks bond, but sometimes it does get to be too overwhelmingly negative.  Not everything is sunshine and roses, but learning to ignore some things is beneficial too.

Yesterday I declared at the office that I was taking this challenge and asked people to call me on it if they heard me complain. Then someone brought up the weather.
FACT: it has rained 16 days in a row in WDC
FACT: I would love to see the sun soon
FACT: when it dries out, I will enjoy some outdoor activities.
I would have liked to voice some thoughts on whether the rain will let up and its impact on newly planted roses and other flowers, but instead just kept a smile on my face and kept my mouth shut. Because no one wants to hear "at least the drought conditions are gone" when they are commiserating.
Any advice on contributing without complaining?  Or is the point to get out of negative territory altogether and focus on positive things?

Just listen to their complains without adding your own. "You must have been really frustrated!" etc. Works on conjunction with the chapter from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People on Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.

Libertea

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2016, 03:49:23 PM »
I have been doing better the past couple of days but still have not gotten through one work day entirely without complaining.  But for sure I am more aware and making more effort to think the complaints to myself instead of voicing them aloud.

I notice too that at work, we mock stupid things people say and do a lot as a group.  This seems less like a gratuitous b*tching session and more like group bonding.  (Listen to what this guy did/said....). The people being mocked are generally outsiders, not coworkers. The only caveat, of course, it that those people would of course not be happy if they somehow heard how we were talking about them.  I am not sure giving this mockery up will be realistic while I'm also working on the not complaining part, but I am at the very least going to try to be more aware about it since it's obviously not the nicest thing to do. 

Metric Mouse

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2016, 12:18:12 PM »
This sounds really hard...

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2016, 07:43:57 AM »
I have been doing better the past couple of days but still have not gotten through one work day entirely without complaining.  But for sure I am more aware and making more effort to think the complaints to myself instead of voicing them aloud.

I notice too that at work, we mock stupid things people say and do a lot as a group.  This seems less like a gratuitous b*tching session and more like group bonding.  (Listen to what this guy did/said....). The people being mocked are generally outsiders, not coworkers. The only caveat, of course, it that those people would of course not be happy if they somehow heard how we were talking about them.  I am not sure giving this mockery up will be realistic while I'm also working on the not complaining part, but I am at the very least going to try to be more aware about it since it's obviously not the nicest thing to do.


  I think complaing is just too ingrained in the Western mindset.  Maybe you should give Buddhism a try.   ;)

Dee18

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2016, 01:43:37 PM »
Thanks for starting this thread.  I checked the book out from the library and began trying to be complaint free yesterday.  I made it 3 hours, but I had to bite my tongue many times to not complain.  I knew I had this bad habit, but I didn't realize how frequent it was.  For now, this is a fascinating experiment.  I'm curious to see how it affects my relationships over time, especially with coworkers.

sing365

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2016, 01:04:11 PM »
I love this idea! I've reserved the recommended book at the library, and I am looking forward to reading it. Count me in for this challenge, although I think it will be difficult.

This thread reminds me of our "family rule" about whining. Whenever you start whining, you have to flap your arms like a chicken. My husband and I devised this rule at the outset of a cross country road trip to forestall long bouts of complaining. It's silly, but it works. It's hard not to smile while you're imitating a chicken. And, it gives you a friendly way to call out the other person for whining - "Shouldn't you be flapping your wings?" It always helps us laugh and feel better about whatever the issue is. I don't know how applicable this trick is to the workplace, but it works great for us at home! (We do not yet have any children, so I don't know if it will work on them.)

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2016, 01:17:17 PM »
Just found this thread and am excited to join in!  I read the book a year and a half ago, and while I have not achieved 21 days (ha!  maybe only 1 full day!), it has had a HUGE impact on me, my family, my interactions with others.  It is one of the life-changing books for me. 

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #33 on: May 22, 2016, 05:57:48 PM »

I notice too that at work, we mock stupid things people say and do a lot as a group.  The people being mocked are generally outsiders, not coworkers. .... those people would of course not be happy if they somehow heard how we were talking about them.

And I think would fall under what Bowen sees as sarcasm, which he equates with complaining. But choosing one thing at a time to focus on might be a good way to keep working at this.

So apparently this takes time to master.

ohhhhhhhhh yeah.....I been working on this for 2.5 years.  Haven't gone a full day, in company with others, without some form of complaint, sarcasm, or gossip.  It takes time (though perhaps more for some of us than others.)

 
Quote
I have a rainbow bracelet and am going to try this technique.


How's it going, Beardog?

I'm curious to see how it affects my relationships over time, especially with coworkers.

The thing I have found really challenging is coming up with other things to say when I want to join in with other people's complaints. Getting used to the awkward silence where I would have just agreed before - that is challenging for me.  But Bowen says to just wait that out - it does get easier, and affects your relationships positively.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 06:07:51 PM by annieme »

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2016, 11:33:21 AM »
I've been doing very well with this challenge, with the exception of a lunch I had with a colleague who just gave notice to quit.  As you can guess, she was enumerating the reasons for leaving, and they got into negative territory a little bit.  We had fun rehashing all the crazy things people do that drive us both crazy, so not a complete b*tch session, because we laughed about most of it. 

I'll also recommend the book "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" by Chris Hadfield.  So much of this book is about planning and preparing and being ready for whatever life throws at you.  Optimizing every opportunity and never complaining.  Great outlook on life! 

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2016, 12:09:11 AM »
Are you really saying we should go without complaining?  That's horse crap, Sunshine. 

Seriously, though, I think complaining is my pressure relief valve.  Without that I'd lose my mind.

Cursing is my relief valve. Complaining is my hobby and pastime.

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2016, 03:23:47 AM »
By nature, I only complain about stuff when I believe something can be done about it.  You will never hear me complain about the weather because last time I checked I have no control over it. 

However, I work with a guy who complains about EVERYTHING.  No lie, he'll complain about stuff that has nothing to do with him or anything he does.  For example, he'll complain about the food in the building's cafeteria--the cafeteria in which he never eats.  He'll complain about TV shows he never watches, music he doesn't listen to, etc.  He has one particular task which isn't onerous in the slightest and EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY he complains about it at length.  Numerous people have told him to his face "in the time you've spent complaining about this you could have finished it" and variations of "please shut the fuck up and just do it."  Once when he'd driven me particularly insane (I sat in front of him for two of the longest years of my life) I flat out asked him "Is there ANYTHING you like?"  He seemed genuinely perplexed by the question.  At times I've been actually impressed by what he can come up with to bitch about.

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2016, 02:59:12 PM »
So I now am down to seven months until I quit this job for good.  I'm finding that, while knowing there is an end in sight does help somewhat in letting the "small stuff" roll off my back, the main thing I can do to help myself not complain is to simply talk to my coworkers as little as possible.  I don't mean being rude and ignoring people or not responding when they talk to me; I mean not socializing at work, and interacting as little as possible with my coworkers outside of actually doing work. 

I have mixed feelings about this strategy.  On one hand, it's not very much fun to simply endure this situation the way I currently am.  I am definitely reaching the point where I kind of dread going in to work, and every work day, I find myself wishing I didn't have to be there.  On the other hand, that's kind of the whole point of why I'm leaving/doing this challenge, right?  I already know it's not a good work environment, and I'm taking steps to get out of it (applying for other jobs, interviewing, setting a quit date, etc.).  And it's not like there's open hostility between my coworkers and me there.  It's just an overall low-level unpleasantness that leaves me feeling generally icky. 

I'm down to just over 33 weeks and 2 days, of which the last two weeks will be paid leave.  Not that I'm counting. :-D

marty998

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2016, 03:22:28 PM »
Ok. I have a goal for today now. No complaints about anything.

Will report back with results. This is going to be ridiculously hard considering the day at work I am likely to have.

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2016, 05:07:20 AM »
Quest complete! I think if I classify one or 2 comments as 'observations' rather than complaints....

Honestly? Felt amazing to try and find a happy upside to everything that came my way. Much more productive and then had a great time out in the evening too :D


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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2016, 07:10:31 AM »
Quest complete! I think if I classify one or 2 comments as 'observations' rather than complaints....

Honestly? Felt amazing to try and find a happy upside to everything that came my way. Much more productive and then had a great time out in the evening too :D

Yay Marty!

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2016, 10:42:02 AM »
i'm in on this.  i complain way too much in my ultra first world plush life.  count me in. lets see if i can do this ....

day 1... 8/12/2016 11:41AM

Here we go.

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Re: Go 21 Days Without Complaining
« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2016, 11:18:16 AM »
Next you'll find it completely unacceptable to hear people complain. I once let a coworker know what I was thinking about all his complaining. I only told him it does no good to complain. Only action or change helps. He didn't appreciate that and probably went on to complain about me. :)