I don’t want to be boring.
But there is a kind of behavior that makes me a terrible person to have a conversation with – complaining.
I was driving home from work and a bad driver cut me off. I honked my horn to let him know about it, and he gestured abuse at me. What a jerk! My mind fast-forwarded to getting home and telling my partner all about it.
And I had this revelation – if you do that you will be boring. You haven’t seen your girlfriend all day, and when you see her you are going to dump this out as the first thing of note about your day. And you do this often. Don’t. Don’t be so negative & dull.
I was working with a guy for a week, one who I like but hadn’t worked so exclusively with before. We were together 10 hours a day, and he complained in circles for the whole week. It wore thin very quickly. I tried turning it around, having theme days like “Positive Thursday” and “Feelgood Friday” that I would remind him about whenever he started complaining. It helped slightly, but not much. I still like him, but only when seeing him in small doses.
There are definitely times we need to raise our voice, assert ourselves, push back against injustice & rudeness. But if this merely amounts to whinging in the company of friends, you are bad company.
Really think about it, who would enjoy listening to all the negatives of your day?
I’m not interested in hearing about how you were on hold for nearly an hour. I don’t care about how bad the traffic was. And instead of telling me about the rude hotel manager on your vacation, tell me about the vacation instead.
Constant negative focus not only makes you a poor conversationalist, it rotts your mood, personality & attitude. If you are focusing constantly on the negative, you will dwell in it until it is all you know.
Are you going to end up on your death bed reflecting on the blessings of your life, or complaining that the pillow is uncomfortable?
Most of the things we complain about are first-world problems. Are you clasping a bad mood because someone you dislike made an idiotic remark?
Have you ever met the guy who spends hours complaining that the bus was 10 minutes late? They have wasted more time complaining then the late bus ever took from them.
Who do you want to be?
Are you only happy when you are unhappy? Or do you want to celebrate life?
Do you treat life as an opportunity or as a burden?
There is a phrase in the business world that if you blame others for your problems, you remove your ability to deal with those problems.
Accept that we will have elements in our life that will annoy us. But learn to let them go quickly.
Aim to be a person who can inject some positivity into your next conversation. Keep an ear out for funny jokes, feel-good news stories, new delicious foods, interesting books & movies.
Are you a complainer? Do you always feel negative? Try some of our tips below to be a more interesting & positive person. You’ll feel better and those around you will enjoy your company far more.
1. Notice your negative behavior: When you find yourself complaining or brooding, identify it as such so that you aren’t letting it go by unchecked.
2. Tell yourself to stop: You may have a right to complain about something, but it’s your choice to dwell on it. If you find yourself in conversation complaining, say out loud “I’m not going to dwell on it”, and change the subject to something more positive. Noticing your negative behavior and halting it may feel stilted at first, but eventually it turns into habit. You end up naturally filtering your negative behavior instead of letting it run free.
3. Look for positives: As you go about your life, anticipate that someone is likely to ask you how your day/week was. Make mental notes of highlights of your week as you live them. When someone actually does ask you, you will have a fun answer in your pocket ready to go.
4. Find things to be thankful for daily: Ask yourself (or do the exercise with your partner) of naming something you are thankful for each day, perhaps even a few things. These can even be as basic as being thankful for a good book you are reading, the love of your pet, or your husband’s delicious cooking.
5. Let it go: People will always offend you, be rude to you and spoil your day. Let it go. Brooding on it, however justified, will do you more harm than good. Get it off your chest if need be, but don’t keep returning to it.
6. Listen to fun music: Make a playlist on your ipod of songs that put you in a good mood. Play the list whenever necessary. Music is a powerful tool when dealing with your emotions and state of mind. Try our list of suggestions.
7. Be accountable: Tell friends & family that you are whining too much, and tell them to pull you up on it when you are doing it. They may ask you to do the same, which helps create an environment that doesn’t indulge complaining.
8. Treat yourself: Feeling negative? Do something that you know will cheer you up. Go indoor rock-climbing. Kick a footy with a friend. Indulge your sweet tooth. Inject more fun into your life.
Friends, it’s good to be alive. Let's Talk.