Why do people complain?

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A chronic grumbler is not someone you want to be around
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Why do people complain? For lots and lots of reasons!

There is not a person alive who can honestly say that he has never uttered a complaint. Humans gripe. That’s just the way it is. However, there are those people who have made a career out of grumbling and it is tiresome if you have to be in their company. Nothing is ever right in their life and someone else is always to blame for it.

Why do people complain?

People gripe and do so either instrumentally or expressively, according to Robin Kowalski, Ph. D., professor of psychology at Clemson University. When carping “instrumentally” this means that a person utters a complaint in hopes that it can change will occur as a result of it being issued. This is goal-oriented griping. For example, if you nag to your 16-year-old daughter that her room is a disgusting mess, you are hoping to motivate her to do something about it by griping about it. Good luck.

When a person carps “expressively” he is unloading and releasing pent up concerns. The person hopes to get sympathy as a result of his objections. Complaining can make you feel better because you’ve gotten it off your chest. If a mother nitpicks to her friend that she has far too many children she doesn’t really expect her neighbor to take one of them. She is simply letting off steam, frustrated over the demands and responsibilities of having a lot of kids.

On the other hand, there are those people who incessantly whine yet have no interest in solving the problem they are protesting about.

Complaining may have initially been a form of warning other members of the clan that there was danger in the vicinity. If there was a very hungry lion lurking outside of the cave, loudly yelling about the intruder let others know that one of their clansmen was in danger and that they might be too.

When someone complains to another person it can in fact bond the two people especially if they have the same problems, such as the same boss, or the same situation at home. Women criticize expressively while men tend to grumble instrumentally. Women may gripe as a means of bonding with others whereas men don’t use this methodology as much if at all, with the exception of stand up comics.

When instrumental criticism is issued that are valid and a conversation ensues this can be constructive and beneficial. Venting can be a person’s way of asserting himself and being heard and taken seriously.

One of the standard topics among comics and men in general is that their wife nags all the time. It may just be that women talk more than men and if they are troubled they say so, loudly and often. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to keep buttoned up and not express how they feel because they were never encouraged to do so.

Women do, however, appear to have more pet peeves than men and get extremely bent out of shape over incidental things such as the kitchen cabinet doors left open or the toilet paper roll dispensing under instead of over.

There are those who are considered unhealthy gripers because they cut loose on anyone who happens to cross their path. If you run into an acquaintance in the aisle at the grocery store and say, “Hi, Mary, how are you?” You really don’t expect Mary to launch in a full scale litany about her hemorrhoids, her husband’s diabetes and her son’s jail time. A simple “Fine, thank you,” would have sufficed, even though it might not be true.

This type of whiner will go on and on but never will she ask about your life or how you are doing.

A person who never stops carping is filled with negativity. She is a very toxic person and her toxicity can spread like wildfire. You may find yourself nagging more. Stay away from this type of person if possible. Occasional venting is normal but non-stop criticism is not beneficial or productive.

Stop complaining and do something about that which is driving your crazy.

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