Today we complain to relate to one another. Think about it, what do you and your friends talk about most? Well, probably how this sucks and that blows and how things should be different. I’m guilty of it as well so don’t hear me riding on my high horse, I’m with you. When there’s a break in the convo, complaint. When we’re talking about sports, complaint. Talking about our families, complaint. It’s easy and we know others can resonate with our complaints. I’m not sure if this is a new thing for millennials or if this is a deep seeded issue for the human race but I know that today we complain hard core.
I first began noticing this trend of complaining to relate a couple years ago when I was in college. I could relate pretty well with other athletes because we had similar lifestyles, similar schedules and so on (now that I think about it most of those conversations revolved around complaining as well). It was harder to connect with the other students in my major. Although we had similar interests academically, socially we were way different. So we would just complain. We’d whine about tests, grumble about professors, carp about our advisors, gripe about our group partners, and moan about the university itself. It was our way of passing the time, and it was a complete waste of time.
Complaining to relate never accomplishes anything, I’d say it doesn’t even help you relate to others that much. You’re connecting over a negative. Think about the love story that would come from this type of communication. “How’d you two meet, Steve?” “Well, we both hated all the same stuff: construction on highways, boring professors, and the price of gas. Her pessimistic attitude and ungrateful spirit won me over right away.”
I’m not a new age guru and I won’t tell you that positive thinking is the answer to life’s problems. All I’m saying is that complaining as a way to pass the time or connect with a stranger is stupid. It brings you down, it brings them down, and you don’t even get to know that person any better. Next time you’re in a small talk situation count the number of complaints you make. It’s astonishing.
There’s plenty to complain about for sure but I’d argue there is way more to be grateful for. To even have that conversation filled with complaints you use air that your body depleted of oxygen in order to keep you alive instinctively. If you look down at your feet you’ll probably see shoes or sandals. You most likely have some clothes on. If you’re reading this then you have eyes that work and Internet access. If you’re reading this in the United States then you’re in the wealthiest place in what, like all of history?
Do you have hardships in your life? Most definitely. Should you be able to complain about them, sure. I’m just saying if you actively fight the urge to complain when you’re feeling awkward and instead intentionally talk about something positive or something you’re grateful for you’ll have a better time, you’ll get to know people better and you’ll be forced to develop what our grandparents called “social skills”. I understand that this blog post is in someways a complaint about complaining and you’re most likely a stranger I’m trying to relate to, but if you can get past that and hear what I’m saying maybe you’ll see some truth in it.