15 Signs You’re a Complainer and Don’t Know It

Complaining is about who you are, not the world around you.

Ever notice how two people can experience the same thing and have opposite responses? One remains positive, even grateful. The other complains.

15 signs you’re a complainer and don’t know it:

  1. You don’t complain. You’re just being real.
  2. You focus on mistakes like hogs focus on slop.
  3. Your inner critic is your best friend. Beating yourself up is a sport. I’m not talking about pursuing excellence. I’m talking about using past failures as whipping posts.
  4. You replay failure over and over.
  5. Compliments embarrass you. If people knew the whole story, they wouldn’t compliment you.
  6. Irritation is your normal response to most events.
  7. You wonder why you can’t be like other leaders.
  8. Playing ‘what if’ is your favorite past-time.
  9. You call yourself a perfectionist. Nothing is ever good enough. Everything could be better and you let everyone know.
  10. You don’t want people to feel too good about themselves. After all, most already over-value themselves.
  11. You deflect corrective feedback with excuses and blame. The idea that you screw up is too hard to swallow. (See #9.)
  12. You worry that people are taking advantage of you.
  13. You never really live up to your potential.
  14. You constantly make little improvements on other people’s ideas.
  15. The last compliment you gave happened when Fred Flintstone was Mayor of Bedrock.

Complaining is about you, not others.

Complainer or leader:

Personal responsibility to make things better transforms you from a complainer to a leader. What are you going to do about it?

Leaders point out dark in order to pursue bright.

Complainers don’t want solutions. They want sympathy.


  1. Track complaining. Make it an office project.
  2. Ban complaining for a day, then a week.
  3. Say something good every time you complain.

How might leaders stop the habit of complaining?

Sometimes you have to let your hair down.Whining Wednesday!”

Bonus: Read The No Complaining Rule by Jon Gordon. (The first time I read the No Complaining Rule I thought it was ridiculous.)