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:
- You don’t complain. You’re just being real.
- You focus on mistakes like hogs focus on slop.
- 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.
- You replay failure over and over.
- Compliments embarrass you. If people knew the whole story, they wouldn’t compliment you.
- Irritation is your normal response to most events.
- You wonder why you can’t be like other leaders.
- Playing ‘what if’ is your favorite past-time.
- You call yourself a perfectionist. Nothing is ever good enough. Everything could be better and you let everyone know.
- You don’t want people to feel too good about themselves. After all, most already over-value themselves.
- You deflect corrective feedback with excuses and blame. The idea that you screw up is too hard to swallow. (See #9.)
- You worry that people are taking advantage of you.
- You never really live up to your potential.
- You constantly make little improvements on other people’s ideas.
- 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.
- Track complaining. Make it an office project.
- Ban complaining for a day, then a week.
- 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.)
Wow!! Powerful article. This is very helpful.
One way leaders can stop the habit of complaining is by intentionally changing their focus. This can be achieved by practicing being proactive as opposed to being disruptive.
Maybe instead of banning complaints, which could drive solvable problems underground, you could let people, and yourself, complain as much as is needed PROVIDED the complaint ends with a suggested solution… I’m not sure is that still complaining is it something else?
Nice list. I can find myself in quite a couple of them, and still I do not see myself as a complainer. So am I?
For instance if #5 is true for you, you could also be suffering from impostor syndrome (I am still battling this).
#7 is true for me. So I talk to these other leaders, and what I admire in them, to see if I can model their behaviour and get better.
I am consciously recovering (as in ‘aware/unskilled’) from #9. It is going pretty well 🙂 I am countering my reflex of #11 with rigorous transparency.
Hmmm… is my reaction here an example of #11? There is a little bit of #6 in it for sure (my reaction to #5 was certainly).
Ok. I am guilty. And trying to get better. I wonder, I guess we all have a little bit of the whole list?
Great article, I Also find many of these to be true in me at least to some extent. It actually becomes a bit disturbing…. Definitely an area for improvement… Thanks
With the right mindset, problems become possibilities, irritations become opportunities, and road blocks become stepping stones for success. With the right mindset, we don’t live in the environment of impossibilities, you bring the atmosphere of success to what you do and wherever you go. Change who you see yourself to be, to who you potentially could be. See yourself in a different light, and the world will be a different playing ground. Of course, you will then have no time for complaints. You will become a wellspring of compliments.
I hate to admit it, but I see myself in more of these than I’d prefer to. I see some changes in my future! Thanks, Dan, for opening my eyes to some beneficial points of reflection!
Hey Brandie. I created the list by looking at myself. 🙂 … But, they say recognizing an issues is the beginning of solving it.
Love the list Dan. It shows a flip on many of the spins we tell ourselves.