April 16, 2021

What Does Complaining Accomplish Anyway?

I can tell you what it doesn’t accomplish.  It doesn’t make you feel any better about your condition.

Oh, I know, people say that it’s “the squeaky wheel that gets the grease” but it you look statistically over a period of time even what that squeaker gets is a small percentage of what they are complaining about.  And even then, what they “get” they may have had coming to them anyway.

However, let’s look more at our friend the squeaker.  It turns out that this person is classically discontent.  If it’s not one thing that’s bugging them, it’s another.  And they spread their discontent doing harm to both the hearer and squeaker:

What they found was that for girls, sharing problems with friends strengthened their friendships — but it also increased their feelings of depression and anxiety.

“What is interesting is that co-rumination is not only linked with anxiety and depression, but it is also linked with friends feeling close to one another,” Rose said.

The same trend was not seen in boys, in whom sharing problems increased feelings of friendship but had no impact on their depression or anxiety levels.

Yale’s Kazdin said the findings of the study seem to back up behavior differences seen between girls and boys.

“There is a body of research around this that adds to its credibility,” he said. “For example, girls tend to make more internalizing statements — blame themselves a little more for things that happen — in contrast to boys who tend to make more externalizing statements, [in other words] blame outside causes.”

“It has long been known that girls are more prone to anxiety and depression during adolescence than boys,” agreed Jonathan Sandoval, professor of education at the University of the Pacific’s Benerd School of Education in Stockton, Cali. “This is a time when societal pressures and expectations impact young women negatively, and talking about their concerns with others is obviously better than keeping them to themselves.”

Regardless, it did not bring about a positive response except for camaraderie to some degree.  Camaraderie, though, is built in many negative ways– for example, making fun of another person, joining a gang, etc. so we cannot say that this is necessarily a positive outcome.

So what does it accomplish?  An infective nature of decreased expectations, apathy, and downright dislike of something and the inability to seek solutions– because we’re too apathetic to make a difference.

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2 thoughts on “What Does Complaining Accomplish Anyway?

  1. MIn – I often feel drained after listening to someone complain. I think the work environment is something a breading field for such thing. You have so many personalities, assignments, and initiatives you’re bound to have a few people who aren’t happy with it, complain and the like. I work with more women then men so my observations regarding gender might be a little lop-sided. Great post.

  2. I went to a pretty demanding college– lots of rules– but they weren’t half as bad as hearing this one roommate I had complain about them. I had to leave the room at times because of how negative his comments were! They really can begin to grate on you!

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