How to Cope With Nannies That Complain Too Much
People that gossip and complain too much drag us down. No one wants to listen to a friend complain all the time.
In his book, Coping with Difficult People, Robert M. Bramson describes how complainers think and how to cope with them.
He explains, "Complainers don't feel they are whining. From the inside, complaining is an effort...to warn about a thing gone wrong that someone else must fix. When their behavior is pointed out to a Complainer, it is most often met with a lack of comprehension about what is meant and an insistence that the problems are really and not imagined."
Bramson explains that complainers view themselves as powerless, prescriptive, and perfect.
Complainers feel powerless in the management of their own lives, as if the causes of all that happens to them lie outside their grasp.
Complainers have an image of the way things ought to be and a galling sense of injustice that they are not that way.
Complainers believe (to themselves) that they are blameless, innocent, and morally perfect.
Here are Bramson's recommendations on how to cope with a complainer:
"The key to successfully coping with complainers is to break their self-confirming cycle of passivity, blaming others, and powerlessness, and to insist that a problem-solving perspective be taken toward their complaints."
1. People complain to let-off-steam. Putting problems into words provides a release for frustration.
2. Being heard can lessen that sense of being dismissed or powerless which will lead to more complaining.
3. Listening provides information that you will need to carry out the next coping step.
4. By listening attentively you may discover that the person who is complaining to you is merely looking for a sympathetic ear and is not a Complainer after all.
The second coping step is to let the Complainer know you have understood what they have said to you, that you know how they feel, and that you take them seriously.
Be Prepared to Interrupt
To acknowledge, you may have to interrupt. Once you have discovered the gist of their complaints, stop them, as politely as you can, but firmly. Complainers can talk forever if you don't curb their rants.
If acknowledgment is useful, agreement is not. Acknowledgment conveys understanding while agreement confirms to the Complainer that you (or the person they complain about) are responsible for the problem.
Switch to Problem Solving
Bramson suggests, "After acknowledging, but not agreeing with, the Complainer's gripes, it is important to move as quickly as you can into problem solving...Problem solving focuses on what's to be done to make things better in the future. Complaining, on the other hand, reminisces about the history of a problem and assigns blame."
Finally, Be the Best Nanny Newsletter wants you to remember that you are not a therapist! You are a friend! As a caring friend, if someone is too negative or their problems are too complex, you might need to suggest they seek professional help. For example, a symptom of clinical depression includes negative thinking and thinking others' comments are negative, even when their comments weren't intended to be criticism.