Social Question

GloPro's avatar

Have you ever noticed how much people complain?

Asked by GloPro (8306points) July 5th, 2014 from iPhone

People complain about things that really don’t matter and everyone else has to listen to them. It’s really starting to drive me insane.

Why do people complain so much? Are things really that bad?

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33 Answers

Aethelwine's avatar

Yeah, people who are bitching about the air conditioning in their car not working or the moderation on a website does not make sense to someone who is waiting for a lung biopsy result or when someone is dealing with the loss of a parent.


^three letters than can suck it

Berserker's avatar

Haha a question complaining about people who complain. :p

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I can’t say I’ve noticed this really. People might have a bit of a whinge on occasions, but I must be lucky and I don’t spend time with people who compulsively complain. Of course, what doesn’t matter to you (or me), might be very important to someone else OR they might be going through other things that are making those little things loom large OR they may just be whingers.

Whether things are so bad depends what it is people are complaining about. My government is going on and on about a budget crisis in a country with the second strongest economy in the world. Given their recent budget plans, anyone on the receiving end of their planned medicine, that seems to be primarily directed at the poor and vulnerable, would have reason to complain.

GloPro's avatar

@Symbeline The irony did not escape me.

Seriously, though, I’m overly sensitive to complainers at the moment. It seems like everyone is so self centered.

Berserker's avatar

I’m just making a joke yo. :) I mean, I figured I had to say it before some other fucker, without meaning to make a joke, would. :)

flip86's avatar

Yes. All day at work I hear people complain about some product they can’t get because its either discontinued or out of stock at the warehouse. Some of these people are nuts. They get a look of desperation when you say there isn’t any. You tell them that the store brand is made by the name brand they are desperately after and they get all pissy for even suggesting they buy store brand. It’s the same product, in different packaging. Hood makes most of the dairy products for Hannaford, including the ice cream.

CWMcCall's avatar

People will tend to complain more because you listen to their crap. You must have “Bitch Away” written across your forehead. When it gets to be too much to listen to anymore, I tell them if you put half as much energy into improving your situation as you do bitchin’, you would no longer have anything to bitch about!

Mimishu1995's avatar

Not until recently…

I think people complain because they think their situation is the worst or because they want attention.

ucme's avatar

Yeah, the people who constantly flag shit here because they’re offended by what they see.
They are then overworking the very people they adore & protect so much, the mods.
The irony seems to be lost on these people, highly amusing stuff.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Sometimes having access to too much and not realizing you could be much worse off leads to complaining.

Pachy's avatar

I think people have always complained. There’s just never been such a ubiquitous and easy-to-use medium for doing it than the Internet.

Oh, and maybe you should ask yourself why _you_complain so much about complainers.

hominid's avatar

I know that people have already mentioned this – and you have stated that “the irony did not escape me”. But I think if there is anything at all to find about the human mind and why we complain, it’s to be found here in your question.

Why do we complain? It seems that we complain when we want things to be another way. Our minds complain all the time, but for it to be expressed as an external complaint, there may be something else. It appears that much of our external complaining is motivated by:
1. a need to connect. “Isn’t it sooo hot out?”
2. a desire to recruit others to affect change.
3. a suspicion that expressing dislike of things as they are is a way of “venting”, which relieves us of some of our suffering.

But we know that #3 is just wrong. Research has shown that people who rely on “venting” to friends by complaining about negative things simply reinforce the negative emotions they have concerning the object of their complaints.

And as just speculation (like the rest of my answer), #1 and #2 seem to be useful if we understand the positive and negative consequences and how our minds can trick us into believing that our complaining is providing some utility.

I would imagine that the answer to your question (“Why do people complain so much?”) can be found in examining why you posed this very question.

jca's avatar

Most people in my life do not complain a lot. I am wondering if you either are hanging out with or near the wrong people. I try to avoid negative types of people. If people I knew complained or whined a lot, I’d avoid them.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Oh my YES!! People love to bitch about anything and everything that they dislike or don’t understand, I fall under that spell from time to time.
Maybe it’s a form of venting, or maybe we want to see if anyone else sees it the way we do , does it accomplish anything , in the long run I would have to say no, will people ever stop bitching NO, so all you can really do is smile and say have a nice day.

cookieman's avatar

Louis CK goes on about this quite a bit. “White people problems”, I’ve heard him call them.

Basically that life is generally so good in America, that we invent shit to complain about.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

There are two types of complaining in my book. There are (1) those who complain in order to start dialogue toward improvement, and (2) those who whine for attention or out of the sheer ennui of their miserable lives and are too cowardly to change their situation. They love their misery and enjoy being victims. Worst of all, they suck the energy out of everyone around them. They only produce the negative, never positive. Most importantly, they should be kept away from children.

The first group I understand. As to the second group I have to fight off the urge to knock them unconscious and drop off in downtown Port-au-Prince without passport or money where they can live among real people with real problems living truly miserable lives with no immediate solutions under a corrupt government that lets any mafia-style foreign entrepreneur with money suck the life, natural resources—future and hope—from their own people.

These people, these whiners, are just little shits who’ve never been challenged and are the absolute dregs of any environment they occupy. They waste their lives and those who give them their valuable time. They need t see how bad it can really get. How truly fucked up things can be.

GloPro's avatar

I’m talking about the most simple complaining to anyone within earshot. The line is too long. My food sucks. You put me on hold long enough.

Strangers, being indignant, and taking out little grievances on others.

I admit I’ve been very aware and sensitive lately to how often something negative is coming out of people’s mouths. I’m a little bummed that it seems more often than not.

@Pachy Huh? Not sure I get where your question is going. I’m happy to explore why I complain about complainers. Do I do it a lot?

GloPro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Exactly. You get my point.

jca's avatar

To me, some of the complaints in the examples recently provided by the OP @GloPro could be legitimate gripes, i.e. I’ve been on hold long enough or the lines are too long. If I were a customer with these issues, complaining would be my way of saying “you need to change things or you’re going to risk losing business, including mine.” These are different complaints than complaining for the sake of complaining.

canidmajor's avatar

Just as a counterpoint, let me ask why so many complain about people who are not complaining? Every holiday season there are a bunch of complaints, on a variety of media, about Chritmas/holiday letters, where people express joy about the good things in their lives. Or they complain about people being consistently cheerful with their Facebook postings. Or they complain about a bumper sticker expressing pride in a child’s academic or athletic achievement.

In some circumstances, complaining is more socially acceptable than expressing pride or happiness about something, which some folks immediately denigrate as “bragging”.

I get that this was probably not really your point, @GloPro, but it’s another angle to the question…

GloPro's avatar

@jca What prompted this question was a lady in the grocery store last night. She got in line with two bottles of Triple Sec. She only wanted one, but wanted to compare prices. So the girl rings both, and this lady complains that neither price is what she read on the aisle (why she didn’t choose one while looking at the prices on the aisle escapes me). So the bag boy scurries off to visually inspect the signage while everyone else in line is trapped behind this woman. Several minutes go by and he comes back. The first thing out of her mouth was “You took long enough. I didn’t realize buying one thing would take me 30 minutes.”
She bought the cheaper bottle, complained about the quality of the bottle she chose, and repeated twice more about how long she had to wait.

The rest of us, standing in the express lane, all just stood there waiting. I was listening to the conversations around me and noticed each of them was a negative conversation. I’m standing there, beat from a 12-hour drinking holiday shift at the ER, where people had some serious issues, absorbing how negative people are.

I do think it’s in part because I had a very long and busy weekend full of drunken episodes and stressed out people that I am sensitive to how minor all of the things we tend to complain about are. It became a personal goal to be more aware of the things I am voicing, and whether they are positive or negative.

I posted this question because I needed to vent it a little bit. Like I said, I am aware of the irony.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

There are people in the world who are energy vampires. They use these little snippets of negativity to elicit a response in kind. They require your negative response. They are everywhere.

jca's avatar

@GloPro: I understand. I have been in situations like that and I try to just ignore the negativity. I get frustrated in those situations but sometimes I may look at the person behind me and say something like “Murphy’s law, right?” meaning Murphy’s Law says the line I’m in will be the line with an issue. I just try to distract myself and deal with the annoyance.

I don’t understand the woman complaining about the quality of the liquor. I mean with liquor, what you get is what you get, right?

On “the other side of the fence” yesterday I was going to a party and stopped at a supermarket first to get something to bring. Long story short, I got two boxes of cupcakes and some fancy napkins, and because the cupcakes rang up incorrectly and the napkins did, too, I got the whole thing for the price of one box of cupcakes (napkins were free, one box of cupcakes were free). I felt bad for the lady behind me who had to wait and deal with the price checking, but what could I do. It wasn’t my fault.

Haleth's avatar

@Dan_Lyons you’re not kidding.

One time I drove a relative to the doctor, and she complained the whole way. She could smell cigarette smoke from someone on the street. My hands weren’t at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. The guy ahead of us was a bad driver. She needed me to pull over so she could call the doctor, because “the directions weren’t very good.” She did this three times, because talking on the phone while someone else is driving “made her feel like she was going to puke.” When she’s in the car, I drive exactly the speed limit because she complains otherwise. But OH, now we’re running late, so we need to hurry up and find the place.

I said, “I think it’s in this shopping center” and she goes, “I’m not driving around in a shopping center parking lot!” so we had to drive all around the neighborhood, everywhere except the shopping center, and guess where it was.

I asked her later if she could try to see things in a more positive light. She said she just thinks the world is a bad place, and the only reason I don’t is I’m too young to know better.


jca's avatar

@Haleth: That sounds like someone who, thankfully, you don’t have to deal with much. Chalk it up to that she’s crazy, is overly anxious or whatever and just avoid her.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, and I really loathe chronic complainers, having to watch myself this year so I don’t fall into that trap.

Paradox25's avatar

This is why I avoid most people near me, because they seem to look at me weird when I prefer to have deep discussions about important or interesting topics/issues. However, when it comes to gossip and putting others down, their mouths all of a sudden run nonstop.

You get jumped on no matter what you do though, whether you’re assertive, shy, confident, nice, talkative, aloof, a jerk, a complainer, a non-complainer, etc. I try to limit my ‘complaining’ to issues I care about the most.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I think people who complain in the way you describe ‘the line is too long’ type stuff, may just be passing time. I’ve noticed it seems to some soft of social thing. You’re sitting waiting to see the doctor and the lady next to you says “Oh it’s very cold isn’t it?” or “Medicine is so expensive these days”. I suspect it may just be some form of small talk. Insignificant gripes that we may have in common. It might be off-the-cuff too. Not really meant as a complaint as just an irritation they/I/you are sharing. “Every time I come in this store, the service seems to get worse”. Perhaps it’s a form of destressing? Defusing an irritating situation. Shrugs… “bloody cold today isn’t it?”

GloPro's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Maybe. That’s why I’m making a more concerted effort to begin my small talk with “I really like your (fill in the blank), where did you find it?” Or “Huh, would you look at that. Last week Star reported that Katie Holmes is anorexic. Now they say she’s too fat. You just can’t win, huh?” Or some small positive or neutral chit chat. This commiseration is raining on my parade.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I think that’s a really good plan. Perhaps we could start a movement. ‘Positive Only Talk Positive” or POTS. :-)

We should try it for a while and report back on whether the people we’re speaking to become more positive in their responses.

dxs's avatar

Oh yes. I work at a hotel. I could write a book.

“The TV doesn’t turn on!”
Try pressing the “on” switch, my dear.

“I smell chemicals! You clean with chemicals, don’t you?”
What would you like me to clean with? My ass sweat?

“There’s not enough towels!”
I’m sorry, one towel per person per day wasn’t enough? If you stay here next time, I’ll make sure to book you in the laundry room.

“Can you bring my luggage up to my room?”
Sure, as a matter of fact, why don’t you just hop onto my back, too?

“Can’t you charge less than that? There’s a $69 room down the street!”
Please, by all means, go sleep with the bed bugs and stop wasting both of our time.

“Why are you making me check out so early when I checked in so late?!”
I want you to get the hell out at check-out time because I have to clean up your mess for the next people and no one was stopping you pigs from coming here and making your filthy mess at check-in time.

The things I wish I could say sometimes, but I know you must be patient with customer service.

Berserker's avatar

What would you like me to clean with? My ass sweat?


GloPro's avatar

@dxs The complaints in the ski industry killed me. People came here to ski and then complain that it’s snowing, or that there’s too much snow.

One man called a manager over at the burger shack on mountain to tell him it was “unacceptable” that there was no onion for his burger. I was sitting there, drinking a Bloody Mary and thinking what a beautiful day it was and he was complaining about onions. Because the manager has to be nice all of the time, I told the guy that if onions are the make or break on such a wonderful day that maybe he should start carrying them in his pocket.

The manager bought my drink.

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