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Facade's avatar

How do you react when someone tells you not to complain about something?

Asked by Facade (22899points) May 25th, 2009

Do you comply? Ignore them?
Does anyone have the right to tell anyone else what to complain about? The right to complain?

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15 Answers

Darwin's avatar

When my father used to do it when I was a teenager I shut up. He was my father and he generally paid for whatever it was I was complaining about, so however unfair I thought he was, he had the right to tell me to stop complaining.

Nowadays, I don’t complain except perhaps to my therapist, but that is part of what I pay him to do, listen to my woes. If I don’t like something that is happening I tend to speak up and ask that it be changed. Thus people don’t usually tell me not to complain, because I don’t. I find that speaking up is generally more effective, but if it fails, getting even makes me feel better.

If the school district tells me not to complain (or speak up) about the treatment they are doling out to my son or the accommodations they agreed to provide but are not, I get a lawyer.

Often people who are complaining are very irritating to those around them. That whiny tone is just really unpleasant. Thus I would feel justified in asking them to be quiet or stop complaining if I thought they would have any degree of empathy at all. However, since much complaining comes from immature people it would be pointless to expect empathy, so I vote with my feet and leave them to complain by themselves.

If you are irritating people with your complaining they have a right to tell you so. You can keep on complaining, as it is your right to say what is on your mind, but then they have a right to walk away from you.

pikipupiba's avatar

I remind myself that only women complain.

(not the denotative woman, but the conotative)

Jeruba's avatar

I interpret it in one of three ways:

(a) “I don’t want to hear your complaint.”
(b) “There is nothing to complain about.”
(c) “You have no right to complain.”

If a, someone is just as much entitled to tell me what he or she doesn’t want from me as I have to tell them. I would normally respect that.

If it’s b or c, I’d have to think about it for a moment. b might be right: I am fussing for no reason other than being out of sorts. In that case I should just shut up and not spread it around.

Depending on the circumstances, I would challenge c. If something really is wrong, and I am entitled to expect otherwise, I have a right to complain.


@pikipupiba, what on earth are a denotative and a connotative woman? Those are traits that words have, not people.

denotative (adj.)

1. having power to denote.
2. denoting or tending to denote: the denotative meaning of a word.

connotative (adj.)

1. Implying something additional; illative.
2. (Log.) Implying an attribute.

dannyc's avatar

Complaining is good therapy for the complainant but irritating for the recipient of the complaint, especially if the complainer complains all the time.

loser's avatar

I shut up and shut down.

casheroo's avatar

Depends on who it is. If I’m whining, I usually feel justified to be complaining about it. I will defend my complaining lol

saraaaaaa's avatar

I go for the ‘cold shoulder’ approach. Works like a charm.

wundayatta's avatar

I generally try to look at myself and see if I am complaining. If I am, I try to be more constructive.

Except if complaining is just venting. This is better done with people in the same situation. Then they all know what it’s like, and no one thinks you are trying to be special because you’re complaining.

Facade's avatar

@daloon What’s wrong with being special?

wundayatta's avatar

Well, if it’s for a thing people like, it’s fine, but if it’s for a thing people don’t like, “special” isn’t good. Don’t you know people who think they’re “special” but they really aren’t? Do you want them at your dinner table when you’re trying to have a good time?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’m with Jeruba on the a b and c of complaining. If someone said that to me, I’d feel kind of embarrassed and have to think on what it is that’s got me worked up to where people who know me well enough to check me feel I’m out of line.

cak's avatar

If I’m complaining to the point where people need to tell me to stop complaining, it means I’ve probably carried on long enough about whatever is annoying me; however, that doesn’t mean that I won’t drag out my trusty journal and complain, away.

Macaulay's avatar

I’m not one for complaining. But when I composedly confided in a friend after having been raped, he simply responded with “I don’t know why you’re acting calm about this; you react outlandishly with everything else.” We haven’t talked since.
But every case is different, I suppose.

Darwin's avatar

@Macaulay He didn’t stop to think that you might have been in shock?

Macaulay's avatar

dk;dc No point in wasting time wondering about it now.

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