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Stop Complaining

Stop Complaining!

In the course of doing business, I have run into my share of people who are constantly complaining.  I’ve had to cut off communications with many of these folks because I realized that my listening ear was just enabling them to continue their endless complaining.  I decided to delve into this issue and look at it a bit more closely.  

So, how can I get my message across to just stop complaining, and focus on the things you need to do to move forward in your business… or, in your life for that matter?
Wrestling with that question, I’ve learned that some things work pretty well, and some that just don’t.  So, here is my take on how to deal with Constant Complainers.  


IGNORING THEM:  Constant Complainers need attention.  Ignoring them usually makes them try even harder to get your attention.

GIVING THEM A SOLUTION TO THEIR PROBLEM:  That is one thing that is gonna come back and bite you in the (you know what).  If they do follow a suggestion, they will almost always return to you, complaining how your “solution” didn’t work at all, and probably made things even worse.  That’s because constant complainers don’t typically want a solution… despite their frantic cries for one.  What they are really looking for is someone who will take responsibility from their shoulders, and assume it for themselves.  By offering solutions to chronic complainers, you are usually playing right into their hands.  Once they get to blame you for “all that is going wrong”, it becomes your problem and not theirs.  So now, they feel justified in insisting that you fix things up for them.

CONSOLING THEM:  “Don’t worry, things will get better.”   “Time will heal everything.”  “Oh you poor thing!” Statements like that will just put fuel on the fire for them to escalate their complaining. Things will get better?  Time will heal everything?  “How long must I suffer,” they are likely to respond.  Or, “I do everything you tell me to do, when will I finally get what I want?”  Again, their problem now becomes yours, or so they hope.

CONFRONTATION:  If you confront the complainer head on,  Oh boy….they will probably get more heated.  
“Why complain about it?”  “Find a solution to your problem…here are some” (fill in the blank).

This is like throwing a hand grenade.  No sooner do your words land than they explode in your face.  The last thing a constant complainer wants to hear is a solution to their problem.  Remember, best case scenario in their minds is that you take on their problem and solve it for them.  Next best, you volunteer huge chunks of your time and energy to just giving audience to their complaints.  After all, a constant complainer’s best friend and greatest asset is their complaint, their problem, their dilemma.  Without that, they’ve got to get back to work and move beyond hurdles.  

Much easier to sit and complain, as long as they’ve got you for an audience.  But once you confront them, the explosion that occurs is their victimhood being blown to bits.  Now that you’ve told them to get busy to solve their own problem, they will probably choose an easier path… like being “insulted” by your indifference, or “bullied” by your callous attitude.  Now that they’ve been victimized by you, the responsibility is once again thrown into your lap… this time, to make amends for not sympathizing with their plight.

A constant complainer is usually comfortable in their situation. Moreover, they have probably been behaving this way for a very long time.  Once you realize this, half the battle is won.  Constant complainers have one thing in common. They spend the bulk of their energy complaining in order to reap benefits.  Knowing this, you can avoid the “hero” pitfall.

I’ll give you an example of the hero pitfall.

When dealing with a constant complainer, you might be inclined to help them.  I have met constant complainers that complain about money even while they are pretty comfortable financially.  “I cannot afford it”  is a line that I hear all too often from these folks.  They seem to get people involved in their sad situation, so that their sympathizers will pay their way.  Their reward in this case is obvious.  They get you to pay their bills or obligations because you have become so sympathetic to their incessant and phony “victim” complaints.  You want to be their hero?  Be ready to pay up.

Another great complaint is “I can’t do it…you are stronger than me”  OMG…when I hear that one I hit the ceiling.  How can anyone know my personal inner strength?  To me, that is a master manipulation method of getting me to do their job.

Constant Complainers have one main thing in common.  They all have a problem that they want YOU to solve.  In return, they offer you feigned praise and ego-stroking “hero-dom”… albeit, short-lived.

So here are a few tips on how you can rid this blood sucking behavior.

NEVER AGREE WITH THE CONSTANT COMPLAINER:  If you do so, the complainer will see this as an opportunity to complain further.

DO NOT TRY TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM:  They will give you a million reasons why nothing works.

IF YOU ARE REALLY BRAVE:  Give them an open-ended question that will get them to solve their own problem.  Get them thinking about something else.  “Have you tried listing the pros and cons?” “Could you write down 3 possible ways of solving this problem?”  Complainers hate being set to task, and just may leave you forever.

SET A TIME LIMIT:  You already know the behavior of the constant complainer, so when you encounter once, say something like this: “I only have a few minutes before I need to be on a call…what’s up?” Answer: Complain, Complain…….  Your response: “Oops…I really have to go.”  Click!

SET YOUR BOUNDARIES:  If you’ve really had enough of a constant complainer’s behavior, a great way to get them off your back is to tell them the truth!  Tell them that It really brings you down to hear all this negativity.  You have a choice here. You can tell them that you cannot have these conversations and remind them all the time what you have said.   OR…you can tell them that since you obviously can offer them no help, you don’t think this is a healthy relationship for either of you.

My preference: Honesty is the Best Policy.  Tell the constant complainer in your life our business to either Stop Complaining… or move on to a more sympathetic ear.

So here is a call to action:  Did YOU ever meet up with a constant complainer.  If so, How did YOU Deal with it?

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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72 Responses to Stop Complaining

  1. Stuart Chalmers November 4, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    I read this article a while ago when I first came across your site. It has been quite relevant this week and I keep remembering it when I come across constant complaining. I couldn’t put it any better myself so I have reproduced it in my blog and attributed it to you here – http://www.stuartchalmers.com/2012/11/04/constant-complaining/.

    I hope this is ok but if you do object then I will take it down, just let me know.

    Stuart Chalmers recently posted..Constant complainerMy Profile

  2. Michael September 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    This is a great article about how to deal with people who are always complaining. I have met my share of these folks, and I so agree with what you are saying about what does not work.

    I really wish I had read your article before I had spent so much time in my life trying to offer solutions to people whose real goal seemed to be to complain.

    But good that you have shared this with us now, so I can remember this well next time I run into someone who is this type of complainer. 🙂
    Michael recently posted..EFT Abundance TappingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      Hi Michael,

      It is always a good reminder! I can catch myself falling into their “trap” at times, but I squiggle my way out. LOL

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Keeping FocusedMy Profile

  3. Lesly Federici
    September 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Hi Donna,I try to avoid them as much as possible! I also try to avoid people who constantly make excuses for themselves as to why they can’t do something. It has to do with how they see their own lives and lack of belief in themselves, or blame others for their situation. This is what I refer to “default” living – not really being aware of choices made that leads directly to the life one lives and experiences. Tough thing to wake-up to, but can be done.
    Lesly Federici recently posted..Be Part of the Solution to A Healthier NationMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

      Hey Lesly,

      I like that term “default” living. I have to start using that. Thanks for your comment.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Keeping FocusedMy Profile

  4. Stacy September 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Those are great tips! It is one of the most draining things that I have experienced to be around chronic complainers. If I know them socially I usually try to avoid them as much as possible. It is more difficult when they are family members or if you know them professionally. The unfortunate thing is that they don’t realize how much they damage relationships and push people away. Since nothing is their fault, neither is the fact that others don’t want to be around them.

    I read something recently that stated that the act of *listening* to complainers reduces your brain’s power. Yikes! Thanks for the tips!


    • Donna Merrill September 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      Oh boy…I can feel it reducing my brain power if I listed to them.

      Thanks for your input Stacy!
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Keeping FocusedMy Profile

  5. Anne August 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    I’ve actually used a mixture of two of your strategies. I usually say something like, ‘Have you tried … or …? I think you should pick one of these options and try this for … months (time frame in a different way) then I want to know everything that happens with your attempts.

    For some complainers this is way too much work. They avoid you like the plague because they don’t want to come back and explain all the things they didn’t try and the ways in which they didn’t try to help themselves. You’ve already set them up by saying you want details.

    A small percentage of people (like the 1 leper) will come back and tell you how much better things are. The upside of this is that you’ve shown them how to help themselves.
    Anne recently posted..Time To KillMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Hi Anne

      I like your strategy! When I say have you tried this or that…I usually get some dead air space lol.

      I do live for those who do come back and did take that extra leap to change. It is such a great feeling when they do.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  6. Elaine Horner August 30, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Right On! You are teaching us to be brave, be bold, be real. Thanks Donna. No time for complainers or negative people in my world. I am to busy, like yourself creating positive value for my team, my family, and my friends.
    Elaine Horner recently posted..Get Educated on Some Valuable Email Marketing StrategiesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      Thank you Elaine,

      Life is too short to give your energy to someone who will bring you down.

      Once you have acknowledged that the constant behavior of a person is always complaining, then you know you cannot ever change that. Only they can.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  7. Mitch Mitchell
    August 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    What about just leaving them be and not dealing with them at all as a choice? I know you said ignoring them doesn’t work and yet if I don’t answer the phone or don’t go where I know they are I’m usually having a pretty peaceful time. 🙂
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Are You Too Sensitive As A Leader?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      Hi Mitch,

      In my case, if I don’t answer the phone they do keep calling. It is like one of those 800 numbers that call all the time. lol

      Basically I do attract wonderful positive people. Actually I love working with them all.

      But when it comes to the “constant complainer”….Boundaries go up fast.

      Thanks for visiting,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  8. Romy Singh August 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Hello Donna,

    Great post.. 🙂

    I’m sick of people who only complains about how bad their lives are, how badly their business fall, and blah blah…. In real they get everything they want, they’ve almost everything what they needs to live successfully but still they act like fools and keep bitching about their bad life, bad business, bad moments. Whenever I encounter this people I feel like killing them because there are people, no matter how hard they try, they will never get or achieve half of things you have. But still those people are happy and never complains about their life, business then why the F*** you keep complaining about yours.

    Complaining never changes anything. If you’re fat and keep complaining about it then you’ll never become fit. Grow up people, leave complains behind and try to move on.

    If you can’t accept anything then change it. if you can’t change it then change yourself,change your views. But please never ever complain about it because it makes people sick.

    • Donna Merrill August 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

      Oh Boy Romy,

      I can see how passionate you are on this subject! When looking at the world and all the people in it. How many people are really suffering? Many. They don’t complain.

      But, when you meet up with that constant complainer that has a home, food, family, a business- it just doesn’t make any sense at all. These are people who are not Grateful.

      Being Grateful no matter what you have or don’t have is a wonderful way to life a fulfilling life.

      When I meet one of those constant complainers by accident – I ask them before they start ranting: “What are you grateful for?” They look at me with eyes wide and silence……. That is the point where I can judge weather I can help them or not. Sometimes something clicks within them. The tell me one thing they are grateful for. And that can be a beginning. But, on the other hand, if they don’t come up with anything, I have to turn away.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

      • Romy Singh August 30, 2012 at 12:21 am #

        Hello Donna,

        That’s the exact way to find who really needs our help and who is the constant complainers.

        I wish those complainers can recall this, “Every time you complain, Someone else, without fail, without complaining, is going through something much worse.” And I would like to help this feel from deep of my heart. 🙂


        • Donna Merrill August 30, 2012 at 1:04 am #

          Yes, we have to weed out those people Romy.

          Good point…there is always someone else that is worse of that you. Bringing that point to them may work.

          Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  9. Kevin Martineau August 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Hi Donna:

    This is excellent advice! I run into constant complainers all the time and you have given me some new ways to deal with them.

    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Our thoughts are the key to real changeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      Hi Kevin,

      I imagine you do run into a lot of this sort. Good to know this has helped.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  10. Patricia Gozlan August 29, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Hi Donna,
    From time to time I still attract people who complain , I ask myself what is not healed in me yet and the situation changes for me and them each time, we know how it works right?
    Thanks Donna for reminding me that the cure is gratitude and faith as always!
    Patricia Gozlan recently posted..How to use Creative Visualization: Mistake #3My Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      It happens Patricia,

      From time to time it happens to me too. Even though you have mastered that Law Of Attraction and surround yourself with attracting positive energy, it cannot be helped.

      When One of those Constant Complainers slip into my energy field, I take it as a great reminder of my strength to build boundaries. Also, If dealt correctly, maybe in some way we have helped them after all giving them the boot! One never knows.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  11. marquita herald
    August 29, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    I have to admit I’ve ‘released’ more than a few constant complainers from my life. Ha! In fact I divorced one! Anyway, your tips and advice is spot on from my experience, especially your point about establishing boundaries.
    marquita herald recently posted..Don’t Allow Petty Annoyances to Suck the Energy Out of YouMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      Hey Marty,

      Good to see you here,

      Ha ha I divorced one too lol! But that was the point where I myself have learned how to establish boundaries. So, it was a good thing after all.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  12. Terry Conti August 29, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I shot him. End of story. No more complaints! Only kidding he,he 🙂 Seriously, if nothing else works you’re just going to have to tell it like it is.

    We are all different and we all have problems. We all deal with problems in our own way. This is what makes the world full of “different colors” and interesting. This is what makes the world go round.

    I believe it all has to do with how we’re built inside. Some people just fall apart and some don’t when confronted with the same problem.

    So let the complainers complain and let the action takers take action. Helping each other out is showing how to do something not doing it for them.

    Yes chronic complainers must be dealt with or they will just take you down. Good post Donna,

    Terry Conti
    Terry Conti recently posted..How to Keep Your Computer Running SmoothlyMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks Terry!

      Yes, we are all built differently. We don’t have any power over another person to change. That comes from within each and every person.

      I have worked with some “complainers” and they have learned that the energy just brought to them the same old story and the same old let downs in their lives.

      But…those Constant Complainers….ones that choose not to change their lives and feed on misery, well…as you say they will just take you down.

      I like to live in positive energy with positive people. I cannot allow anyone, not even a family member to take me down!

      Thanks Terry,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  13. Joe S. August 28, 2012 at 11:22 pm #


    Thank you so much for this post. I am going to post a link on my facebook page NOW. I just had a debate about how far complaining gets you. No where! Once the problem is identified, the lengthy conversations should be about the solutions. Ask me those questions or tell me how you plan to solve the problem.

    Thanks for this! I will be sharing this ALL WEEK!

    • Donna Merrill August 30, 2012 at 1:02 am #

      Absolutely Joe,

      I appreciate you posting the link on your FB page. Funny how you just had a debate about this and hit my blog.

      Thanks for your input,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  14. Annie Andre August 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    I started twitching when i read this post because i conjured up old memories, horrible memories of the toxic naysayers and complainers I used to have in my life. I didn’t have a bunch, but it only takes one or two and it can feel like 100 stabs to your eyeballs.

    Your list of what to do to stop complainers in their tracks is spot on. I think the best thing to do is if you can, avoid them. But if you can’t, then just dissengage and try to be in a situation where they can’t complain. LIke church, a funeral, on a rollercoaster. Playing hide and go seek maybe?
    Annie Andre recently posted..How To Travel or Live Abroad With Kids When Your Ex Says NO!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

      Hey Annie,

      A rollercoaster is a great idea lol! Sorry for the twitching effect, but it was something I needed to bring to light.

      Many of us are into self development and growth. Negativity has no place in our path.

      It is so true that it only takes one or two naysayers and complainers in your life that feel like 100.

      Thanks for sharing,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  15. Adrienne
    August 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Want to know how I deal with people like this Donna? I cut them out of my life. Yep, I’ve done that to two friends of mine. I just got sick of it and walked away.

    Every single conversation was about them and their complaining. They were sucking the life out of me so I finally told them that they don’t listen to what I say so why do they ask? They never take anyone’s advice although they know it would “solve their problem” and they prefer complaining so go complain to someone else. I’m done.

    I have learned now to only attract more positive minded people in my life so I don’t get this anymore. I can’t tell you what a relief it’s been.

    Sorry you had to let someone go recently due to this but we both know you’re much better off. As you mentioned here, they really don’t want your help they just want to complain.
    Adrienne recently posted..How To Find Great Blogs To Comment OnMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

      Hi Adrienne,

      Oh letting go of people is just part of my business. I screen people BEFORE I take them in as a client. I can usually weed out the people that are not up to par to work with me.

      Am I sounding like a total (you know what)? No….why waste peoples time and money if they are not going to go forward.

      The person I let go was a while ago. I had patience with her and was empathic, but when she crossed the line, Bye Bye!

      I have mostly positive energy around me, but sometimes someone slips under the door and the get the boot!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  16. Carol Lynn August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Love it! I guess us non-complainers are not alone. On the down side, I used to be one of the chronic complainers. Everyone around me did it, so I did it too! Fortunately one day I realized how annoying it was and how stupid it is to complain when you could just do something and fix it, or shut up and deal with it!

    I do know a lot of complainers. And you really hit the nail on the head. They don’t want solutions, they just want to spread the misery and make it your problem. I hate when people ask for help with that fake compliment – can you do this because…. you’re smarter/stronger/better? Just admit you don’t want to do it and ask for help!

    You’re absolutely right, complainers are perfectly comfortable where they are. It’s only everyone else around them who is miserable! I don’t think I have any great strategies for dealing with them except for avoiding them. Once they start talking I usually just nod noncommittally – somewhere between answering and ignoring. I don’t try to acknowledge their (imaginary) problems or offer solutions but I just sort of say “hm” a lot and then maybe talk about something else when I get the chance. I’ve been told I have a ridiculous amount of patience, lol. Honestly, we’re never going to fix them so the only thing we can do is cope with them. And I guess I do that by tuning them out!
    Carol Lynn recently posted..The Marketing Prodigy Returns: 5 Questions with Donovan the Popcorn ScoutMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Hey Carol Lynn,

      I despise when people tell me “you are stronger than me” Grrrr….how did they ever know what I had to do to get where I am from a nightmare of my past. I chose to grow, I chose to get help and still choose to make myself stronger.

      I do have patience, but to a point. I also will do the Hmmm and the “bobble-head” nod at first. But if it continues, it is only negative energy that is not needed in my life.

      I’ve been helping people for 30 years. During that time, I had to build many boundries. Not only for me, but for my client’s own good.

      Thanks for sharing your story,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  17. Sylviane Nuccio
    August 28, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I thought I’d read this post before, but I just realized that I didn’t.

    Complainers like company and if we give them that, oh boy! There is not end to it. I know a few of those and by now I know exactly how to handle them. I look and sound very detached and remind them that some people who really have something to complain about, actually don’t. I remind them that they have everything to in fact be grateful.

    You are right, complainers have done that for a very long time, most likely since they were teenagers or young adults. There is really no cure for a complainer, unless they decide to get helped.

    Thanks for this post, Donna, and I hope all the complainers out there would see this 🙂
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..How Can You Attract More Business – Part TwoMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Hi Sylviane,

      I agree that there is no cure for a complainer, unless they decide to get helped.

      Most won’t, because it is like a form of narcissism, would you think?

      To my knowledge, a narcissist usually cannot be helped. I wonder if it is the same kind of thing as a “Constant Complainer?”

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  18. Simmeon August 28, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Morning Donna,

    It must be written in peoples DNA to complain.

    Sure everyone complains at one point or another, it’s the constant complainers that get annoying as they seek attention, reassurance and it makes them feel important, like they have some power over you.

    I can accept small doses of these people but, I can easily become immune to these situations. I’m one for finding solutions and not feeling the world has a personal grudge against you.
    Simmeon recently posted..Which Is Better: Organic List Building Vs Paid List BuildingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 28, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      Hey Simmeon,

      That’s because you are a positive person. Those constant complainers are more likely to be attracted to you because you are helpful.

      Until…. you get fed up right? They do seek attention, reassurance and If you let it go too long, they will feel like they have power over you.

      Thanks for visiting,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  19. anshul August 28, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    thanks for joining this article.i agree with you that someone tells his complaints and try to insist on this complaint then you will give a solution or suggestion.but should be avoid constant complainer.so i think it is the good tips.
    anshul recently posted..Online Banking SoftwareMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 30, 2012 at 1:00 am #

      Thanks and welcome to my blog Anshui

      Yes, sometimes it is a chore to deal with people who ask you advice, don’t take it and still complain.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  20. Sue Price
    August 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Hi Donna

    I think we all have come across them. In the main I avoid them but I cannot do that with family 🙂

    My Mom like a good gripe so I tend to avoid the subjects that will trigger her. I also find if I talk about things I know she likes she will change her vibrations.

    With other people I tend to just not have them in my life. I am fortunate that most of my friends have done personal development so we all come from similar places.

    You have some great advice here.

    Sue Price recently posted..Passive Income – Portfolio InvestmentsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      Hi Sue,

      Yes, I know it well. The mother!!! I tend to avoid those subjects that trigger mine also. She can complain, in fact, I don’t remember a time when she didn’t enjoy complaining.

      I usually cut her off at the chase and ask her a question about something else.

      I am fortunate that my friends and people I work with are not complainers.

      Thank you for sharing,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  21. Sonia August 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    I have known a few and believe me they went on deaf ears too. People like this will bring you down whether you know it or not and it can be detrimental to your creativity too. I had to get to get rid of them slowly or they just stopped talking to me altogether. Man do they suck the life out of you too. Being around positive people is what keeps me going towards my goals. Complainers beware, I will ignore you. Ha Ha! Good post Donna!
    Sonia recently posted..How to Spearhead Your Messy Bookmarks and Start Saving Links AgainMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

      Hey Sonia

      I like that Sonia..”complainers beware..I will ignore you” ha ha ha

      I should have that on all my social media sites and on my answering service.

      Love it!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  22. Jeevan Jacob John August 27, 2012 at 11:14 am #


    I agree with you on that we must try our best to avoid constant complainers (or like you said in the end, help them out by giving them a different perspective – like telling them to set up a pro and con list).

    As with my other perspective, I also believe that complaining is needed in life – whether it is us or someone else, it doesn’t matter.

    Complaining, in direct can’t solve any problems, but it has the potential to motivate us to take action and solve it.

    Take for instance: Someone in our home complaining about the yard being a bit messy.

    Now, that can motivate us – in a good or bad way – to go ahead and clean up the mess.

    In this case, the problem is ours too (because it is our yard).

    In the case of someone else complaining about their yard, just suggest them solutions (if they mess up that, be frank and tell them to shut up call a grass cleaning agency :p).

    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      Ha Ha Ha Jeevan! That’s a good one.

      I would do just that: tell them to shut up and call a grass cleaning agency!

      There is a big difference between complaining and venting. If something is bothering me, and I need to vent, I would call my therapist. This way I can vent emotionally and set up a plan to overcome it.

      This is why we have professionals. I find that the one thing Constant Complainers have in common is that they usually don’t seek help of any kind.

      I have one person I know that tries to complain about a terrible relationship she is in for many years. I got to the point and told her that listening to her will only hold her back. It was like I was a band-aid to her relationship. Complaining made her feel better for a while, but the relationship was a toxic one.

      When I told her I wouldn’t talk about the relationship anymore, and talk about other things, it did take a few times for me to say “no no no” and we reached a peaceful communication level.

      Whenever I told her to see a therapist to look deep into herself to find out why she was putting up with this all these years, she would change the subject.

      Hmmmm Do constant complainers like misery? I wonder.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

      • Jeevan Jacob John August 29, 2012 at 11:35 am #

        Treating them in a violent or unpleasant manner might be a good idea 😉

        I have felt that way – especially when people complain about the government and what they do (I really like the governments of this world, despite of what they do or have done).

        Sometimes, things are essential (I don’t mean the violence, but things like spy agencies that monitor everyone).

        We humans have the tendency to not obey anything. If there isn’t an enforcement or law system, everything breaks down (Anarchy is impossible because of man’s greed and nature).

        And if the government is doing something really wrong, try to fix that – Yes, one individual is more than enough to do it.

        Raise awareness and take action.

        We – normal citizens – are the reasons for many problems in this world – Corruption (we give money/gifts and encourage the corrupted officers, don’t we?), poverty and over consumption (yes, we give money, but do we look where it goes and as with over consumption, we are consuming too much energy and relying very badly on technology that works on electricity and energy – which uses the Earth’s resources to run).

        Oh, where have I gone in a tangent? Let’s get back, shall we?

        I think that constant complainers are in a web of their own – they perceived to be trapped, and hence they are unable or they find it really hard to look at it from a different perspective 😉

        I am actually kind of judgmental with these folks, but I come to realize that it’s all part of life – instead of trying to help them by fixing the problem, we just try to help them gain another perspective – to free themselves from the trap they have made, right?

        Ah, it’s all complicated.

        Sometimes, I don’t even know what I am thinking (in this case, I perceive it to be of sense).

        • Donna Merrill August 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

          Hi Jeevan,

          I see you are all fired up today lol! As for Governments, law, etc..that’s a whole different story. I stay far away from those conversations. Especially the hate-filled ones. I can go on a tangent too.

          Yes, I agree that these constant complainers are in a web of their own. It is not bad to be judgmental when you are trying to protect your own being. It is complicated, but if you stand your ground and be honest of how you feel about the situation, then they will back off. They may even hate you! I pray for that one lol. But in the end, it is wise to recognize your judgement call and push them away.

          The truth is, if you let them continue it is doing a disservice to them. Think about it. If you allow them to constantly complain, you are enabling them to stay in that space and not grow.

          Thanks for your input,
          Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  23. Lynn Jones August 27, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Donna, This is great advice for the constant complainer. I am thinking if we follow through and be totally honest, we have to be prepared for the end result of them being offended and hurt. But in the end, I guess that is our goal…to avoid being round a constant complainer. Is it possible to look past their behavior and look for the root cause of their complaining, without being drained? I think that would take some effort or insight on our part. It is easier to just avoid them, huh? Honesty is the best policy. There is also a knack for doing it graciously….that would help a great deal towards them receiving our advice.
    Great post!

    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Absolutely Lynn,

      We can look past their behavior and understand their root cause of their complaining. I’ve done it myself for people who are family members and cannot break ties.

      I use my time limit trick. “I have x amount of time to listen to you, but I gotta go….Love You” After a while, when that happens they usually find another person to take up all their time.

      I do have love and compassion for people, but…there are limits even in my own family. Sometimes, when being honest and saying “It bothers me…bla bla bla” an amount of respect for my wishes come. Sometimes not.

      Thanks for your take on this.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  24. Mayura
    August 27, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Hi Donna,

    As I can recall some complainers I’ve met after started blogging, but I can’t think of one who used to complain constantly. So I don’t think that they were for sucking my blood out 😉 Lucky ME.

    Some complainers I’ve met was stop being complaining after I help them solve their problem. May be GOOD complainers. Complainers are messing on their own problems, so it’s not something for me to worry about 😉 Right? Gladly I was able to help them out and send home happily 🙂

    There were some requests for me, but not complains. But I felt if I respond them or hit hard on ’em, there would be massive discussion to arise and end up with constant complains of ’em. However I did ignore ’em. Yeah, IGNORING has soothing effect on some problems as you mentioned 🙂 But they did try hard and it costs me. They made my AdSense account disabled and start reporting my blog as a SPAM 🙂 I’m on it, fighting back and rising 😉

    I really think if constant complains arise, the tips you have mentioned can help us to work on our valuable stuff 🙂 Else it would be worse than procrastination, no?

    Mayura recently posted..Your Blog is the Best. Do You Wonder Why?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      Thanks for your input Mayura!

      Complaining and venting are two different things. Sounds like you have received “complaining people” that were venting about this or that and you solved the problem.

      The constant complainer is never satisfied – they want you to do all the work for them, and then they are never happy about it.

      Thank you,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  25. Leslie Denning
    August 27, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Hi Donna. I’ve known a few complainers in my lifetime. Unfortunately, those of us with soft hearts seem to become the dumping ground for all that ails them. I just had someone email me about one of my affiliate programs. She said she wanted to do it, but she was hearing-impaired and had no money. I guess she was hoping I would pay for her, but I just told her the program wasn’t for her. Well, she unsubscribed from my list, and the next thing I know, she puts me in her Google+ circle and a bunch of Facebook marketing groups so SHE can sell to ME.

    There are far too many people nowadays who put on a long face to get someone else to give them something. One of my least favorite excuses is, “I’m on a fixed income.” I want to say, “Lucky you. You’re on a fixed income. I’m self-employed, and there’s nothing fixed about my income. If I have a good month, terrific. If I have a bad month, then I have to work harder to make the next month better.”

    Thanks for laying it on the line, Donna. You rock!

    All the best,

    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Leslie,

      I love that story! That kind of person is one of pure manipulation and greed. I always say “what goes around comes around” and let it go.

      If something like that would irritate me, I just put it in the hands of God and let it go away. If it still nagged at me, I simply pray for them.

      I have to chuckle when you wrote that people said to you “I’m on a fixed income” because that is just money in the bank! There is nothing fixed about our incomes! I also want to say “lucky you”

      When the first thing they say is “I have no money” then, I say, you can’t start a business.

      If it were an off line business, they would have to rent a space, fill it up with stock of some kind and advertise. That requires a budget. Same goes here….we need some money to get our business started.

      There is no free lunch!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  26. Fabrizio August 27, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Thanks Donna, it’s a brilliant article and will use your advice. Also thank you for pointing out that it’s the ‘constant’ complainers as opposed to the occasional ones who’ve had something bad happening to their lives then you have to listen and be there for them. I also tend to give a piece of advice but if they come back to me saying it didn’t work then I ‘close’ the discussion saying ‘I’ve ran out of options and that Google is your friend’ ! LOL

    • Donna Merrill August 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      Hi Fabrizio

      Yes there is a difference! We all complain..especially if something in our lives turns upside down! But there is a difference. The constant complainer is never happy, always wants “the answer” which they will never use, and just brings you down.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  27. anshul August 27, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    hi Donna i agree with u that the problem which u described in two way.first is i can’afford it.and the second one is i can’t do it.if we ignore the constant complainer oftenly they get to it hard,if we don’t ignore these complains then we occur victim.
    nice thinking Donna

    • Donna Merrill August 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      Thank you Anshul

      Absolutely. There is no room for us to be drained by people who want more and more from us. There is a time where we need to put up that stop sign.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  28. Oliver Tausend August 27, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    Hi Donna,

    this is terrific advice. As constant complainers are kind of seeking approval, we’re in a dilemma: If we ignore them, they will try harder to get it and if we volunteer our time and energy and give then what they seek, we will become their “friend” and victim.

    There are not many constant complainers in my life, good luck. Well, it seems that I haven’t written on my forehead:”I am a prospect for constant complaining.” Others might invite complainers to complain – so the first step for them might be: Why am I attracting these people on an ongoing basis ?

    Then we need to be able to tell real advice-seekers from complainers. A good question that helped me is:”Would you like to do something about it ?” If the answer is “yes” I might decide to help them or to point them to someone who can.

    If the answer is a direct or indirect “No” you know who you are talking to…

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Have a great week ahead.


    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Hi Oliver!

      I don’t have many in my live either. I have mastered the art of knowing the difference between a constant complainer and someone that is really seeking advice.

      I can get pretty hard nosed about it, but sometimes they show up as family members, co-workers, or neighbors. You don’t want to come off rude, but it is important to bow out gracefully.

      This is why when someone wants to work with me I do have a questionnaire for them to fill out and a phone call BEFORE I decide to work with them.
      It can give me clear information weather they are willing to work or just lean on me, trying to suck the life force out of me.

      It may sound a bit harsh, but we do have to protect ourselves in order to live a balanced life.

      Hey, that’s the reason why we are entrepreneurs!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  29. Ryan Biddulph
    August 27, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I set up a mental cue. If I run into a constant complainer the little chatter in my mind kicks in, “Time to go”, and I leave. Or I get off the phone. Good advice here.

    I have X amount of time on this earth. I waste no more than seconds or minutes with a complainer.

    How dare they attempt to rob my time?

    I lost the worry/concern of coming off rude, or abrupt…my mind is my spiritual estate, and anybody who attempts to break in and steal the jewels is treated like an intruder. Bye.

    Yep, we all have our moments…but since I’ve got my complaining down to minutes….or seconds…I demand the same of people around me…or else I end conversations after minutes or seconds.

    Very empowering feeling, I must say 😉


    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..Cash Gifting Mastery – 3 Words to Boost Your Credibility InstantlyMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      Good for you Ryan!

      That mental “switch” comes in handy. You must have had your share of people with this personality.

      I’ve developed that too, but sometimes I do forget and get “sucked in” – then I have to tell them like it is.

      It can get uncomfortable, but I see here that you can avoid that uncomfortable conversation.

      Kudos to you my friend.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  30. Lynn Brown August 27, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    Wow, Donna! This topic is powerful & one that, more than likely, everyone can relate to. This type of relationship is so very difficult.

    On one hand, you really want to help your friend and, in doing so, fall into one (or all) of the pitfalls you mentioned. On the other hand, if you confront the complainer, all heck breaks loose! It’s just a no-win situation and you have to decide what you’re willing to endure & for how long.

    As you mentioned, sometimes you have to release yourself from the relationship in order to maintain your own sanity & keep from being pulled down to their level. When your energy & spirit is sucked away by the complainer’s bottomless pit of need, it’s time to break free & save yourself. You can’t help someone who isn’t willing and/or able to help themselves…who is comfortable in the company of misery. There are some people who actually thrive on drama & misery!

    Everyone experiences tough situations & friends help friends through those times. But…that is a completely different ballgame from the type of relationship you’re describing. I’m always ready to help a friend in need, no question. However, I’m not willing to throw my time, energy and/or spirit down a bottomless pit.

    Thanks for sharing such meaningful and universally beneficial information!

    • Donna Merrill August 27, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      Hi Lynn, I like the way you say “their bottomless pit of need” – That describes the constant complainer. They never stop and do thrive on drama and misery.

      That energy somehow falls on us. It brings us down in so many ways we may not even be aware of. Headaches, stomach aches, etc.

      It is sad to say, but if someone doesn’t want to help themselves after you have spent time with them over and over again, you need to break away.

      Thanks for your engaging comment.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  31. Kelvin Myles August 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    The Constant Complainer is a fact of life and you’ve come up with some great ways to head them off.

    Personally I use a combination of several of your ideas. The open ended question is great and the advantage of using it with complainers is they will rarely come back to you as they won’t do the work required.

    Setting boundaries is probably my favourite and is something every one should work on – when boundaries are set early in a relationship people rarely overstep them. This goes hand in hand with setting time limits – if you don’t value your time you can be guaranteed nobody else will.


    • Donna Merrill August 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

      Absolutely Kelvin!

      I like using boundaries the best of all. I have to take my time into consideration. Running my own business takes time applying, learning and keeping it going.

      I do not need anyone to overstep their boundaries and taking away my time.
      I’m usually up front with people when working with them and one of the things I strongly state is time limits.

      They obey! lol

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  32. Gen August 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    Donna I love this post. I know and have known some constant complainers. And the worst part was I used to be one of them because I believed the hype that I was raised in. Then I did something that was totally out line. I stopped complaining and just started doing. You can only imagine how free I feel today. I avoid complainers like the plague it is a death sentence to your thinking and the joy in your life. =D
    Gen recently posted..I Am So GratefulMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

      Hi Gen,

      That took a lot of courage to change a behavior. You have successfully identified a behavior that wasn’t working and stopped it. Good for you! I love growth stories!

      I could imagine how you feel. I was an “enabler” and now I avoid that behavior like the plague.

      Thanks so much for sharing,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

  33. Raena Lynn August 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I love this article! OMG now I get my chance to rant! There is a woman I know who complains about her physical aches and pains EVERY TIME we meet. I can’t stand the word “hurt.” Any time she is having a discussion with anyone, she talks about her toe that “hurts”…or her knees “hurt” or her whatever “hurts.” She usually continues with a detailed explanation of how much she has had to rest or whatever remedy she says she is trying to follow. I got in the trap of offering solutions, and you are so right. People who are constant complainers are in their comfort zone and love the drama. I don’t want to sound harsh, but this woman is younger than me and she is in decent physical condition. She actually signed up for a gym, which I felt would help her with her alleged aches and pains….she never went!

    Setting boundaries is the key. I had to do it with her so I wouldn’t pull my hair out every time I saw her coming. I’ve done a great job with letting it go, and no matter how positive we want to be…let’s face it…we have to work harder with some people so they don’t cause us to go bonkers!

    I love your suggestion of giving constant complainers an open ended question. That is a great way for them to take action and leave!

    Okay Donna, fess up! You wrote this after tolerating a super constant complainer…heh?

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted..Do You Need A Social Media Checklist?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed this Raena,

      I was inspired by someone I had to let go recently. Although this made me think of many others I had to let go in the past.

      Those constant complainers were trying to manipulate me. I tried to act kindly, but was harsh to let them go.

      It is the only communication they understand. I once had a client years ago that each time I seen the caller ID, I would cringe. She was a very wealthy woman and asked me to be her “girl” that she would call at a whim.

      That was it…I controlled my Italian Temper and my Brooklyn vocabulary, which made me boil inside. But I politely told her business with her ends right here and now. After careful consideration, I find that I cannot work with you anymore.

      She left crying messages, sent me checks that I ripped up, but eventually she went away.

      And that’s just one of the stories…….

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

    • Shiwangi peswani August 29, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Hey Donna first of all I am glad to be a part of your merill tribe as you are a great writer. Now coming to your post and Reana’s comment I would like to mention here about my mother in law. She has fibrosis and is running on steroids for last 11 years but still she is so lively and joyous.
      Though she is always is so much of pain, she will never complain about it. Whenever someone asks her about her pain she miles and say, I am absolutely fine.
      I salute her for this.
      By the way..I am seeing an error in posting comment here..
      Shiwangi peswani recently posted..iPad Apps – List Of Ten Best Fun Apps For iPad 3My Profile

  34. Janelle McLeod August 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    WOW Donna! I LOVE LOVE this post! you’re right on point especially when we ignore them it does infact make them try even harder to get your attention. Exactly! It’s like the more you ignore them, the more they want to fight… I tell this to my husband all the time when we ignore the complainers… lol.. On how we do need to set our boundaries because if we don’t on man are we in for some serious trouble! LOVE This post… Going to share this like right now!!! People really do need to shop complaining, period!

    • Donna Merrill August 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      Thank you Janelle,

      I am happy to know you got all excited about this post. So did I about this subject.

      I’ve gotten to the point a while ago where I had to let go of clients of mine that were constant complainers. There was no point of them wasting their time and money, just to complain.

      “Sorry, I cannot work with you anymore because I’m an enabler.” See I turned it on me. I was a long time ago an enabler so I turn it around. Then they can beg, kick cry and scream. But it is my decision.

      Woo Hoo I love to rant.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Stop ComplainingMy Profile

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