Dealing with a constant complainer

October 13, 2018 at 6:26 PM
I have a close family member who is a chronic complainer. The family member complains about:


1. The family dog
2. Church (the church doesn't do enough programming in such-and-such an area)
3. Politics
4. A few relatives

It gets tiresome.

The family dog is wonderful and the family member says that the family dog is the family member's "best friend", but the family member still complains.

At church, the family member could volunteer to head a committee to handle the desired programming.

The family member could volunteer for a political campaign...or just turn off the TV.

The family member could just forgive the relatives and put them out of mind.

But the family member won't; the family member just complains but won't act to change things.

How do YOU deal with people like this, particularly when they're close relatives?

I've thought about saying, "I'm sorry you feel that way" and changing the topic of conversation, but the family member just keeps at it.

I've tried offering solutions, but that's pointless and likely aggravating.

The family member just goes on and on with statements of dislike for the political party that I generally support (which just grates), etc.


October 13, 2018 at 10:31 PM
You can just name it and state " I am not interested in listening to your complaining" and keep saying it every single time.



October 13, 2018 at 11:17 PM
"Oh, that sounds terrible! What are you going to do about it?/What are your plans for dealing with this?"


Just always put the ball back in their court with an expectation of action on their part. It is probable that they have no interest in doing anything to make the "bad" situation better. If you always respond as though you anticipate their leaping into action at any moment, they might learn to be wary of complaining around you.

Never offer suggestions for remedies yourself. That will just give them more opportunities to be negative when he tell you why that won't work or that they can't do that or some other excuse.

Just agree that whatever it is they are complaining about is just as bad as they say it is and ask them what they are going to do to fix it. Think up several different responses in that vein so you have them ready when needed.


October 16, 2018 at 1:02 PM
I feel for you because it's VERY frustrating having someone who comes complaining to you frequently about the same grievances yet does not seem to want to do anything that you suggest to fix them.


I work in management and people often like to complain to me

A few things that I've learned about complaints/complainers:

1. Sometimes there is validity with the complaint.

2. Sometimes the complainer just wants someone to listen to them and not necessarily about the complaint. They are just frustrated about something else and aren't good at expressing their feelings/thoughts.

3. Some people just like to complain and don't necessarily want you to fix it.

4. Complainers very rarely are going to listen to your 'fixes'. It sucks but it's the truth.

5. Everybody complains at some point or another.

6. Your 'concern' might be seen as someone else's 'complainer'. Someone else's 'concerns' might be seen as your 'complainer'. A lot of complainers don't think they are complainers or don't realize that they are doing it.

Best way to handle it?

First you want to listen to them without interrupting or offering suggestions, as hard as it is. Let them vent out all of their complaints. After they are done, repeat back for understanding--'so you are feeling frustrated about the dog because of X ?'. and so on. Your goal here is to get them to take an ACTIVE role in discussing, rather than complaining. Then you want start getting them to talk about solutions. Say something like: 'I understand what you are saying about the situation with the dog frustrating you because of X. What kind of actions do you think would help you feel less frustrated by this?'

What you are trying to work on is getting them to think about how to solve their own issues and take the lead here. It is not 100% of course; some just wanna complain, lol. In that case all you can do is keep that fact in mind and just tell yourself that the complaining session does not last forever.

Good luck with your complainer.


October 25, 2018 at 7:55 PM
Just ignore it. Mention something totally unrelated. Don't engage in any negativity and it just may stop, or at least be reduced.


I hate complainers.