The Authentic Assistant

Aesthetic photo to calm you down with the phrase How to complain without complaining. Advocate for your rights.

We are all guilty of complaining about things in our everyday life. Some do it more than others. Who doesn’t know of someone in their lives who seems to get a thrill out of criticising something or someone else. 

Whining about things is a hobby for some. Others hate having to confront an issue and just keep it in. This is also very unhealthy in its own way.  Is there a way of complaining that brings positive results?

Is there a fine art or a skill to complain without actually complaining?

How do some people manage to get their way and sort things out for themselves?

Ah! Yes, we have all been there. Maybe the quiet cautious people among us have noticed it more but many times during life we notice it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. 

Oh those annoying loud and obnoxious people moan and shout the loudest and they get the focus and the attention on them. It seems at first as if they are getting their way, without even moaning about it. They seem to wear down the people and they can do what they want. 

Some of you have been in the situation of dealing with people, be it in work or even private life where someone approaches you and just shouts at you, insisting they are right and you are a fool. (insert stronger words here.) They are above everyone else and should be treated as if they are the lord and master. You may not even be able to do anything about their situation and it is so far above your pay grade you can’t even see the level, but you have to deal with it. Have they even followed the legal steps to get what they need? Probably not. They just want to have it right now. 

Do they get away with things? Unfortunately they do often because the situation can escalate quickly and decisions are made on the spot to alleviate it. 

I have been there and I have also been present when others are treated so badly. 

The two sides to a complaint

Now there are so many situations where the person may be responsible for the problem and don’t want to own up to it. They defend themselves and attack the person complaining. 

Of course there are these cases. Going into a shouting match is not helping anyone.

While some may be responsible and should be held accountable there are also so many times when the person being shouted at has nothing to do with it. Talking with the person responsible or who to someone who can solve the issue is important.

Respect and dignity

Every person has a right to be treated with respect and dignity. That is true. The actions and behaviours of the person then dictate how people respond. If the customer starts off shouting and verbally abusing the employee how will that solve anything?

The employee now has their back up and in defensive mode. Do they shout back and fight their spot or do they try to diffuse the situation? 

It is so hard to maintain that respect when you feel threatened. 

When you overhear such an interaction, yes it is often so loud and no one can block it out, you wonder are they winning at all? Have they thought through what they are doing or what they want?

Why do people complain in the first place?

People complain when they want to express dissatisfaction or annoyance and something they have experienced. 

Do they have a right to? Well that is up to each individual person. Someone may be offended over a little thing that you may not even notice. We are all different and have so many life experiences that make us who we are. We can’t compare ourselves to others as they have not lived our life in our shoes. 

  • They may be ill or in pain and even the little things set them off. 
  • At the end of their rope because it is as if everything is going wrong right now.
  • They have followed all the rules and done all the paperwork and still they are hitting red tape and pushed off even with their due diligence. 
  • Some people just like whining and grumbling about everything because they are unhappy in the life they are leading right now and don’t know how to change.
  • Others are just around people who criticise as if it is a sport. The birds are singing too loud. The alarm went off too early. Anything can be a problem. 
  • Complaining, shouting and making noise to get their way. Not having a reason or issue just demanding something. 
  • Complaining to avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes or actions.
  • To get attention or sympathy from others. Strive to be the centre of attention.
  • Spreading negativity trying to make themselves more powerful or better than everyone else.


Are you thinking of certain people when you read these? 

How to complain without complaining?

Is there a fine art to complaining? A skill that we can learn and therefore improve our lives? 

A difference between whining about something and complaining about it? 

We have a right to be treated with respect and e.g. when we pay for services or goods to expect that the items and service is as paid for. Who could expect to hire roofers and pay them only to have  a leak in the roof after a week? 

Of course you should complain to the roofer. You paid for the service, the contract was agreed and you paid, so yes stand up for your rights and demand justice. 

You have a problem and have a right to stand up for yourself. Your goal is to have your roof fixed and sealed as was agreed in the contract you made with the roofer. 

Don't complain - stand up for your rights

  • The person to talk with is the roofer who did the work, or the foreman in charge of the team who repaired your roof. It could be a simple fix and done within an hour. 


  • Don’t fall into the trap of constantly moaning about everything and anything. This leads to a negative frame of mind where you only look for faults. 


  • Take the emotion out of it right now. Emotions have a way of distracting your focus. If you want and need to talk with family or friends for advice. Listen to their words. They may have good points and agree with you. Or highlight any faults you may have made yourself. The facts are important to argue your case. Removing the emotions when you are complaining makes it easier on both sides. 


  • Think about the situation and what actually happened and what is your goal. Use facts and logical reasoning.


  • Who should you complain to? Find the person responsible for it or who can change things.


  • Don’t list all the issues you have had in your life. Just focus on the issue right now and let that person work on that alone. They may ask more questions and you may also have more. 


  • Keep the goal you want in mind. The solution you are aiming for. In this case your roof to be repaired as it was meant to be in the first place. Water tight and solid. 


  • Don’t allow yourself to be around people who do nothing but complain. This is contagious and will affect your own mood, feeling and way of thinking.

The positive side to complaining

We are all human here and humans crave interactions with other humans. Complaining can be used to break an awkward silence with strangers, 

How many times have we complained about the weather and started a conversation about how much rain we have had lately?

Does it solve anything? No, not really. The weather will remain the same. However for that moment in time we conversed with someone else. 

We also need to talk with family and friends about feelings which can be positive and negative. Maybe we need to ask for advice or help. 

Complaining in these situations can be therapeutic in itself as long as it doesn’t become a habit to only moan. 

Who wants to be around people who constantly whine about things?

 However talking with people you trust could be the thing that makes you aware of how bad your situation is and that you do need to change it. Maybe you have accepted things in your job and your friend makes you realise you are being bullied or unfairly treated. You have a right to demand a change within the workplace or to leave if you can. 

How much is too much?

If you have read this far and  thought about your life right now, how do you think you are doing? Do you find yourself with too much of a negative way of thinking? Are you complaining too much about things without thinking about a solution to it? Can things be changed or improved? If yes, how.

Read the post here about learning how to be grateful or acknowledging the good things 

Pick your battles and limit the complaints to the ones that you know will improve your life. 

Advocating for yourself is vital and you know yourself best. You know what you can put up with and what is fair and right. 

Standing up for others when you see unfairness can be a good thing. Older and even young people are so often not taken seriously and pushed around. If you can help in this situation to be a second adult even just standing with them so they are acknowledged that is helping them feel more confident to advocate for themselves. 

This can lead to a more positive frame of mind and healthier attitude to life. Benefiting not only yourself but  the people around you. 

Looking for some inspirational quotes about complaining then check these out