Kvetch, Kvetch, Kvetch

Kvetch. Kvetch. I feel like complaining. it was one of ‘those days’. There was craziness with the van schedule and then the driver decided to take the ‘scenic route’ to school. I saw parts of the county I have not seen in years.

Then my friend with whom I walk and who drops me off for yoga had to cancel. Then my ride home from school had to unexpectedly take her son to the doctor. Just scrambling all day long. Plan B. Plan C. Plan D. Thank God I have options but it was still aggravating!

So, I decided to write this page on the fine art of bitching. Never knew it was an art? Allow me to complain….er, explain.

Complaining, when done properly, has some real positive outcomes. Robin Kowalski of Clemson University has been studying complaining and she pointed out some of the most basic, positive outcomes of complaining are sympathy and attention. I had a mini pity party outside my office when I got to school today. Two of my colleagues sympathized and laughed at my van misadventure. Felt better.

Complaining can be cathartic and provide emotional release. Another researcher, James Pennebaker from the University of Texas has studied complaining through journaling and found it improved the mental health of people who had experienced a traumatic event. He hypothesized the complaining helped to focus and organize the traumatic experience so it could be better dealt with.

Conversely, those who hold their concerns inside can experience negative consequences. Chronic stress and related health problems can be the result.

Some people use complaining for impression management. You know: “it is so damp in the Hamptons this time of the year! I think I will have the staff prepare the jet and go to the Palm Springs house.”  Don’t you just love those people? Their complaints get their point across, though. I am used to better than this!

Kowalski  pointed out complaining should have a purpose. People who complain with the hope of achieving a result are actually, on the whole, happier people. She also found people with higher self-esteem complain more, possibly because they have had some success with their complaining.

Kowalski set out a few guidelines for effective complaining.  It is important to know when to complain and whom to complain to. The most effective types of complaints take place when the complainer uses logic and facts. He has an idea of what his intended outcome is  and he is complaining to someone who has the power and authority to make the changes.

I have to admit my primary reason for kvetching all day was to vent. Can’t do anything about sick secretaries or sick kids. There were no ‘intended outcomes’ for my complaints there. I just felt like I was being pecked to death by ducks and I needed some sympathy.

And you know what? That’s okay, too.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, and THEN do you know what happened? Really!?!…

Next: Stop Procrastination…NOW!

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