Friday, November 11, 2011

[Friends and Family Who Like to "Help": Why I Gripe]

Oh, wonderful, well-meaning family and friends, I want to communicate something to you that may shock or confuse you, but I have a feeling others you know feel the same way, so you might end up saving some relationships in your life.

Sometimes I like complain. I'm not asking for advice (most of the time, I really don't want any, and I'm in the wrong mood to tolerate advice). But why, you ask, do you complain for people to hear if you don't want someone to help you fix the problem? Ah, so you're the problem-solving type. You are appreciated, believe me, but your skills are not always needed.  Here are a few simple equations that might help you know when to drop your well-meaning suggestions in my Facebook comments, etc.:

Complaining = Venting = Therapeutic ranting = Getting some random thoughts off my chest = Updating the world on what kind of mood I'm in that day and why it's not a good day to do those things that peeve me

Complaining =/= "Tell me what I should do to fix this," implied
Complaining =/= "I hate life and am a complete pessimist!"
Complaining =/= "Nothing good ever happens!"

"___________" =/= How I feel at all times 

"What do you suggest?" = Invitation for your good advice
"Have you ever...?" = Invitation for you to share your similar experience that I might learn from your lessons learned
"Any tips?" = Invitation for tested advice
"Tell me what I should do to fix this" = Tell me what I should do to fix this
Whining about some bad luck = My bad luck is more interesting of an update today that the nice but mundane good things that happened
"Men are jerks!" = I've been insulted or hurt by some guy and I'm in a bad mood, but I don't really hate men, and I don't want to hear how the right guy will come along when I'm not looking for him or some other cliche.

Thank you for listening. I know you mean well, and I appreciate the thought, but if I'm not asking for advice, I'm not looking for it, and chances are I'm not in the mood to hear it anyway. I'm more likely to take it when I'm asking for it explicitly.

And I bet I'm not the only one. ;)

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