I’m not sure if I am the only one who makes up definitions for things based on my own experience, but I could have sworn that the definition of ‘complaining’ was something like this:
Complain (Come-Plain) : Repeatedly expressing a grievance over an event or situation that one does not admit (to oneself or others) is under one’s control, but that which one chooses to continue to bitch about for the sake of having something to bitch about, instead of solving the underlying problem or keeping it to oneself so as to save others the problem of having to listen to one’s problems. – from the Dictionary of Me, as a result of an interpretation from the Dictionary of Ex Boyfriend, the Ditcher.
So I was confused when I looked up the actual definition on dictionary.com and it read as follows:
com·plain (kəm-plān’) Pronunciation Key
intr.v. com·plained, com·plain·ing, com·plains
1. To express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.
2. To make a formal accusation or bring a formal charge.
So what the hell is wrong with complaining? Why do people get so pissed off when people complain to them? Under my definition I can see why people would get pissed off, because the complainer just wants something to bitch about and wants no responsibility for their involvement in the issue. I think this one niche of complaining is a cause of the negative stigma surrounding the word. However, the definition in no way implies the sickness people attach to it.
No wonder people tell me (with an tone of discontent) that I’m complaining when I mention something that maybe perceived negative. In my mind I’m not “complaining” in my own negative sense of the word, I’m just mentioning that I’ve gotten a scratchy throat the past 3 winters and don’t know why, or that there is a strange rattle under the hood of my car, etc. etc. I have simply made a statement as to what is on my mind at the moment. And I see it as just that.
The problem here, in my mind, is that I’ve met people along the way who have these ideas about relationships (any kind – BF/GF, friends, etc.) always having to have happy moments and anything negative is either avoided, put down, or quickly swept under the rug with hopes that it will be forgotten. To keep their demons under the rug one then has to guard oneself against any attempts to lift the rug and thus gets angry at people for mentioning grievances in the relationship because it exposes the inner demons.
“Why are you complaining? I treat you good.” (Example contributed courtesy of Miguel of Oz)
It isn’t about the fact that someone is complaining, it is about the fact that they are telling you what they are habitually mulling over in their minds. It may be something that can be compromised upon with proper communication or it may be something that someone just needs to hear themselves say to an outside party to stop the thought from bouncing off the inside of their skull. What one does with the information after a complaint has been lodged is another note, but in the least, be grateful for those people who see you as someone they are safe to express themselves to (both positively and negatively) and vice versa, these people are your real friends.