Is there someone in your circle who tends to see only the negative things in life? Do they constantly gripe about everything, bringing down everyone around them? This is what chronic complainers do.
While their never-ending pessimism can suck your energy dry, there are strategies to deal with them without letting their negativity take away from your happiness.
But first of all, how to recognize a chronic complainer in your circle?
10 Things Chronic Complainers Do
1. They’re thrive on negativity
A chronic complainer is someone who always sees the glass as half empty. They have a tendency to focus on the obstacles and challenges in life, rather than on the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead.
While it’s great to be there for a friend who is going through a tough time, it’s important to recognize when someone’s negativity is a chronic issue. So, what’s the difference between a chronic complainer and a person who is just having a bad day?
Chronic complainers will thrive on negativity. They seem to always have something negative to say. Whether it’s about their job, their relationships, or just life in general, they can bring down the mood of any room they’re in.
It’s like they have a cloud hanging over their heads and are quick to point out the flaws in any situation.
2. They gravitate towards negative people
The truth is, people who are constantly negative and complaining are unlikely to be friends with those who have a positive outlook on life.
Real life isn’t a 90s sitcom where the grumpy character always gets won over by the happy-go-lucky protagonist. In real life, people tend to gravitate towards those who share their values and outlook on life.
Think about it—would you want to spend time with someone who is always complaining and bringing you down? Probably not. And the same goes for most people. We all want to be around those who make us feel good and uplift us, not spoil our mood.
So, if you’re wondering if someone is a chronic complainer, take a look at the company they keep. If all of their friends seem to have a negative outlook on life, it’s likely that they’re contributing to that energy.
3. They are obsessed with finding faults
One of the most frustrating things chronic complainers do is that they find faults in even the smallest things.
For example, if you suggest an idea they don’t like (and they rarely like anything), they’ll be sure to point out every flaw and imperfection they can find. This can be demotivating and discouraging, especially if you’re trying to be creative or come up with new solutions to a problem.
4. They are always right
Chronic complainers also tend to have a “my way or the highway” mentality. They believe that their way of doing things is the only correct way, and they’re not willing to compromise or consider other perspectives.
If something isn’t up to their standards, they’ll moan and groan and refuse to accept anything less.
This trait often makes chronic complainers impossible to work with, as they’re not open to hearing new ideas or trying different approaches. This can be particularly challenging in group projects, where compromise and cooperation are essential for success.
5. They focus on problems, not solutions
One of the most telling traits of a chronic complainer is their intense focus on obstacles and challenges. They have a tendency to magnify even the smallest problem and make it seem overwhelming.
They are always quick to identify obstacles, but rarely come up with solutions to overcome them. This mindset is particularly counterproductive in the workplace, where problem-solving skills are highly valued.
Chronic complainers often fail to succeed in their careers and life in general because they spend so much time complaining about the challenges they face.
6. They dwell on negativity
But this is only half of the issue. Chronic complainers also dwell on problems and find it hard to let things go. Even the most minor setback can send them into a spiral of negativity and complaining.
They will dwell on a mistake or mishap for days, weeks, or even months, and will often bring it up in conversation long after the incident has passed.
This can be incredibly draining for those who have to listen to them, creating a toxic environment in the workplace or at home.
7. They tend to blame others for their failures
Chronic complainers often have a victim mentality. They believe that the world is against them and that they can never catch a break.
Because of this toxic mindset, they tend to blame others for their problems. They will often point fingers at their boss, coworker, spouse, or anyone else they can think of.
In other words, they fail to take responsibility for their own actions. This can be especially frustrating for those who are trying to help them, as they are unwilling to own up for their mistakes.
8. They are convinced that they are just being realistic
Despite their negative outlook and tendency to nitpick, chronic complainers often believe that they are simply being realistic.
They may view themselves as the only ones who truly understand the challenges of life, and may feel that others are naïve or unrealistic in their expectations. This can make it difficult to reason with them or to help them see things from a different perspective.
This is where a chronic complainer loses the point. Their mindset is far from realistic.
No one and nothing is perfect, but focusing solely on the negatives can make it seem that way. When you’re constantly searching for faults, you’ll always find them. This means that even when things are going well, a chronic complainer will find something to gripe about.
9. Unhealthy perfectionism
Chronic complainers often happen to be perfectionists. They view everything around them as not good enough and strive to make things better, even when to others, nothing needs improving.
This constant need for improvement stems from their negative view of the world. They see flaws in everything and believe that if they don’t fix them, no one else will. This can lead to a never-ending cycle of trying to perfect everything, even when it’s unnecessary.
10. They find it hard to feel happy
With this constant negativity, a chronic complainer fails to notice those small moments of joy in life. They’re too busy looking for things to complain about to appreciate the good things that are happening around them.
This means that even when something positive happens, they won’t feel genuine happiness because they’re too busy complaining about something else.
Happiness comes from appreciating what you have, not constantly searching for what’s wrong with it. It’s about finding joy in the little things, like a beautiful sunset or a kind gesture from a friend.
For this reason, a chronic complainer never seems happy. Their negative mindset and constant search for faults means they’ll rarely ever feel truly content.
How to Deal with Chronic Complainers?
If you find yourself dealing with a chronic complainer, it’s important to remember that their negativity is not about you. They may be struggling with their own insecurities or frustrations, and their complaining is simply a way to cope.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to put up with their behavior. Here are a few tips for dealing with chronic complainers:
1. Set boundaries
Many chronic complainers also happen to be emotional vampires, so they are looking for a listening ear. Dragging others into their misery makes them feel good.
But it’s up to you if you allow them to do that or not. Let the chronic complainer know that you’re not willing to engage in constant negativity. Be clear about what behaviors are unacceptable, and stick to your boundaries.
If you need more guidance into setting boundaries, read this article.
2. Offer solutions
If the chronic complainer is dwelling on a problem, try to offer ways to improve the situation. Help them see the potential solutions instead of focusing on the problems. Encourage them to take action and try something new, rather than simply complaining about the situation.
This can help shift the focus from negativity to problem-solving.
3. Distance yourself from their negativity
It can be frustrating to deal with a chronic complainer, but try to be patient and understanding. Remember that their behavior is not about you, and that they may be struggling with their own issues.
This perspective will help you distance yourself from a chronic complainer’s negativity. Don’t let it affect you. Keep in mind that what they say is more about them, not you.
Therefore, there is no reason to feel bad about yourself and your dreams just because your negative friend said something discouraging.
4. Focus on the positive
Try to shift the conversation to more positive topics or focus on the things that are going well. This can help counteract the chronic complainer’s negativity and create a more positive atmosphere.
However, don’t openly call them out for their chronic complaining. Most likely, they will get defensive and won’t admit that they are doing something wrong. Instead, gently shift the topic of the conversation to encourage a more positive perspective.
What to Do If You Are a Chronic Complainer?
If you find yourself exhibiting chronic complaining behavior, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on why you are behaving this way.
Are you truly facing insurmountable obstacles, or are you focusing too much on the negative aspects of your life?
When you find yourself trapped in a cycle of negativity, ask questions such as:
Is this situation really worth so much of my energy and attention? Can I find something positive in this situation?
Answering these questions will help you see things from a different perspective.
Practicing gratitude can do wonders for a negative mindset. Shift your focus on to the positives in life, no matter how small they may seem. Try repeating positive affirmations that promote gratitude, such as:
I’m grateful for this delicious meal.
I’m grateful for this beautiful sunny day.
By doing so, you’ll start to notice more good things happening around you, and you’ll feel happier and more content in your daily life.
3. Distance yourself from negative people
A negative mindset is contagious. So, you need to make sure that the people you surround yourself with are a positive influence.
Distance yourself from everyone who drags you down. After all, life is too short to waste it on constant negativity. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and make you feel good, and you’ll find that your outlook on life will start to shift towards the positive as well.
To sum up, chronic complainers can be a drain on those around them, as their never-ending negativity and focus on obstacles can create a toxic environment. While it can be difficult to change their mindset, it is important to encourage them to see things from a different perspective.
With some patience and understanding, you can help a chronic complainer break free from their negative thought patterns and start living a more fulfilling life.
Featured image by wayhomestudio on Freepik