There are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.

Complaining, when done properly, can be beneficial to your mental and physical health. See here, here, and here.

But, when done wrong it can make matters worse. It can make a mountain out a molehill.


Some of you may have seen our Complaint Project bands. They are a reminder of the 21 Day Challenge.

When I was ordering the bands I had all sorts of issues with the vendor. When some people have an issue they are quick to run to Twitter to throw up a 140 character tweet demanding justice. Others tell anyone and everyone they know about the issue. Is this helpful to the vendor? Is this helpful to the next person to use this vendor?

I’m not perfect, I wanted to run to Twitter, but decided that wasn’t a good idea, it wasn’t helpful to fix the issue.

What I did was contact the company, tell them what the issue was. Incorporate a screencast showing them what actually was wrong. Give them a chance to make it right.

Complaint Triggers

Remember our definition of a complaint: describing an event or person negatively without indicating the next steps to fix the problem.

Here are some basic examples of complaints:

  • I wish my boss would stop emailing me about every single thing.
  • I’m overweight and can’t stop eating.
  • Did you hear about Sue, I can’t believe she did that.

Here are some ways to turn those into constructive feedback.

  • My boss won’t stop emailing me, I’m going to talk to him about this and see if we can limit these.
  • I’m overweight, I’m going to join the gym and watch what I eat.
  • *silence … don’t say anything*

There are certain buzzwords or trigger words, that usually come before a complaint. Try and catch yourself saying these then stop before the complaint comes out.

I wish …
Can you believe …
I’m never …
Why don’t you ….

Catch yourself saying these. Ask others to listen for these words to come out of your mouth and help you to stop.