Offering Advice To Complainers

We’ll just start with: don’t. If you’ve ever watched Parks and Rec (spoilerrrrrr) – remember when Anne was pregnant and Chris kept offering her one thousand solutions when all she wanted was for him to be like “that sucks.”

I’m a lot like Anne in that way. Mostly because I’m an overthinker, so if I have a problem I have most likely already thought of a million things I could do, but none of them would really work. So I’ll start complaining about my problem with the hopes that someone will agree, that sucks, or tell me it’s not a big deal.

But don’t try to solve my problems for me. It’s the last thing I want. Your solutions could never work in my anxiety-riddled mind, I’d rather you just try to offer me peace of mind. Instead of “why don’t you try this?” or “what can I do to help?” maybe say “that’s terrible, but it might not matter because x, y, z.”

Not everyone will feel the same because by telling someone something is not a big deal, you might sound like you’re downplaying their problems. But for an overdramatic complainer like me, I need all the downplaying I can get.

21 thoughts on “Offering Advice To Complainers

  1. A corollary to this is the person who comes to you asking for advice. A lot of the time, what they don’t want is advice, but for you to either tell them they’re absolutely right or completely nuts. And if you listen carefully enough, you can usually tell what they want you to say.

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  2. Honestly, it gets difficult sometimes finding someone who would simply try to understand you and your needs. I hate it when people try to give me a million solutions which I already thought of and tried that didn’t work. It’s best if they’d simply try to make me peaceful and probably laugh about my situation than remind me of the situation and give solutions that make all other upcoming solutions seem impossible and discouraging. I need to be peaceful, calm and laugh about this- not to be reminded. Thank you for sharing Rosie.

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  3. I’m a little bit the same as you. I don’t like people to downplay things because I hardly express how I feel or complain. But when I do, I have already overthought everything. It’s why I hardly ask for advice haha. I usually know what to do but it’s difficult or I just want to talk about it. With some people, I have to preface what I’m about to say with “I’m just venting/I just want you to listen/you don’t have to give me any advice.”

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      1. Yeah it does bother me when I say that and people almost seem offended and have an “arms crossed-internally rolling their eyes” kinda stance towards me like if they can’t give advice then I shouldn’t me talking. I don’t think I’m crazy when I complain and I know things will be alright but it’s nice when people can just empathize with me a bit. Maybe it’s asking too much. Honestly, I just don’t complain or express myself anymore because no one really cares haha

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  4. I relate to this so much. I complain a lot and I’m usually not looking for a solution. I just need to vent. My fiance used to try to give me solutions but he learned that doesn’t work. Now he just offers a “Sorry you have to deal with that” and a hug.

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  5. I think we all usually start from our own understanding and experience of things. To comfort our loved ones, we usually try to do what we think we’d want someone to do for us if we were in the same situation. I have some complainers in my life who respond to neither “oh that sucks” nor “why don’t you try.” In this case I have to wonder whether or not the person just wants to feel isolated and miserable for a while. Maybe there are some people like that?

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  6. I’m not good with complainers. I tell my friends this upfront. Come to me when you want advice. Don’t come to me to vent. I won’t help you because I’m not a complainer. I can’t relate. If you give me a problem, I’m ready to tackle it with you, not wallow. Because I say this upfront, I rarely have to deal with complainers now. They vent to someone else and then come to me when they’re ready for the fixes!

    I also should add a cultural difference. I met the complainers in America. In Jamaica, I rarely met people that just complained. Not much time for wallowing in the third world!

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  7. I’m the same way, I like hearing my complaints be downplayed, too. Boyfriend rather have me say “man that DOES suck” & gets a little frustrated when I say, “it could be like x, y, or z” lol.

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