How To Deal With Chronic Complainers, From A Therapist

So, how does Tawwab recommend dealing with chronic complainers? For one thing, you have the opportunity to shift the conversation—or ideally, try to start the conversation on a positive note.

“One wonderful thing we can do with chronic complainers is start the conversation in a way that you want it to go,” she tells mbg. Make a mental list of the topics they often complain about and avoid mentioning them, Tawwab advises. “There are topics not to ask these people about, you know…If you start talking about politics, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, why did I bring that up?'” Well, next time, just don’t!

Additionally, she says to be aware of how you think about setting boundaries. Oftentimes people think they’re setting boundaries when they’re actually just trying to change the other person. “You can determine how you listen. You can determine what you do when they complain. But you can’t make them stop complaining,” she notes.

So, if you find yourself trying to set a boundary by attempting to “make” them stop complaining, that may be a sign you should simply limit your interactions with them altogether.

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