Real-World Reactions to Your Complaints

Goal: Increase your awareness of your own patterns of complaining, as well as the impact they have on those around you

Estimated time: 5–15 minutes per conversation

Ask for feedback on your complaining from people close to you whom you trust to tell you the truth. Have them tell you honestly about when they hear you complain and what they hear you complaining about. If you feel comfortable doing so, also ask what it’s like for them when you complain. What do they tend to think, and how do they tend to feel? Be warned that the answers you get might be unpleasant or upsetting to you. If you don’t think you can hear this type of feedback without feeling defensive, angry with yourself, or angry with the other person, skip this exercise until you feel less reactive. (If you’d like to work on becoming less reactive to difficult feedback, consider consulting a coach, mentor, or therapist.)

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