What Have You Got to Moan About?

Some years ago my family went for an outing to a restaurant, for a lovely Sunday lunch. The waiter started to deliver our meals and when mine arrived it was nothing like what I'd ordered. When I started to speak to the waiter my father snapped, told me to stop moaning and eat it as it looked perfectly fine to him!

Moaning can come in all shapes and sizes and it's often someone's interpretation of another's behaviour that makes all the difference. Certainly, having someone say, 'stop moaning', can be a massive factor in shutting someone up. No one wants to be accused of moaning, even if it does mean eating the wrong meal!

According to recent research the average Briton moans for 10000 minutes each year, with two-thirds of 20-30 year olds moaning at least once a day for 15 minutes. Moaning can become a habit, an automatic default. And for some people it can be used as an attempt to appear superior. Always having an opinion and looking down on other people and things can be seen as a way to elevate ones standing. Dispensing scathing comments and views from a lofty height can feel important and 'better than'. But beware of the consequences of always moaning or complaining.

Becoming habituated to seeing the bad and complaining about it can remove the joy in life. When you're attuned to always notice what's wrong and not as you would like you leave no space for compassion, humour or being easy-going and tolerant. And for others it can be wearisome to be with someone who never has a good word to say, or who refuses to give a pass for the slightest infringement of their code of 'acceptable' behaviour.

Moaning can become a negative approach to life, as in bullying, intimidation, manipulation and in targeting others who are seen to be rarely 'good enough'. Then there are those who moan for advantage. They want to avoid paying for their meal by saying something was wrong or bad. They're after compensation, reparation, even damages and know that many business and service providers are nervous of ignoring the prospect of negative publicity, so will often give in and do what's asked of them.

Moaners may see their comments as constructive criticism, feedback, a desire for the other person to improve, and, handled well, constructive criticism is relevant to each of us to aid our growth. As an adult we should be able to handle some comments and teaching points, especially if we're working on a team or to a specific spec, but constant barracking and being complained to or about can slowly erode confidence, self-belief or desire to think for ourselves.

Trolling may be seen as moaning or complaining. Often done under a cloak of anonymity, trolling is online abuse - picking on, highlighting something about another person's appearance, behaviour or presence that has caused irritation and issues with the troll. It's certainly a form of bullying and can be insidious, often encouraging others to join in the trolling activity, generating a cascade of distressing online vitriol. Many social media providers have become vigilant about trolling, deleting comments and blocking trolls from posting, but it still occurs and can have devastating consequences for the recipient.

But not all moaning is bad. It can create a tribe mentality, where people with a common grievance feel empowered to stand up, complain and campaign for change. It can create a collective energy, where individuals discover that by standing together they can precipitate change by having a common aim in their sights. A group of individuals can become a force to be reckoned with when they unite and complain or 'moan' together. 


Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net