A Complaint Approach

Everyone has the right to free speech, so everyone can say something about it.

So when you’re dissatisfied with something, do you gripe (indirect) or complain (direct)?

Gripes (“express a complaint or grumble about something, especially something trivial”) are typically a scattershot approach missing the real source. Social media leans towards the indirect, which is why people can easily ignore and even delete your complaint. So, if it’s a gripe, then maybe we can update it to a complaint.

I just heard Greg Norman on ESPN Sports Radio talking about the overall current situation with COVID-19. I talked about the work he was doing and adding some very positive comments for our society in general then spoke a well-timed phrase “No use complaining about it.”

The definition of complain is to “express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something” and I’ve been doing plenty of that lately.

Complaining is easy. We certainly have the free will (a.k.a. right) complain. When do well, complaints can become good feedback, but remain bad when nothing positive comes from them.

Next, we can ask should I complain? We can certainly lean toward yes for consumer rights, level of customer service, voting rights, human rights, life-threatening/changing issues, etc. Also, it’s often a yes when things just don’t go your way.

If the answers to all the following statements are true, then we can complain about “it” (fill in the blank for “it” when needed):

  • I’m not complaining just for the sake of complaining
  • It’s not any retaliation/counter-argument I took
  • I cannot stop it even though I’m willing and capable
  • It’s not my fault.
  • I’ve considered the opposing/other point-of-view
  • I can make a valid argument for my case and have good reason/support/evidence to complain
  • It’s not a natural occurrence and cannot be contained without extraordinary action.

When anyone agrees with your complaint it builds rapport regardless if you’re in the minority of the overall opinion or not, so sharing your complaint can have some positive benefits.

If you’re lucky, the recipient will at least record, look into, and/or refer your complaint.

If you are listened to you, then the subject typically solves the issue themselves or passes it on to a higher authority. An advocacy group is also a resolving option.

If you’re not listened to you, then it’s likely because the subject didn’t deem your complaint worth their time.

You can complain, but people are going to remember one thing – how you made them feel. Negative feelings often have stronger, negative effects unless you’re lucky enough to have a graceful, forgiving, and/or resilient recipient to your complaint.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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