We can be a nation of entitled whiners. “It’s too cold.” “I am the only one around here who does anything.” “I didn’t get what I wanted for Christmas.” “The government is doing it to us again.” “Blah, blah, blah” or should I say “whine, whine, whine.”
You open the newspaper, you watch the news, you logon to your social networking accounts and you are bombarded by those around you who are whining and complaining.
Definition of Whine: To complain or protest in a childish fashion.
Synonyms: complain, bellyache, fuss, gripe, grumble, moan, snivel….
When we notice our children whining, we are told to call their attention to it. Whining can become an unconscious habit, so we need to call them on it and let them know that they need to respond in a different way ie. “Try again in your normal voice and I’ll pay attention.”
But what do you do when it is a co-worker or another adult who is whining?
Hunger, tiredness, boredom and feeling unwell are factors that can precipitate whining sessions, but some have learned from a very early age that whining gets them the attention that they are seeking. Whining has become second nature and their predominant way of communicating. Their behaviour is draining on relationships and it can poison a workplace.
Beverly’s Hot Tips for National Whiner’s Day:
If we catch yourselves whining:
- Try moving from an attitude of entitlement to one of gratitude. What is going right in your life? It is hard to be whining when focused on the positive and being thankful.
- Focus on problem solving. It is okay to vent, but that venting must be followed by problem solving otherwise it is whining for whining’s sake.
- Try to see if anything in particular sets off your whining attitude. Are you fighting a cold? Sleep-deprived? Feeling unfulfilled or under appreciated? Knowing what sets your whining in motion can help you to head it off.
- Listen to your own voice. Is this really the way you want others to hear you?
If you are going to confront a whiner:
- Understand that they are looking for attention, but give them attention for solving the issue, not for whining about the issue.
- Ignoring them may not be a productive strategy as they may do more whining or bring others into their whining circle in order to get their need for attention met.
- Move them forward. Ask them what they are going to do about the issue and don’t let them get stuck just replaying and whining about the situation.
- Sometimes in close relationships, we can point out that the person is using their ‘whiny’ voice, but be careful, or you may quickly be faced with their angry voice.
Finally, minimize the amount of time that you spend with the whiner. They will zap your energy if you aren’t careful.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!