We all know that person whose life is falling apart at the seams all the time.
They nit-pick, grumble, criticize, whine, nag, on and on and on. The chronic complainers that can convert a mood into a negative space in 3 words flat: “My life sucks.” Or something like that.
And, before you know it, you are complaining alongside them. It is just like in high school when you had to agree with the popular kids to fit in. Subconsciously you latch on to bad talking the boss or having a negative ‘tude about your not-so-bad commute because the thing to do when the chronic complainer is around is, well, complain. You can’t help it. You just get sucked into the grumble-athon. The brain starts working the wrong muscles.
But you better stop because neuroscientists now say that listening to complainers can do some major damage on your brain, according to an article shared by Inc. Trevor Blake, the author of Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life, says flat out that being exposed to a complaining attack can make you dumb. Think of it as verbal second hand smoke.
Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity–including viewing such material on TV–actually peels away neurons in the brain’s hippocampus.
So if you want your hippocampus intact (God knows that I do!) use these 3 steps to survive a pessimist in action before your brain turns to slop:
1. Know a Complainer’s Mindset
Chronic complainers don’t see themselves in a negative light, they see the world that way. If you recognize this it will be easier to handle them.
2. Talk in Open Ended Questions
You can never find a solution for a pessimistic person because they will always have a thousand more complaints in their front pocket. It is in your best interest to ask open-ended questions to get them thinking about how they can solve their own issues. Use your 5 W’s…and no one of those doesn’t mean whine.
3. Mentally Retreat
Complainers need a time limit or they can go on forever. Have conversation enders on hand like “I have somewhere to be in 5 minutes so tell me the details before I need to go.” You can also envision your Happy Thoughts (in Neverland of course) while they yap your ear off about how the world is ending. Take a complainer in small doses!
And moving forward it would be wise to clink brains with the positive type!
Do you have any techniques for dealing with a complainer on the loose? Add them below so we have a better survival guide!