Expressing Grievances Constructively to Get Things Done. Complaints about life often provoke a reaction from those around you: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself!” Even if these phrases are meant to be friendly support, they usually evoke resentment and anger instead of calming down. Also, don’t take this advice literally. Complaining can help you not only blow off some steam but also figure out the real causes of problems.
At the same time, it is important to express dissatisfaction constructively, otherwise, as studies show, the effect will be exactly the opposite: stress will increase, and a person will fall into the trap of mental distortion, which is called catastrophization. It is because of it that we exaggerate the scale of the problem and the severity of its consequences.
How can you complain constructively? As a general rule, expressing dissatisfaction will work for you if you can sort out your feelings before you start complaining. In this case, you simply protect your legal rights and make it clear to those around you what specifically does not suit you. If you complain about things that you don’t want to do, a good opportunity is to delegate your tasks. For example, you can buy research papers if you can’t do the assignment by yourself.
What to Do with Your Unsatisfaction
To understand what exactly you are unhappy with, you need to learn to analyze your feelings calmly and impartially. The habit of keeping a journal can be a great help. Think of fixing your feelings not as a literary pursuit but as a therapeutic tool. There is research confirming that writing the feelings on paper improves the psychological well-being of even trauma survivors. Written practices provide an opportunity to focus on unpleasant experiences in a safe environment and, as a result, truly understand and process them.
If writing practices aren’t for you, use the advice provided by psychologists Guy Winch and Tina Gilbertson. Winch is the author of The Squeaky Wheel, in which he writes about the benefits of complaints.
1. Decide Immediately Why You Are Complaining and What You Want to Achieve
It is best to tell the other person directly about your goal at the very beginning of the conversation. If you just want to blow off some steam, no problem, say so. Then they will know what kind of reaction you are counting on and will be able to support you.
2. Look for a Solution
Before expressing dissatisfaction, for example, the quality of the service, think about whether there is an opportunity to fix what you do not like. If you not only make a complaint but also offer a compromise that can potentially suit everyone, it will be much easier to solve the problem.
3. Try to Abstract From Your Emotions
This will not give your opponent a reason to take a defensive position. State your claims calmly, clearly, and concisely, and stick to facts only. In this case, the interlocutor will be able to rationally perceive your words. And the likelihood of a constructive continuation will increase.
4. Mention Something Good at the Beginning and End of Your Message
For example, you can start a complaint against a company that sent a defective product by saying that you are a long-time loyal customer. And to finish – with gratitude for the time given to you.
5. Remind Yourself That Whoever You Are Complaining to May Not Really Be at Fault for Your Problems
This psychological trick is enough to keep the level of aggression under control. Complaining in a calm tone will make the person handling your complaint more willing to help you.
These simple tips will help you change the quality of your conversations with other people and make your emotional life better.