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Last Updated on January 30, 2018

When You Complain This Way, You’ll Always Get What You Want

When You Complain This Way, You’ll Always Get What You Want

Let’s face it, everyone hates complainers. If you’ve ever been in the firing line of angry complainers, you’ll know why. Their forceful and demanding requests can leave you shaken, disturbed – and perhaps even humiliated.

Still, as much as we don’t like people who always complain, an average person is said to complain nearly 15-30 times a day.[1] Clearly, there are times when you’ll be justified in complaining. Let’s take a look at some of these.

Why do we hate complaints?

Complaints usually stem from problems that people encounter. Maybe it’s a co-worker who’s not doing his job well – or perhaps a waiter who served you badly. When we experience problems like these, we feel unsatisfied about them, and we naturally want to vent our emotions and express our desire for them to be resolved.

Take a look around any shopping centre, and you’ll see dozens of examples of people encountering problems and quickly becoming frustrated and annoyed by their inability to fix them. Why is this? Even if a complaint is valid, people on the receiving end usually struggle to handle it because facts are difficult to accept right in the face. The more the truth is shoved in their face – the easier it becomes for them to ignore and reject the complaint. This is a common defensive mechanism.

    As complaining can frequently lead to no result, many people steer clear of making complaints. And for those who do stand up for their rights, their reputation is often negatively affected because people see them as a stubborn and obnoxious complainer.

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    Is there a way that your complaint won’t be ignored and you’ll get what you want? Yes, there is.

    Complain with a strategy

    You can get what you want if you complain with a specific strategy. For the strategy to work, you should decide if you truly want some results in return – or whether you just want to release your anger.

      If you’re only interested in expressing your emotions, then you should stop reading here. But if you want to get results, then you’ll need a plan before complaining.

      So, what is the strategy that you need to follow? Fgure out who can provide what you want, and then work out the best way to get that person to give it to you.

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        We’ll delve into the details of this strategy now.

        How to get your complaints heard

        There are three key ways of ensuring that your complaints are dealt with to your satisfaction.

        1. Bite your tongue before you process the situation

        If you’ve been hit by a problem, process it first before speaking out. This might mean taking a few seconds or minutes to let the problem sink in, and then to consider what actions you’ll take to bring about a resolution.

        If it’s something that you have the ability to improve or fix, then your best bet is to just go ahead and do it.

        2. Figure out what others want and think from their perspective

          Think hard about what your audience’s potential interests and pain points are.

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          Complaining at inappropriate times (e.g., when other people are in the spotlight or when they have bigger or more important issues to deal with) can make you look selfish and prevent you from being heard.

          Also, excessive or exaggerated complaining about the same thing can trigger negative emotions in others. When this happens – this will typically lead to your complaint falling on deaf ears.

          3. Never sound like you’re making a ‘request’

          If you lose control of your emotions and start making demands, you’ll quickly try the patience and goodwill of the person who might be able to help you.

          The secret to effective complaining is to make the other person feel they want to resolve the issue for you. To do this, you may have to go against your instincts, and be extra nice. At the end of the day, getting what you want is more important than being right or sounding tough.

            Let’s be honest, no one likes to be told what to do.

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            Instead of saying: “I need this doing now!” Try softening your tone and saying something like: “You don’t have to do this…” This indirect approach is non-confrontational and makes the person serving you think that it’s okay to help you. Instead of feeling ordered around, they are simply responding to a query. No mental or emotional barriers will go up, and nine times out of ten, the person will happily help you out.

            Relevant complaints are powerful

            Now that you know the secrets of complaining in an effective way, you’ll no longer be afraid to speak up when needed.

            By complaining in the right way, you’ll ensure that mistakes get rectified and promises are kept. But above and beyond this, you’ll also develop a powerful self-belief that will enable you to chart your own course through life.

            Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

            Reference

            More by this author

            Anna Chui

            Communication Expert

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            The Gentle Art of Saying No

            The Gentle Art of Saying No

            No!

            It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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            But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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            What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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            But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

            1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
            2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
            3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
            4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
            5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
            6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
            7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
            8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
            9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
            10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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