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15 Ways You Never Knew You Could Do To Complain Wisely

15 Ways You Never Knew You Could Do To Complain Wisely

The definition of complaining is

“Expressing dissatisfaction about a state of affairs or an event.”

There can be many reasons a person might complain. Some are well justified out of a legitimate desire to make things right. If these complaints are followed by action, that is intelligent complaining. There are constructive ways to complain in order to make things better. How do you find these complaints?

1. “Here is what I have observed. It may not be true for you in which case, please ignore my advice.”

Telling someone something negative is difficult in most cases, but this statement allows the person to look at the situation and have his own opinion of it. There is no manipulative intention in this statement because you have invited him to ignore your advice if he disagrees and told him that you won’t hold it against him if he does nothing about it.

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2. “When you do or say (blank), it upsets me. Please don’t do or say it in my presence”.

This statement lets someone know that their words or actions have an effect on you and gives them the choice, i.e. “Either don’t say this or do this or don’t expect me to be present.”

3. ” I have noticed (blank)” or “I have some bad news.”

Sometimes we do have to tell someone something we know they don’t want to hear. Honestly, I don’t think there is a perfect way to phrase something negative that you, as a friend really should tell someone. In this category I would include things like chronic bad BO or offensive curse words used at inappropriate times. Ask yourself if you really are doing that person a favor by telling them. Also ask yourself if there is anything that person can do about it. If not, it is useless to bring it up. In cases where you think that your best friend’s jeans make her butt look big but she thinks they are great, zip your lips! If her boyfriend is cheating on her and you have proof, then you do need to let her know.

4. “Your (husband, friend, kid) is awesome! I would love to help you guys out if you ever need it.”

Telling someone something negative about someone they care about is never a good idea. When you do this it puts the person that you do it to in a position of having to choose between you and his or her loved one. Even if the person is complaining about a family member or friend, don’t agree too strongly, because later, when things are going better, the person may resent the comments you made.

5. “I understand and I am there for you.”

A person who is having a rough time does not want to hear about how much worse you have it or had it. Just listen. If you really need a shoulder to cry on, find someone else until the other person gets back on their feet.

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6. “Do you think (so and so) needs our help?”

If you notice something off with another person, and it’s bugging you, you should communicate about it. Then, if you think that person needs help, give it to them. If it is just a case of differing styles, again, keep it to yourself.

7. “Wow! Teach me to do that! You ROCK!”

Courage comes with knowledge. There are methods and technologies for learning ANYTHING. Are you embarrassed by Sting or John Mayer when they sing? They have learned art of performing and you can too!

8. “I’ve noticed (Blah di blah) and I think it needs to be handled! What can I do to help correct that?”

Noticing and taking action on things that are not correct is a sane and smart response.

9. “(So and So) is involved in (harmful action putting himself and others at risk) and here is the proof. I think we need to do something about it.”

People generally do not like to confront and handle others even when the list of harmful acts is growing and affecting a lot of people. The proof of this is the inaction of the world against Hitler in World War II until after millions of people were slaughtered. The bottom line though, is that action in some useful direction is a sane and correct response. Do not be surprised if you are the only one willing to tackle the problem. There is nothing wrong with pointing out and trying to curtail someone else’s harmful acts or crimes. There is something wrong with sitting around and doing nothing while that person destroys himself and everyone around him. Sometimes merely telling another about the situation is the first step in handling it. On the other hand, there is also something wrong with manufacturing false “proof” and presenting it as real. An act like that is never warranted.

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10. “Something negative may happen but no matter what happens we can always do something to make it better. “

Simple and true.

11. “Wow! That is awful! I’m sorry that happened to you!”

Now, the person may have done an awful thing but pain and unhappiness never did anything to really solve a problem correctly. A person’s urge to commit harmful acts comes about because of past pain. Adding present time pain to the backlog of pain does not help

12. “I forgive you.”

If the person just messed up and is carving himself up with daggers on your doorstep, and you are certain he or she will pay more attention next time, decide whether you can trust him or her again. You can forgive someone without opening the door to future betrayals. Look carefully and decide.

13. Text “Are you free in the morning? I need someone to talk to.”

The phrase “I need someone to talk to” is a meaningful phrase. Your friend will understand and be there for you. You ahve also shown respect by asking first, instead of just unloading.

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14. “What happened to Joe could have happened to any one of us. We need to correct that!”

Whether anyone you tell agrees with you is neither here nor there. Take steps to correct the situation so that it doesn’t take you all out. If you can’t correct it, find a better and safer environment.

15. “OK, that (thought, action, idea) was not the best. I know I can do better!”

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes and learning from them. Even the worst mistakes are learning experiences. It is not OK to degrade or invalidate yourself over your mistakes or to let someone else degrade or invalidate you because of them. We all make mistakes and the real go-getters make more mistakes than other people because they are more active. It is not OK to do it to someone else, so don’t do it to yourself.

I know that much of what I have said requires courage and in answer to your unspoken question, Yes I have had my tushie handed to me more times than I can count by standing up and doing the right thing. But it has only been the times that I have failed to act and someone got  hurt that I regret. Courage means standing all by yourself sometimes, knowing that you are right. If you avoid all of the stupid complaints and work to make things better, you will be respected and even better, you will know you have kept your integrity. You may get your tushie handed to you but if you do I will be there for you.

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Chris Ellis

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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