Whining, which is the act of complaining about something in a very high-pitched, often annoying tone, has become so commonplace in our society that we hardly even notice it. People whine about everything nowadays, from their job and their commute to their bills and what they’re going to eat for breakfast. Some people may even try and disguise their whining as something else; a legitimate complaint or form of feedback, yet it usually ends up being the same thing.
The thing with whining is, it’s a very self-reinforcing act – the more you do it, the more you’re going to WANT to do it. Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, by whining, you’re LOOKING for something negative to set your attention to. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a negative reaction towards something, but whining is only going to further reinforce that thought. It holds you back and does absolutely nothing to fix your current situation. By whining, you’re only exclaiming the negative aspects of something that you’re already aware of, so why even bother doing it?
Of course, if it were that easy to fix nobody would be whining in the first place.
People whine for a variety of reasons, although usually it comes down to attention in some way or form. From the toddler on the playground to the adults all around the world, whining is usually brought into play because people have run out of options to change their current situation, and so by whining they’re hoping for others to adjust or react to it for them.
Understanding Why People Whine
Why WOULD somebody run out of options for adjusting their current situation? Are they too stupid? Too lazy? Lack motivation? Simply want attention?
It can be any number of these things, but one thing whiners all have in common is their reliance on others to fix their own problems, as this is generally an area they’re unable to cope with on their own.
For example, if somebody whines about the way their dinner came out, then chances are they’re looking for sympathy from those around them. What other reason do they have to whine? Is it going to make their food taste better? Will it suddenly make them happier and forget the current issue at hand? At best maybe the waiter will hear and give the person a refund on their meal, but aside from that it’s not going to actively fix any problems that arise. Problem solving and whining are complete opposites, and so the farther you traverse in one direction, the farther you get from the other. The more you whine, the farther you get from actually fixing your problem.
Many times you may even whine without being consciously aware of it. It just seems like the most immediate action to take, and so before long you’re whining without even knowing it. Some people have even made this into an art form, and have learned to use their whining as a form of manipulation to hold over others. They disguise their whining as a legitimate issue and so they have other people fix their problems for them. Ever seen somebody whine or complain about their financial situation and then noticed how many people jump on board to help the person? When somebody whines about a problem and someone else offers to “make it better?”
There’s nothing wrong with helping others, but make sure they’re actually asking for help and not whining for help; one will have you assisting the other person, and one will have you suckered into dealing with another person’s problems for them.
Are You a Whiner?
Are you? It’s easy to do, and I’d be lying if I said even I wasn’t guilty of whining at points in my life (although now if it happens I’m consciously aware of it.) it’s something we’ve all done from time to time, whether out of desperation or laziness, we’ve all used whining as a tool to sucker others into dealing with our problems.
When it comes to whining however, the issue isn’t whether you are or you aren’t, it’s whether you’re consciously aware of it. It does no good if you’re not aware of your whiny behavior because then how are you supposed to catch yourself in the act? How do you adjust and turn that behavior around when it stems up? You can’t, and chances are you’ll end up turning off other people around you, especially those that matter. Sure, your whining may sucker some people into helping you, but most of the time the people that actually matter, the people with solutions and answers, aren’t going to respond to your whininess. Generally, the only responsive people you’re going to find are people that are already attracted to you for other reasons. Your whining just gives them an excuse to interact with you, and their actions are going to show that.
I used to know a girl who constantly whined anytime something didn’t go her way. Needless to say, she was quite attractive, and not so surprisingly every time she whined she had a flock of guys offering to fix her problems for her. Whether it was a vehicle maintenance issue or she simply didn’t feel like going into work that day, the only people that were responsive to her complaints were those that were already attracted to her and just seeking an excuse for contact. That’s not to say her problems didn’t get solved, but nobody came to her for the sole reason of helping her, it was always because they had their own underlying motives.
The hardest part is actually identifying yourself as a “whiner.” Most people fail to do this, and the few that do never go on to change that behavior. I’m sure if you think of all the whiny people you know, most of them have been that way since you’ve known them. They’ve always been whiners and probably always will; it’s just an integral part of their character. They lack talent so severely in the problem solving department, that whining has become a part of their daily routine.
The issue then with overcoming whininess is not bettering yourself in one department, but becoming more self-sufficient with your actions.
What do I mean by this?
Whining is just a coping mechanism because you either lack the ability to fix your current situation, or you lack the motivation to do so. You either can’t fix it, or you want others to do it for you. More often than not, it’s not that you lack the ability, but rather it’s just easier to have someone else do the work for you, as whining about a problem is usually easier than actually solving it.
The downside to this? There are many of course, but the biggest one is that you’ll be labeled an unreliable person. Someone who is all talk and no action; someone who lacks the ability to “get things done.”
The only real way to overcome whininess then is to take responsibility for your own actions and fix your own problems. That seems like a very simplified explanation, but whining isn’t a complex problem to begin with. Once you can understand that whining is nothing more than a coping mechanism for something can’t do or choose not to do, then learning how to adjust your reactions to those problems is easy. Going back to the dinner example, whining about your meal is an attempt to garner sympathy and attention. Maybe somebody will offer to share their meal with you, or the waiter will attempt to rectify the problem. Instead of whining about it, just letting the waiter know something didn’t come out right or that you’d like to order something else will not only fix the problem, but also prevent everyone else from feeling guilty. Few things are as bad as trying to enjoy something while knowing that the other person isn’t having a good time.
In taking responsibility for your own problems you’ll not only have the secondary effect of building confidence, but you’ll realize that when problems do get solved they get solved in a much more proficient manner.
Besides, do you really think anybody wants to hear your whining to begin with?