Why Do People Complain?

I have to confess that when other people start complaining I tend to make a hasty exit if I can.

If I can’t make an exit and have to stick around I’ll space out and play a – let’s analyse what this person is really saying or doing by saying – game, which can be insightful and ease the stress of listening to someone complain even if you’re only half-listening (there’s a sound which complaining makes that no amount of spacing out can turn it off).

If I can’t space out and have to pay attention it’ll activate my problem-solving function… which isn’t always welcome in a complaint session.

I’m more of a grumbler than a complainer,

but they’re really the same thing,

as is bitching,




except grumblers tend to mutter under their breath and don’t really care if anyone else listens to what they’re grumbling about.

In my case grumbling = complaining to myself out loud and I would rather no one listened because I’m getting something out of my system to figure it out.

Something requires my attention to sort it out.

I often grumble about something when I’m insecure or unsure… which means that I need to understand what’s really going on and how to solve it or set about finding a solution if a solution exist.

Sometimes it is just about letting out inner gas, methane, before it accumulates and blows you up.

If someone does listen it can be rather awkward and may lead to me getting annoyed at them because I’m annoyed at myself for grumbling out loud and coming across as a complainer.

I grew up with a serial complainer and… complaining is a trigger for me… to grab a hammer and smash something, maybe my thumb because then the physical pain will blot out other types of pain. Such as the pain of being around a narcissist who never ever stops complaining and never ever wants a solution to what they’re complaining about.

Anyway, before this devolves into one big complaint…

Prompted by something I heard someone say, I did a quick search online (as compulsive searchers like me tend to do) and came across a rather wonderful article addressing the subject of – Why People Complain.

Here’s and extract from it (hope the author of the article won’t complain about my sharing this like this):


why people complain

excerpt via Actforlibraries –  Psychology of Complaining, Reasons why People Complain


The camaraderie aspect of complaining is one I’ve noticed, especially on social media… it puzzles me, as in I get it but don’t get it… enough to join in and be a part of the party they’re having.

I sometimes grumble about my inability to do that, to join in in a group complaint and complaining session.

I prefer to keep my distance…


pack mentality


but sometimes I wish I wouldn’t do that.

Complaining seems to be a natural impulse…

what is that impulse about ?

Maybe it’s part of the primal instinct to evolve…

maybe it’s just fun…

maybe it’s something which brings us together when other things that are supposed to bring us together fail to do so…

What do you think?