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?


  1. I think complaining brings together an ‘us vs them’ mentality and comradery. Better to be the witch hunter instead of the witch. Unity can be great but can also bring huge downfall. Also, I believe people complain because they just want to be heard and their feelings validated. I think complaining is a huge cry and plea for this. But there’s no ending for a narcs pleas and cries.


  2. I’ve seen people gang up on a poor slub online and RL, because they went against the group opinion. I’ve also been that poor slub. If you’re in a group it’s okay to bash and smash no matter the cause. But if you stand alone, you’re considered crazy and an outcast. I tend to stay out of such matters as well now, no matter who I believe is ‘right or wrong.’ I think the Al Pacino poster says it all. 🙂


    • Pack mentality can take over even the sanest of minds. It’s hard to go against the group, especially when belonging to the group means the group will protect you from the shit they dish out to others. You’re either with us or against us -if you’re with us you’re safe, if you’re against us we’ll tear you to shreds. Human history is full of this kind of dynamic. It’s ugly whether you’re on the receiving end or dishing it – at some point we all have to face the ugly of being human.

      So many of Pacino’s films films involve a perspective on being a part of the pack and being the odd one out upon whom the pack turns. I’ll never forget his “Attica!” (Dog Day Afternoon).

      Problem is when we split into factions… there are rights and wrongs on both sides.

      Hopefully at some point in the future of human history we’ll evolve from this kind of thing, but it may take a loooooooong time because we really should have learned this by now considering what has happened in the past, but we’re still slipping on the learning curve. So often we don’t quite connect the dots between sides of experience.

      Totally unrelated, or maybe related in some random manner, have you seen ‘Creep’ by Mark Duplass (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2428170/).


      • Haven’t seen it, but watched the clip.. and hell nawz! lol I don’t do scarey. Had too much in my life recently. Creepy is as far as I go now.

        Random unrelated side note as well: My housemate went to hospital last nite for kidney stones. He just woke up and showed me his referral to a urologist.. And I kid you not, the doctor’s name is, Dr. Brian Dicks. Haha! I kid you not. Fact is even stranger than fiction sometimes.


        • Sorry, forgot you don’t like horror films due having suffered enough RL kind of horror. This one was kind of tame, of the mumblecore genre, more funny than eek, but still… no more horror!

          I’ve come across a few names which made me do a double-take and wonder if I was awake or having some bizarre dream. Doctors’ names are often the freakiest because we’re at our most sensitive to freak when in their company. One doctor I had many years ago had a name which I misread as Strangler and never was able to get past my misreading of it (I added the ‘R’). He did have a certain vibe about him which didn’t help matters.

          Hope your friend gets better quickly – kidney stones are hellishly painful.


          • She didn’t scare me per say. I was just horrified when the mask finally slipped. I didn’t know when she would pop up again for an encore, and she did! Putting the pieces together was really facked up part. Twisted staircase that leads you straight to hell is the best description. I try not to think on it too much anymore, but it’s coming out in my dreams again as nightmares.

            I don’t do horrors because it brings out a negative mojo. But the one you recommended looks creepy enough and not so gory and violent. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I’m ready. Have you seen this short film? https://youtu.be/_u6Tt3PqIfQ It’s based on a story from creepypasta.com. Lots of film maker are looking into making movies about some of these true life experiences shared. “Jeff” is one.

            Strangler just ain’t right no matter where you put the ‘R’ or take it away. lol I’ll give your warm regards to my friend and Dr. Dicks. lol! 🙂


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