Author Topic: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?  (Read 5981 times)

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AylaM

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My mother is a complainer.  I don't mind that she complains, but I do mind when she complains about a place, in excess, on location.  I can handle a comment or two expressing disappointment, but once she starts it is one complaint after the other.

We went to an farm to pick apples a couple of weeks ago.  We thought we could pick apples and they had a small fair set up.  Turns out they pick their apples and the fair was geared towards very young kids, with nothing really for us to do.  She complained about it and kept telling me, my grandma, and my aunt that "don't worry we'll go somewhere better next year".  And about how disappointed she was.  Every time something new came up to complain about we heard about it.

Meanwhile I'm trying to enjoy petting goats and shopping before I have to pile into the car for a long drive home.  As a side note:  I got to pet a goat!  Nothing terribly exciting, but one day I am going to have my own mini-herd of dairy goats.  Until then I have to enjoy them where I can.

Anyways, the thing is, I'd prefer if mom would wait least wait to tell me about it until after we left.  What happens a good portion of the time is when she says something with an employee nearby, thinking she is being all quiet and secretive,  and said employee will then turn around and ask about the visit.  And then Mom is all smiles and "it's great!".

I have had very limited success with saying something about it.  For example: We went to a Chinese food buffet once and she tried a very little bit of a lot of stuff.  Whenever she took a bite she would tell me exactly what was wrong with it.  Fed up, I finally said "Mom, you haven't said one nice thing about it since we got here."  She said "Oh, well xyz dish isn't bad".  But after a short while she started up again.

I don't want her to pretend she's having a blast when she isn't, especially as sometimes I agree.  For example the apple farm fair was pretty lame if you were not a 4 year old.  Nice trip if you live nearby, but we drove 3 hours to pet some goats and go grocery shopping.  It was a bad choice.  On the other hand I was ok with the Chinese food place.  It was mediocre but better than my attempts at the same dishes.

I just don't know if there is anything to say to her to postpone the complaints.  Or am I just being too sensitive to the subject.  It annoys me, but I suppose she does have a right to her opinions.  And it isn't like she's screaming at managers and demanding they change their businesses to suit her needs.

Anyone have any advice?


JenJay

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 06:07:18 PM »
What about something that acknowledges her feelings while gently shushing her. For example "Mom, I know you're disappointed. This isn't what any of us expected. But hey, we're here, and it could certainly be worse, so let's try to enjoy what we can, okay?"

If that doesn't work I'd be more blunt and say "Mom, the employees can hear you and I'm concerned you're making them uncomfortable and possibly even hurting their feelings. I'm disappointed, too, but we need to wait and discuss it in the car." or even "We understand that you hate it but we're trying to make the best of it. We'd love for you to join us but if you prefer to wait in the car we'll understand."  ;)

TootsNYC

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 06:43:35 PM »
I would be p.o.'d that she was ruining MY fun.

So I might have a longer conversation with her about it in advance. And tell her that it is really unkind to ME. That *I* am enjoying the day, even if it's not perfect.

And then I'd point it out each time she did it.
If she couldn't start to break the habit, I'd either pack us up and have us leave, or I'd walk off and leave HER. "Mom, you're being negative, and I cannot listen to it anymore. I'm going off by myself. Goodbye. See you at the car in 1 hour."


And there is this to consider:
http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/listening-to-complainers-is-bad-for-your-brain.html

Quote
being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity--including viewing such material on TV--actually peels away neurons in the brain's hippocampus. "That's the part of your brain you need for problem solving," [entrepreneur and author Trevor Blake] says. "Basically, it turns your brain to mush."


And all this reminds me, did you take her recently to a bakery chain where they hand you a cup for you to pour your own?

sparksals

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 06:44:20 PM »
This is a perfect situation for bean dip. 

TootsNYC

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 06:45:55 PM »
Actually, I don't think it is. Because it's persistent, and the OP can't escape that easily.

She *can* escape, which is what I suggested.

But I have to say, I would be avoiding any sort of outing with my mom.

buvezdevin

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 07:17:33 PM »
Can you ask her to save her critiquing of whatever she *doesn't* like until you're in the car, or completely away from the restaurant/fair/public activity, and explain that you don't want to negatively impact the experience for others (possibly adding that others includes you)?

Which is pretty much what Toots suggested.

I know, for myself, when I am disappointed in a dish or experience - that's one thing, and I may or may not share my view with companions in the moment - but saying something negative, or hearing something negative more than once can turn the experience from "pleasant, though not without flaws" to "what else is displeasing here" or "does anything ever please you" - it just puts the emphasis on the downside and exacerbates it.

On the other hand, saving the criticisms for after one is away from the event can lead to a fun discussion, even if the event was a big disappointment.  My boyfriend and I recently went to a play we knew nothing about, pretty spur of the moment.  It was not good, to be generous.  We did leave at intermission, and subsequently had a fun discussion of how good certain production elements were, how incredibly well certain cast members worked with their roles and lines, and what we didn't at all enjoy in the way of the writing, etc. All of which was a short jovial conversation *in the car* but I think would have been rude even between ourselves in the lobby of the theatre where those involved in the production, or possibly enjoying the play might have overheard.
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bloo

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 08:00:18 PM »
I would be p.o.'d that she was ruining MY fun.

So I might have a longer conversation with her about it in advance. And tell her that it is really unkind to ME. That *I* am enjoying the day, even if it's not perfect.

And then I'd point it out each time she did it.
If she couldn't start to break the habit, I'd either pack us up and have us leave, or I'd walk off and leave HER. "Mom, you're being negative, and I cannot listen to it anymore. I'm going off by myself. Goodbye. See you at the car in 1 hour."


And there is this to consider:
http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/listening-to-complainers-is-bad-for-your-brain.html

Quote
being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity--including viewing such material on TV--actually peels away neurons in the brain's hippocampus. "That's the part of your brain you need for problem solving," [entrepreneur and author Trevor Blake] says. "Basically, it turns your brain to mush."


And all this reminds me, did you take her recently to a bakery chain where they hand you a cup for you to pour your own?

Intrigued and agree with the whole post, but burst out laughing at your last question!

YummyMummy66

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 08:20:37 PM »
Maybe she does not realize how much she complains. 

I might start saying every time she complains.."blah, blah, blah...complaining again are we?"  and keep repeating each and every time she complains.  She might realize just how much she really complains.  Or hum loudly to yourself, etc.

Another thing that might work, is what does she like?  What does she find fun?  Take her to do this and this time you be the complainer, about every little thing.  Think of nothing at all nice to say. Complain every minute on every thing.  Then, when she says something, "You know what mom?  You are right.  I am glad you get it, because I was just trying to show you what you do no matter where we go or what we do.  Maybe you will complain less now".

Good luck!

TootsNYC

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 11:00:08 PM »
Maybe she does not realize how much she complains. 

I might start saying every time she complains.."blah, blah, blah...complaining again are we?"  and keep repeating each and every time she complains.  She might realize just how much she really complains.  Or hum loudly to yourself, etc.


This is one of the other uses of the "cut and paste." Pick a phrase, and repeat it IDENTICALLY, word for word, every time she complains. Extra points if there's at least one word that's sort of unusual so she'll notice it.

The other way to is take a notebook and keep track. Or to count out loud. "There's complaining comment No. 1." "That's No. 2, right? complaint, I mean."

lkdrymom

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2012, 07:12:13 AM »
I feel your pain. I know a few people who can't seem to speak without some type of complaint coming out of their mouth. You can take it for awhile but eventually it wears you down and you want to scream "is there nothing good in your life? does anything make you happy?" The worst part is one of these people is at my job and one lives in my home...I can;t escape it.

Hmmmmm

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2012, 09:17:41 AM »
Have you told her directly that all the negative comments suck the enjoymnet of spending time with her right out of you? 

My aunt had a SIL who was a complainer.  It was how she communicated, how she'd been conditioned as a child.  One day aunt told her that while she knew she was a half empty while aunt was a half full type of person, after 30 years aunt just couldn't handle all the negative comments.  Aunt told her she'd meet her more than half way.  For every 2 negative comments, she had to come up with a positive and she had to say the positive last.

The SIL got into the habit of talking this way.  We were amazed at the difference it was to be around her.  It was so much easier to hear "I wish they'd turn the music down and be quicker on the drink refills, but the dining room is pretty."

Luci

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2012, 09:32:42 AM »
Does she complain when she chooses the events herself?


Winterlight

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2012, 10:12:03 AM »
I would be p.o.'d that she was ruining MY fun.

So I might have a longer conversation with her about it in advance. And tell her that it is really unkind to ME. That *I* am enjoying the day, even if it's not perfect.

And then I'd point it out each time she did it.
If she couldn't start to break the habit, I'd either pack us up and have us leave, or I'd walk off and leave HER. "Mom, you're being negative, and I cannot listen to it anymore. I'm going off by myself. Goodbye. See you at the car in 1 hour."


And there is this to consider:
http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/listening-to-complainers-is-bad-for-your-brain.html

Quote
being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity--including viewing such material on TV--actually peels away neurons in the brain's hippocampus. "That's the part of your brain you need for problem solving," [entrepreneur and author Trevor Blake] says. "Basically, it turns your brain to mush."


And all this reminds me, did you take her recently to a bakery chain where they hand you a cup for you to pour your own?

This. If we've driven three hours and have a long drive back, then by golly I'm going to enjoy the time out of the car. I don't want to listen to Cathy Complainer grump.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

2littlemonkeys

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2012, 11:38:06 AM »
Ugh, I have no advice, I'll be watching the comments.  I have a complainer too.  We were at a pumpkin patch last weekend and all she did was complain (after inviting herself) about how crowded it was, how hot it was (68 degrees is scorching, folks), how expensive everything was.  The last part was pretty embarrassing, as she was complaining loudly in line while the cashier was ringing her up.  Who's family worked hard to put together the pumpkin patch to support the working farm it was attached to. 

Once we flew to another state for a vacation.  She spent the entire time moaning and groaning about everything, from her location in the plane to the lighting in the hotel room to the rain that happened every day at 4pm.  (and lasted a whole 10 minutes)  On the way home, she was complaining about the time of our flight.  (and we did include her in the travel planning.  We were told to do "whatever.").  I kind of snapped and said something like, "Joan, I'm really sorry you didn't have a good time.  I thought this would be fun for you." I was genuinely sorry, I thought she had just spent a week in misery.

"What are you talking about?  I had a great time!  We need to go again next year!"

::Headdesk::

Luci

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Re: I know you are not having fun, but would you please wait to complain?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2012, 01:35:15 PM »
Our solution to constant complainers was not to take them anywhere.

There were two, and it was a lot easier and less embarrassing to listen to complain in their homes, including, "I never get to go out!"

By the way, both were older women. I hope this isn't a trend!