The griper. We’ve all known one.
Some of us work with them, some of us live with them and some of us sleep with them.
The griper is that person who is just never satisfied. They’re always unhappy about something or someone. They’re that person who you can always count on to bring the party down.
You could give the griper everything they say their heart desires, but there’s still going to be that one little thing that isn’t quite right. And whether legitimate or not, they plan to make sure you’re aware of it. And they’ll likely preface it with a statement that deflects attention from the fact that they’re griping like…
“I’m not complaining, but…”
“I’m not one to gossip but…”
“I know it’s wrong to say, but…”
“Wouldn’t it be perfect if she’d just….”
These are key indicators that you’re about to hear the gripe of the day, nicely disguised as news you can use. And it’s easy to get swept up in the drama, especially when the griper is someone you can’t avoid.
So, what can you do about the griper in your life? How do you get them to understand that you’re not interested in being part of Group Griper?
If it won’t negatively affect your paycheck, a good friendship or your marriage, you could just tell them directly. You can be bold about it and let them know where you stand. Tell them what your boundaries are. Do a “drop the mic,” sort of thing.
But if the griper is a coworker, boss, relative or good friend, it’s a lot more complicated and requires more subtlety. And your spouse would likely notice if you unfriend them.
Some things you could try, are:
Refocus your conversations on something positive about the day, the company or how much they’ve accomplished since you met them, keeping in mind that you may need to update this every few hours because a true griper is rarely satisfied with just one gripe per day.
Share positive affirmations with them in person, through texts and your posts on social media. And when you sense their day is turning in a funky direction, send them some more, but don’t bog down their messenger, tag them and 50 others, or give them another reason to gripe.
Decorate your home or office with art that speaks life. This will remind the gripers that they’re entering a space that values peace. (The picture above is one of my favorite lamps). If you don’t have an office or cubicle, write it on your lunch bag, hang it from your rear view mirror, put a bumper sticker on your dashboard, make it a part of your digital signature, buy a necklace with a positive inscription or, if possible, a t-shirt.
It’s easy to get swept up in negativity and gripers know that. They don’t like to pity party alone, so they’ll try to get you to bring a dish. You must be prepared. Be intentional about being positive.
And, if this all sounds foreign to you because you’ve never encountered a griper, congratulations, my friend! My hope for you is simple… I hope YOU aren’t the griper.