Oh the drama! Talking behind someone’s back, name calling, spreading gossip – reminds me of unpleasant memories of Jr. High. How many times do we find ourselves slipping into this trap? It happens. We have all been hurt by it.
Bitching, moaning, and whining (which I’ll call “BMW”), feels good at the time. We think we are making ourselves look good by complaining about someone else. Pretty soon the person we are venting to is wrapped up in our story and feeding the fire. We think we have made a friend by confiding in them. The problem is that nothing is getting solved. We are only deepening our ineffectiveness. Complaining to a person not involved, instead of the person you should talk to, is the cowards way. We have to have the courage to talk directly to the person we have the problem with.
When you find yourself the recipient of bitching, moaning, and whining, you have a choice to make. You can commiserate and only make the problem worse, or you can help them to take responsibility for a solution. Setting yourself up to be the person everyone loves to complain to will not advance your career. The mark of a true friend is someone who will help me solve my problems, not someone who will support my self destruction.
I bet you are thinking, “What about showing a little empathy?” I agree, we need to listen to each other. Sometimes people do need to vent their frustration. When that venting and vilifying of others is the sole point of the conversation, it’s not okay. Coaching each other to take action to address the problem is what’s needed. Here’s a few questions that might shift the conversation from “BMW” to responsibility:
• I see you are really frustrated. What can you do to decrease it?
• You’re in a tight spot with him. Have you talked to him about it?
• Is there something getting in the way of talking to him directly? If so, what can you do about that?
• Is there any way I can help solve the problem?
• I know your relationship with her is important to you. How can it be improved?
You will feel better when you focus on the solution and improve the relationship. Stop the bitch, moan, and whine cycle.
A quote from my mother…. “If she is gossiping to you about someone, she will gossip about you to someone else.”