So I complain a lot. I complain about boredom, busyness, boys, b----es, booze, buffoonery and everything in between. Mainly, I complain to my friends, and my friends complain to me. I complain to entertain, to bond, to vent, to self-pity, to sympathize and because, sometimes, I just like the sound of my own (whiny) voice. My complaining occurs at least every day but usually more. The problem is that 99 percent of my complaints are not real problems at all. The other problem is that over-complaining is not unique to me. Dear Dukies (and everyone else), you too are culpable. We all complain way too much. And here’s why:
1. You don’t even realize you’re complaining.
We often disguise complaints as different behavior, such as:
a. Observing. As in, “Ugh! It is so hot in my room. With tuition this expensive, why doesn’t Crowell have air conditioning?” (The air you just wasted yapping made it even hotter.)
b. Gossiping. As in, “OMG you know her? What a b----! My cousin’s neighbor was in her sorority, and apparently she was a complete mess at formal last year, if you know what I mean.” (Thank you for sharing that information, that was so nice of you!)
c. Socializing. As in, misery loves company. But does it? “This weather is disgusting. Great, now we can both sulk about it.” (Ah, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.)
d. Making excuses. As in, you were 20 minutes late to your 10:05. But you overslept because you were so hungover! And you forgot to take your meds! And you had to wait forever for the C-1! And E-print was down! (Because taking responsibility for your actions is obviously never the answer.)
2. Life isn’t fair.
S--- happens! Sometimes, you just can’t help it when your car breaks down or someone steals your iPhone or your flight gets cancelled. All of this stuff really sucks, but does complaining make it any better? Of course not.
And here’s why we need to stop it:
1. Nobody likes a pessimist.
Complaining spreads your negativity to others. For example, last month I was shoe shopping and found the most beautiful pair of boots that were too small for me. I then went home and b----ed to my friend about how much I hate my “freakishly giant flipper feet.” This friend actually has bigger feet than I do. Not only did my complaints remind her of her shoe size, they made her self-conscious and annoyed. Not good!
2. It makes you unappreciative.
It’s easy to forget how lucky we Dukies are when we let silly things disrupt our lives. I actually experienced a moment like this today, when I pitied myself for having a cold, an above-average amount of homework and none of my favorite snacks at my disposal. In an attempt to distract myself from this misery, I went poking around on Twitter. I then discovered a mob of horrific news headlines that made me disgusted and ashamed. Sure, I can’t stop coughing and am nostalgic of the days when I could breathe out of both nostrils, but did I lose anyone to the mudslides in Washington? Or flight MH370? Do I live in a warzone? No. Thanks, reality check. Suddenly, today isn’t looking so bad.
3. It’s a huge waste of time.
When is complaining ever productive? Never. For instance, I’ve lost my wallet and/or credit cards more times than I can count. Each time, it leads to an inevitable freak-out, screaming, b----fest. Does crying about my idiocy magically return my lost goods? No. Instead of wasting time lamenting, what anyone in this situation should do is call their bank ASAP to ensure some creeper isn’t out there charging Apple products and adult DVDs to their account.
So, Dukies, I understand that this entire column is basically me complaining about complaining. Counterproductive? Maybe. My point is, though, that we could all gain a lot from being a lot less pessimistic. Here’s an idea: Instead of using the s---ty weather or your boring professor as a conversation starter, why not talk about something positive? Compliment someone! Apologize for being late! Appreciate your life! Because, even though you may be having what feels like the absolute suckiest day ever, chances are it could always be a lot worse.
Chelsea Sawicki is a Trinity senior. Her column is part of the weekly Socialites feature and runs every other Wednesday. Send Chelsea a message on Twitter @ChelsTweetzz.