Saturday, June 12, 2010


I was told by a friend – a good friend – a few months ago that I like to complain. She was actually talking about her daughter, who she told me was fine because she was complaining, and when she complained it meant she was happy, like me. I was like: WHAT?! I’m not like that!!! And she told me that I was – that when I was happy I liked to complain. I was flabbergasted, to say the least. And she was completely wrong, of course. I mean, who likes to complain when they’re happy? Surely happiness is not having anything to complain about and therefore not complaining, right?

But then I started to think about what she said, and the more I thought, the more I started to realise that she has a point. (That’s one of the reasons I like this friend so much. She comes at me with a totally different perspective that knocks my socks off, but really gets me thinking.) I do like to complain. But for it to be true that I complain when I’m happy, then the inverse (that I don’t complain when I’m not happy) must also be true. Which, I’ve realised, it is.

Let me give you an example: when I was in my last year at university as an undergrad, happily studying my course, I complained incessantly about my lecturers/tutors, modules, timetable, research papers, exams, extra reading, essays, admin, transport and plenty more to anyone who would listen. However, at the beginning of ’09 when I was engaged and knew it wasn’t a good idea and therefore totally stressed out, I didn’t complain. Seriously, over a period of 3 months, I only made about 3 or 4 comments to my mum, a couple of conversations with my 2 best friends and that’s it. It wasn’t until I’d made up my mind that I was going to end it, and was feeling happy about it, that I started to complain to everyone else, too.

So, I don’t complain when I’m unhappy, but I do when I’m happy. That’s twisted. Really, it’s just wrong. It makes me a miserable cow. Not good. Not what I want to be.

Worst of all, I’m quite a cheerful person, really. No, honestly, I am – I’m a perpetual optimist, always looking on the bright side. But what if, upon meeting me, people hear me complaining and think I’m a miserable cow?

(Note: there is a distinction between complaining and whining: I do not whine. I cannot stand whingers/whiners. I just complain. I’m still working on the defining the difference between whining and complaining, though.)


  1. I find complaining is very endearing. It says, "I need to get this off my chest and I trust you enough to share it with you."

    I'm so happy you have a friend who will be honest with you. And I don't think she was saying you should stop complaining, was she? She was just pointing out your happiness-complaining connection.

  2. What an interesting observation from your friend!

    I have a friend that complains quite a bit - which makes me try not to complain because I don't want to sound like her!

    I obviously only know you through your blog, but I don't think of you as a complainer!