How to Deal with a Complaining Friend

Dear Coach Laura,

I have a friend who complains about the same thing all of the time.  How can I lovingly tell her that I don’t want to hear the same thing over and over?  She doesn’t take action, she just complains!

One Reply to “How to Deal with a Complaining Friend”

  1. Coach Laura

    The first rule I have when someone is complaining is to simply listen. If I know this person is a chronic complainer, I do my best not to respond or give my opinion on the situation. Often times since the complainer does not get any more “juice” to feed off of, he/she will stop. If that doesn’t work, I believe you must honor yourself and the friends and speak from your heart.

    Here’s something I’ve said, “I feel a lot of pain for your and your situation because I care about you. I deeply would love for you to find some resolution. I’ve realized that I don’t have your answer and is difficult for me to hear about this situation and be a good friend to you. Would you be willing to help me and refrain from sharing your challenges with this particular situation?” At this point you need to be silent until he/she responds. If there is a negative reaction, you can affirm your desire to have a friendship that focuses more than on that situation and the opportunity to grow your friendship.

    Another option is to set boundaries on the time you’d be willing to spend discussing this situation.

    You have a great opportunity to expand your friendship beyond the situation that he/she keeps bringing up.

    This person is a gift to you. He/she is helping you learn many things.

    I wish you joy in this friendship.

    Coach Laura

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