I like to complain, I sort of have an entire blog devoted to it. I’m also in the service industry, so whether it’s from the customers or from my coworkers complaining about customers, it’s something I’m around on a daily basis. But I get it, people love to complain. I think it gives them a sense of meaning or something. Like if you’re constantly critiquing the world it give you a sense of engagement in that world that you don’t get from passively let things simply happen around you.
As a concept I’m at peace with complaints. I recognize their purpose and importance. I would, however, like to register a complaint about the way some people go about complaining. It’s not so much the contents that bothers me, it’s the packaging.
Jo’s Handy Guide for How not to Complain
Rule 1. It’s not a pet peeve, you’re just an asshole
As previously eluded to in the title don’t tell me your pet peeves. Once again I get that there’s just some weird little things that bug people. There’s lots of random, insignificant things that bug me too. But my problem with the pet peeve complaint is that is more than usually just a poorly veiled attempt to point out something I’m doing that you don’t like. It’s bitching at me, but bitching at me in such a way that you’re pretending you’re not bitching at me. And I’m expected to go along with this pretense as if I don’t know what’s really happening.
The name ‘pet peeve’ is designed to lessen the impact of the complaint. It’s a ‘pet’, a little fuzzy something that you feed kibble to every time someone says ‘expresso’ instead of ‘espresso’, and it’s no big deal or anything, you just have this teeny, tiny, problem, it’s just one of those things.
But if it is so insignificant, why the fuck do you bother telling me about it? Are you under the impression that I’m interested in your annoyance every time I say ‘expresso’?
Actually, maybe pet peeve is the perfect name for it. People who go around ‘just letting you know, that that’s a pet peeve of mine’ are the complainer’s equivalent of people who bring their dogs with them everywhere and expect you to find it as adorable as they do. Don’t try and pass a complaint of as something cute and harmless, I’m not buying it. And I’m also never changing the way I pronounce expresso.
Rule 2. You don’t kind of have OCD and everybody knows it
This shitty way of packaging you’re complaints has the added shitty bonus of conflating a serious medical condition with your general dickishness. OCD can be extremely debilitating and in some cases deadly, so no, you’re not “a bit OCD” about the way the dishwasher is loaded. If you feel like you need to excuse your persnicketies with a self-diagnosis you arrived at biased on eight seasons of Monk, don’t, just don’t do that.
Nobody is fooled. Nobody hears your claims of being ‘a bit OCD’, and thinks to themselves ‘Oh, well that’s alright then.’ We see through your lame attempts to ascribe medical excuses to your overbearing need to control, the same way we saw through your alleged gluten allergy.
So instead of trivializing a condition that kills people, how about you just load the dishwasher yourself from now on?
Rule 3. If everyone else is wrong all the time you might not be as right as you think you are
It’s pretty simple, if everyone you meet has some great failing that you can’t wait to complain about, well, logically speaking the common denominator is you. Complaints are fun and a nice stress relief but only in small doses. When you’re in that frame of mind where all you’re talking about is faults it becomes extremely easy to find fault in everything.
So, as I have found, it’s best to take the occasional step back from the world and all its faults. Say ‘fuck it’ and listen to Let it Be. There’s no such thing as perfect, everyone is not an idiot, or the worst (I mean, most people are still the worst). Everyone stacks the dishwasher incorrectly sometimes. And it’s just so much easier to say “esspresso”.
Let it be. Let it be.