When I feel strong emotions, I wonder why. Recently, I’ve started analyzing why complainers annoy me so much. I think there are several reasons, but let’s do a bit of level-setting first.
According to a very in-depth Wikipedia article, “Empathy is distinct from sympathy, pity, and emotional contagion. Sympathy or empathic concern is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Pity is feeling that another is in trouble and in need of help as they cannot fix their problems themselves, often described as “feeling sorry” for someone. Emotional contagion is when a person (especially an infant or a member of a mob) imitatively “catches” the emotions that others are showing without necessarily recognizing this is happening.”
5 reasons why complainers annoy me:
- Complaining without taking action to resolve the issue assumes a lack of responsibility and helplessness, which bothers me. I’ve found that people who see themselves as helpless victims find excuses to do horrible things. That state of mind increases anger and reduces personal accountability for their actions.
- Emotional manipulators often use complaining as a way to grab attention and emotional connection. It also enables them to take more than give since they have positioned themselves in the ‘needing’ role. A naturally occurring balance is removed from interactions with them.
- Constant complaining is toxic to those around you. It sparks a form of emotional contagion. For a person like myself who is empathetic and geared towards helping, complainers are a drain on my energy.
- The helplessness that is insinuated in constant complaining causes me to think less of the person, and eventually pity them. I do not like to feel pity for anyone. Not even myself. I empathize, and in my empathy, I seek to understand and help. Pity does not often lead to action because it’s such a distasteful emotion that people instinctively seek to distance themselves from the source.
- Finally, I agree with Nietzsche in that “Pity stands opposed to the tonic emotions which heighten our vitality: it has a depressing effect. We are deprived of strength when we feel pity. That loss of strength which suffering as such inflicts on life is still further increased and multiplied by pity. Pity makes suffering contagious.”
What are your thoughts on pity and complaining?