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Day 1 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Chronic Compla...

Day 1 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Chronic Complaining

Bad Habit #1 ~ Chronic Complaining


It took us awhile to wrap our heads around this bad habit.  At first glance it was easy to think , we’re not chronic complainers – Barbara said “I let go fairly easy” and Lee said “I’ve got other issues.”  Then we started to really explore the definition of chronic and the way we can internalize things.



The Dictionary says:  chronic |ˈkränik|adjective(of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly recurring: chronicbronchitis. Often contrasted with acute.• (of a person) having such an illness: a chronic asthmatic.• (of a problem) long-lasting and difficult to eradicate: the school suffers from chronic overcrowding.• (of a person) having a particular bad habit: a chronic liar (complainer).

A little more research on Chronic Complainers was necessary…We found  source for this particular bad habit on Psychology Today.  You can read the article here:

 Optimists seeA glass half full


Pessimists seeA glass half empty


Chronic complainers seeA glass that is slightly chipped holding water that isn’t cold enough, probably because its tap water when I asked for bottled water and wait, there’s a smudge on the rim too, which means the glass wasn’t cleaned properly and now I’ll probably end up with some kind of virus—why do these things always happen to me?!

After a review of this topic we agreed, Lee’s got other issues and I am indeed a *chronic complainer.
Lee Aldrich

Lee’s Challenge:

I’m usually a glass half full kinda gal. And the complaining I do is usually acute, not chronic. I used to be a chronic complainer years ago, but that’s just too darned hard to do day after day, and I’d rather put my energy elsewhere….like the other issues I have!



Barbara JoyBarbara’s Challenge:

O.K. Look, We’re day 1 into this challenge and I’ve already gotten more insight and a good hard look at my own self awareness than the years of therapy before it.  I was desperately trying to reframe my thoughts for the internal combustion I feel that drives me to the complaint department (which is really anybody that wants to listen).  Bad service & bad manners are enough to make me grumble.  *I don’t do it for long periods of time, but I do grumble every time it happens.  Does this make me a chronic complainer?  I’m going to say it does.  Does it make me happier releasing my turmoil out into a grumble?  No, in fact I usually amp it up a little as I’m telling the tale.  Now, granted once I’ve said my peace I let it go…even we chronic complainers don’t like being around people who can’t let go.

As it says in the Psychology Today article, we the complainers have a different mindset.  When I reach my grumbling point, my mindset has always been….”look what they’ve done to me now, Ma”!  Am I happier be airing my complaints?  No.  Why do I still do it?  To regain that feeling of validation I just lost.  I wish I had know this a hundred years ago!

Now that I know the source my grumbling is coming from I think it shall be easy to reframe my thoughts.  From here on out, my new resolution will be to shift my focus.  Focus on something very good in my life, something I don’t need validation for…  Like the song says, “Oh, no they can’t take that away from me….”

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  1. Sue Shoemaker

    3 July

    Somewhere along the line, I heard the term “recreational complainer”… 🙂

    • Barbara Coleman

      3 July

      Sue, I LOVE this term! Recreational complainer! I’m stealing it for my vocabulary…but I will always give you credit for it! Thanks for following along with us!

  2. Sue Shoemaker

    3 July

    Since I didn’t come up with this term, it is not necessary to credit me. I was a middle school guidance counselor for 25 years, and when I first heard “recreational complainer” it really “resonated” with me as an apt description of some behaviors I had witnessed for many years. Interestingly enough…it did not bring to mind student behavior. It made me think of adults I would come into contact with on a daily basis who would complain about the same things over and over and over….with no apparent interest in doing anything about them. Once I learned the term, I realized that it wasn’t necessary for me to invest any time or energy in these kinds of conversations…which lead to more happiness for me! 🙂

    • Barbara Coleman

      3 July

      Oh, Sue….I can’t tell you how valuable of lesson you just taught me! Awesome term….awesome description and it’s going to benefit me for years to come. Thank YOU!

  3. Sue Shoemaker

    3 July

    You are welcome!

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