Tips on becoming a good complainer

John Devitt

Recently when saying, “Hello, how are you” to people on the street, one is frequently met with the response, “Pretty good.  Would be better if there wasn’t all this rain.”  This statement is sharing emotion, an observation about the environment around us, and also a complaint.  The recent natural phenomenon (solar eclipse, transit of Venus across the sun, insane amounts of rain and clouds, summer solstice) seems to have collectively impacted the attitudes of many people.  Thus leading to an “Inception” level of complaining with complaints buried in complaints within complaints.

Complaints about the weather, individual landscaping choices, BC Hydro business practices, or even complaining about complainers are prolific these days.  There are some who plead to these folks and ask, “Can’t we all get along?”  Nope.  Like free speech or not, sometimes these opinions contribute to effecting positive change in our systems.  Without complaints we would never see improved customer service or a backlash against fast food and resurgence in healthy eating.

Here is a list of surefire strategies of complaining that will help promote your agenda:

  1. Make your complaint extremely personal.  Unless you personally attack a person, place or thing, your opinion will not be recognized.   You really need to punch them in the guts and assault something fundamental about their being.
  2. Speak in generalities and avoid facts.  Be sure to make broad sweeping statements to ensure you hit as many targets as possible.  If you have any information to back up your argument, omit it.  Bringing facts to a debate will only open you to being proved wrong and no one really likes that feeling.  Additionally, if you do point out facts or statistics make sure you’re not backing it up with citations or links to where you found that information.  Everyone knows that 67% of statistics are made up anyway and ‘facts’ are really only ‘theories’ anyway.
  3. Be rude and include threats.   How else is someone going to know you’re complaining unless you make comments about their hygiene, family background or sexual orientation?  Forgetting to include mention of a potentially violent reprisal should your complaint not be heeded will only ensure that your complaint is overlooked completely.
  4. Avoid empathy.  Trying to relate to someone else’s way of life or situation will only open yourself to their plight and more than likely pre-empt any complaint you may have in the first place.  Don’t even dare to ‘walk in their shoes’ because their shoes are probably stupid anyway.
  5. Include lots of spelling and grammar errors.  Nothing gets your point across better that forgetting punctuation and spelling the thing you’re complaining about wrong.  This will make sure that grammar and spelling “Nazis” are unable to refute your complaint because they are so focused on your errors, thereby ensuring a ‘win’ for you.
  6. Ignore and deny.  There is generally no gray area in anything, only black and white exists.  If you are right, which obviously you are, then the other person is wrong no matter what.  When presented with facts that weaken your original position, remember to ignore its existence, and then deny that it is even relevant in the first place.
  7. Refer to ambiguous events from long ago.  The best way to shut down new concepts or ideas is to vaguely refer to how the suggestion failed miserably long ago.  Preferably this event should have taken place before your complaint opponent arrived in Revelstoke.  The positive here is that no one will be able to verify your claim, thereby giving you another ‘win.’
  8. Ignore past events and experience.  This may seem contradictory to #7, but is a good tactic to have in your quiver.  If you don’t have a past event or situation to refer to, just act as though time and experience did not exist before your knowledge of the issue.  This can be used in conjunction with #6 to build a foolproof complaint.
  9. Argue semantics.  After all, the theory of evolution is only a ‘theory.’
  10. Keep it simple.  As established, anyone who does not share your viewpoint is obviously wrong and should be cast out from society for this blunder.  Always end your complaint with a denial of your opponent’s personal rights and freedoms.