Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Splendid truths

The older I get the more I realize complaining never gets me anywhere.  It's not useful at all!  Eventually the universe finds a way to remind me to either lighten the fuck up or harden the fuck up, usually both.
The secret of being a bore... is to tell everything.  -Voltaire

I think Twitter taught me this lesson a long time ago.  There were too many people in my feed who CONSTANTLY complain.  Here and there is okay, but when it's incessant, it gets annoying.  So I vowed to stop complaining on Twitter myself UNLESS I could come up with a funny way to express it.  If you use humor, I reason, then it's totally okay.

I'm trying to do the same thing in real life.  It's not easy.

It's like we're programmed to complain. Is it a female thing? Why do we do it? Unless you actually need someone to intervene and help in some way, what good is complaining just to fish for sympathy over petty day-to-day annoyances? You kinda just sound like an asshole. In the grand scheme of things, whatever you're annoyed about is probably not that big of deal.  People got their own shit to deal with, they don't want to hear about your shit on top of that. Even Gretchin Rubin of The Happiness Project says venting might make you feel worse.

I tell myself it's okay under certain circumstances to vent frustrations, but ONLY once in a while, and ONLY to a select audience.  For me this select audience includes mom, my sister, a few of my best girl friends.  THAT'S IT.  Therapists DEFINITELY go in this category.  My Twitter followers, do NOT.  My boyfriend even, does NOT.  Probably.

Another part of this is that some people just do not respond well to complaining for the sake of complaining, probably in general, but especially the occasionally epic scale of venting bitch sessions I can duke out with some of my gal pals.  Sometimes all you really want to hear is "oh damn, that sucks." But some people, maybe men mostly, like dads and boyfriends, HATE to hear you complain.  They get frustrated that you're upset, interrupt you to clarify what the problem is, offer suggestions on how you can fix things, etc, and then it can come across as really condescending on your end even though they're just trying to help, and it can make you MORE upset, and possibly even turn into an argument about something totally different. Ugh. Sound familiar?  I know Barbara De Angelis would agree... (I just read about it in her book, Secrets about Men Every Woman Should Know. Don't judge!)

So the life lesson I'm trying to learn is: Shut your pie-hole and deal with your shit as an adult, UNLESS you come up with a funny story about it, or UNLESS you're on the phone with your mom, or UNLESS you're hanging out alone with your best girl friends and you know they're cool.

Does being an adult ever come easy?  I read a sign at a gift shop in northern Minnesota that seems to sums everything up for leading a good life:

Work Hard and Be Nice.

Those seem like some of the best words to live by, so midwestern, so simple and true. (I found out later that it's the motto of KIPP charter schools.)

Other life rants I like:
 -  Splendid Truths on Happiness Project
 - The Blind Leading The Blind series on IMBoyCrazy

1 comment:

Adam said...

It's weird, I actually view twitter as especially suited for venting. Sometimes it's nice to just get it out, but the medium is so short that it's over and done. No need to dwell on something or turn it into a rant, I can just fire it off and then move on to better things.

(I also at least try to be funny when I complain on twitter.)

Years ago I also came to a similar conclusion as you, but instead about blogging. So I stopped writing negative or whining posts there cold turkey. Sometimes I miss it, but eh. Better off without them. And I weirdly post my most personal thoughts to twitter, as if it's somehow the most private. I think because it's so ephemeral, I half figure nobody's reading, and half figure that even if they are it will be pushed off the screen quickly and forgotten about.