Advertisement
  1. Kids & Family

Tell Me About It: Friend's fed up with her constant complaining

Published Oct. 3, 2018

Q: I'm tearing my hair out over a friend whose life is demonstrably easier than mine in many ways, but who never stops complaining: She doesn't have enough money (her household income is 50 percent larger than mine). She doesn't have enough time (her job comes with six weeks of paid vacation; mine has three). Etc. Etc.

I've tried deflecting and saying things like, "There's never enough time!" But honestly, it's to the point where I just want to say, "You sound horrifyingly entitled and out of touch, and I don't know whether you're deliberately trying to make me feel bad, but that's the result."

Is there a middle-ground retort?

Friend

A: Why retort — or deflect — when you can talk?

Maybe your friend is fully in touch with her advantages, and is mindful of how in touch you are with her advantages, and is trying to show you that her life isn't all roses and lollipops just because she has more days off and 50 percent less terror at bill-paying time.

It's a really tough line to walk. And if you don't believe that, then please give a moment's thought to how your letter would read if your friend, instead of complaining, never stopped expressing how blessed she feels about all the time and money she has.

Where there are notable differences in circumstances, there is room for misunderstanding — and room to develop your skills at making connections. That's the argument for diversity in our communities, schools and workplaces: It challenges our comfy assumptions. If you need everyone to be similar to you economically, intellectually, ideologically, chronologically, culturally and emotionally for you to feel comfortable, then your life will either be very limited or very uncomfortable.

Now, to be fair, your friend could just be a tone-deaf complainer, also known by the shorter description: obnoxious. (Or is it boring?) If so, then, time to start seeing her less.

But it never hurts to look at your own reactions for signs that your connecting skills have atrophied. In this case, it appears you accepted your reaction -- your feelings -- as the whole story instead of getting her version from her. You see affluence, assume entitlement.

So work those skills. Challenge your assumptions by seeking her side. You can even do it just by stating yours -- for example, when she complains there's too little time: "You do have six weeks off a year, though — I envy you that." Not meanly, and not every time, just honestly. Let your perspective be her invitation to open her mind — and possibly even to change it.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Visit Artpool in St. Petersburg to find a costume and stay for their Halloween Bash on Saturday, featuring visual art, burlesque, a runway show and music. Photo by Marc Anthony Smith
    Big Halloween parties and more murals are going up around St. Petersburg, plus Post Malone, Wynonna and comedian Bill Engvall will be on local stages.
  2. Thunderstorms are expected this weekend in Tampa Bay, prompting the cancellation of several outdoor events. CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2014)
    MarineQuest and the St. Petersburg Science Festival have canceled their popular Saturday activities.
  3. Universal Studios team members walk through the Universal Monsters haunted house at a preview of Halloween Horror Nights 2019. SEBASTIAN ROJAS  |  Courtesy of Universal Orlando
    There are lots of parties this week for both kids and adults, as well as many pumpkin patches.
  4. The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at Universal Studios Florida in the spring of 2020, the theme park has announced. AP (2015)
    The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at the Orlando theme park.
  5. Alison Krauss will perform at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 20. Capitol Records
    The Clearwater Jazz Holiday returns with a strong music lineup, Zac Brown Band plays Tampa and Barry Bostwick will be here to screen ‘Rocky Horror.'
  6. For Creatures of the Night, the Halloween event being held weekends at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, there are activities for all ages includes scare zones, nighttime animal encounters and a ghoulish dance party. Courtesy of ZooTampa at Lowry Park
    As we head into Halloween season there’s lots of both scary and kid-friendly choices to get into the Halloween spirit this week.
  7. Pumpkins are on display at Gallagher's Pumpkin Patch in St. Petersburg. ANGELIQUE HERRING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    With fall upon us, roadside stands and markets are stocked with pumpkins offering family photo opportunities.
  8. Tthe beer stein holding competition is one of the most popular games to watch at Oktoberfest at Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park. The event returns for three days Oct. 11-13. Tampa Bay Times (2012)
    Tampa’s big Oktoberfest party returns, and so does Twenty One Pilots and comedians Wayne Brady and JB Smoove.
  9. Graham Kropp, 9 and his father Steve Kropp, both of Seminole, shop for Star Wars items at the Clearwater Target, 2747 Gulf To Bay Blvd, Friday, October 4, 2019 in the Disney Store section. Friday was the release of this year's Force Friday Star Wars products. Target sales associate Kat McCauley, right, offers them some Star Wars themed cup cakes.  SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    The “shop-in-shop” location is one of only 25 in the country and two in the state of Florida.
  10. Rainbow flags fly in front of St. Petersburg businesses in preparation for the 2018 Pride parade. On Saturday, a block-long rainbow flag will be unfurled during the Come Out St. Pete Parade. MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE  |  Times (2018)
    From a block-long rainbow flag in St. Petersburg to official observances, LGBTQ communities say coming out still matters.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement