Stop to think about how much you complain in your day: the traffic is heavy, the price of gasoline has increased, you have been warned by the boss, the steak was cooked too rare, your son has not tidied up his room, the heat is too strong, the internet is slow. In short, there are countless small situations that can leave you upset and irritated.
Professor Marcello Danucalov teaches that annoyance happens when something bad has happened that should not have happened. A limit, a fair standard was transgressed; a commitment was broken. And every unpleasantness asks for or generates a complaint.
Features of the complaint that works
There are some characteristics of the complaint that make it effective and useful. A useless complaint only causes discomfort to both the one who produces it and to those around him, so we should avoid this type of complaint.
The first thing we need to identify is to whom we will direct our complaint. If we don't have a recipient, there is no way our complaint can be effective, because there is no one who can somehow repair what happened. Complaining to someone who was not responsible for the situation or who cannot do anything about it, is a waste of time and energy.
Another aspect to consider is what can (and should) be the subject of a complaint. There are events that, even if they cause us some kind of annoyance, do not deserve a complaint, because they cannot be repaired or improved. An example would be being annoyed by the heat or the cold.
Finally, it is necessary to know if there was a previous agreement about the behavior that generated the unpleasantness. If there was no agreement, there is no reason to have a complaint, because there was no commitment from the other party to act one way or another.
Effective way to complain
If the event has passed these three "screens," then we can make an effective complaint to the person responsible, reminding the other party that there was an agreement, and it was broken. Ask for an explanation of this breach and show the damage that this breach has produced in you and in the system as a whole and re-negotiate a new agreement.
For example: if your son left his room in a mess, you should call him, show him the mess, remind him that the agreement is that he has to leave his room tidy before he leaves the house, and that the mess shows that he doesn't care how hard you work to buy things, since leaving it in a mess can also cause damage to objects. Besides, it is your house and he, as your guest, must maintain the order you determine. A disorganized environment affects everyone living in the house, as the human brain is wired to always seek order, and disorder causes discomfort and stress. Thus, his negative attitude has affected both you and the entire family.
Effective complaining requires helpful apologies
Complaining that works requires an apology that is also helpful. If you realize that you have done something that has hurt someone, your first course of action is to ask for forgiveness for breaking the agreement, offering possible justifications for why you acted that way. Then you should ask what the extent of the damage was to both the offended person and the environment, and what you can do to repair it. Do what you can to repair it in the most efficient and fullest way.
One more example regarding children (to teach them to apologize effectively): If your daughter knocked over a glass of milk in her aunt's living room, it is not enough for us to ask her to apologize to her aunt (who will accept it with great affection). In addition to apologizing, she needs to get a cloth to help clean it up.
So we should avoid wasting energy complaining unnecessarily and we need to learn to apologize in an efficient way, so that, besides growing in maturity, we help to balance the environment in which we live.