For the Ladies: Stop Complaining

Ladies, I love you, I adore you and God made you more beautiful than the roof of Sistine Chapel. In addition to that, some of you have genuine reasons to complain, after all, a lot of the time, men are well (no offence fellas) useless really. Just selfish users who don’t bring much to your life. HOWEVER, for the love of all that is peaceful and pure: please stop complaining so much.

Diary mad black woman

Aah Stories from Puppy Love

I remember when I was a wee tyke I once met this girl and we began talking on the phone. Now at the time I had the smoothness and the subtlety of a wrecking ball so I barreled along until eventually she rejected me with, “You are so immature.” I was a teenager, so…….anyway……Years later, I began to reflect on what we talked about whenever we were on the phone and it went a little something like this:

Cue the Narcissism

I love chocolate. One time I was walking and eating some caramel, with some nuts and mint, Cadbury oh-my-goodness-it-was-just-melting-in-my-mouth-chocolate and this boy came to talk to me. I told him psssshhhh, I don’t talk to boys when I’m eating chocolate.

One time I was talking to my friend and this boy interrupted us to talk to me and I was like (three guesses) pssshhh, you can’t interrupt me when I am talking to my friends.

Angry African woman

And Then These Delightful Creatures Grow Up to Become Women

Just to be clear, I did not make the above dialogue up. Now that I am older, I realized that a lot of the conversations I have with women are opportunities for women to complain:

You will never guess the stressful day I had, the people at work/ the lecturers did/this tramp did……..(30 minute complaint session)

X person is such a (insert expletive here), they did………..(30 minute monologue).

You will never believe the (expletive) that tried to hit on me today, he actually tried (latest technique that playas and pick up artists are trying), the loser he…..(30 minute soliloquy)

It’s Just Me!

I don’t know if I am alone on this one, but I honestly don’t want to take 30 minutes to learn what you don’t like about the world and it’s current state. Instead I would love to take those 30 minutes and:

a) Find out what you like. What turns you on about this life so I can give you more of it.

b) What you like that I like: We will definitely do more and have more of that.

c) Solving your problems. You know what happens when you have a problem?A solution

Angry African girl Bamboozled African man

But That’s How Women Are…..

I know that a lot of you are saying…….

But that’s how women are. We work through our problems by ranting and raving about them, meditating on them and having a cry about them. We start the venting on you, not for your benefit, but for ours because we know once the vent is over, whether or not a solution has been reached, we will feel better.”

Here’s Where I am Coming From

Well that’s fair enough. I know there will be those times when you just need a friend/lover/brother/cousin/basically a man to just listen to you and try to understand and empathize with where you are coming from.

Please understand, there will be days when it will be too much and your unleashing of stress will have the melodic timbre of nails being drawn across a chalk board. At times, empathize with me and I will empathize with you.

Happy couple

Understand that:

  1. I never burden you with a problem unless I am thinking through the solution with you at the same time.

  2. I exist and do my best to make you the happiest and best person I think you can be.

So understand that many a time I will look at it as nothing but needless whining that can be solved. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love you. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the fact that you trust me enough to share your inner most turmoil. I’m just sharing some of my turmoil with you.

As a Great Western Poet Once Said say xoxoxo,

Let’s make love and not complain today,

Mwangi

NB: To see the levels of exasperation that this can lead to -from someone who is a much better listener than I (and is a woman) please check out Shiroh’s post on people who ask for advice but don’t act on it.

No Comments

  • By gal africana, March 31, 2008 @ 5:59 am

    It could be me…but a tad patronizing are we? I know I’m playing right into your hands here but its too much fun not to.
    Let me be the FIRST (and possibly the only loony) woman to complain (lol) about your post. Did you say “NEEDLESS WHINING”?! (and please read that out in a shrill, extremely high decibel voice)….THAT is sooooo wrong on soooo many levels. And c’mon, the conversation piece you allude to in the beginning of the post is from your teens?
    You do realize that your post is a complaint…(I’m letting that sink in)….about women complaining?
    “Venting on you”?…I think you mean communicating/conversing/telling…if your view is that the woman is using you as a vent then your response will reflect this…instead if you are open and receptive you can actually steer the conversation to the lovely things you want to hear about without making the “complaining woman” feel that she has not been heard.
    You wrote a post about how women should treat men some time back…I believe someone (not me…I’m too “200% complaining woman” to be subjective haha) needs to write a “how men should treat women” and cover the issue of “the art of listening”
    I believe in the comments section of the above mentioned post you say and I quote “We (men) might complain or moan about y’all…” A case of the pot doth calleth the ketttle black?
    I could be wrong…but I’m LOL

  • By Mwangi, March 31, 2008 @ 6:02 am

    “A post complaining about women complaining”….the irony and oxymoronic (it’s a word :P ) nature of my life has just come to me…..hmmmm. I do think a lot of women overdo it with the complaints though, making them the centerpiece of every single conversation. Though after reading your comment, I think any moral high horse I might have been on has been shot and had it’s tail used as a fly whisk.

  • By gal africana, March 31, 2008 @ 6:02 am

    and of course I mean “objective” not subjective….

  • By Mwangi, March 31, 2008 @ 6:07 am

    btw if you wanna do a response post, please please do, I love me some debates :D

  • By gal africana, March 31, 2008 @ 6:54 am

    I’m not sure I dare do a response post…its too easy for me to get on “the horse” too and I’m NO expert on women nor men…but I do know that I “feel” that most men could do with expending more energy actually listening to what a woman is saying and RESPONDING to it (you cant respond if you dont listen) instead of thinking it’s “needless whining” …and then steering the conversation towards something positive…try it and see what happens.

  • By Caustic Blonde, March 31, 2008 @ 10:15 am

    I have to chew on this article a bit. I complain a lot (about men and everything else) in my blog, but I rarely do this in real life as I am a very quiet person. I know that most people who know me would be surprised if they read my blog (and knew it was me). I think it is good when someone complains (whether it be in a blog, letter or speaking)because you get what is frustrating you out in the open rather than holding it in.

    I have dated and have some male friends who like to talk incessantly about themselves and NEVER listen to anyone else . There is one friend I have (GOD knows I love him, I have to to put up with him) that will talk and talk and talk about himself. He never really listens to me or anyone else when we speak. He never remembers anything you tell him and will ask you the same question time and time again because he did not listen to your answer in the first place. He is frustrating at times, but you learn to live with it. Everyone says that men don’t like to talk/complain, so I am wondering where are these elusive men ? Because I never seem to run across one.

    gal africana has a point, someone should write an article on “the art of listening” concerning men, I am sure there is a lot to be said about it.

  • By Kelly, March 31, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

    When I was reading this post, I was actually laughing aloud (totally ignoring the fact that I’m in the office). You’re almost on point on that one. We women talk way toooo much about things that don’t matter. The thing is, if we knew guys minded so much, we would try tone it down ( I sure hope thats possible), but how many guys have the candor to tell us that our complaining is like ” the melodic timbre of nails being drawn across a chalk board”? Most of them just learn the art of switching off while I complain (or what I like to think is sharing my life with him). That one is even better, how I hate the man who tries to find solutions to all my ramblings. I don’t want solutions, if I haven’t asked for help!!! Just want you to listen. I join my gals in saying that men should not only learn the art of listening, they should learn the art of communication, speak out, whether in bed, in the kitchen, about my weight etc. Just speak out!

  • By Mwangi, March 31, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

    @caustic:I definitely agree about having somewhere to vent and express any negative energy that is built inside. Repression is one of the quickest ways to hugely disproportionate outbursts including rage blackouts and the like. Is that an offer I hear for a response post…………….

  • By Mwangi, March 31, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

    @kelly: He he he then you would not like coming to me to complain. As soon as you open your mouth, I am looking for the best way to solve your problem and even begin offering things that I can do to solve the problem, it’s just a tendency of mine I have developed though one day I will try this “listening until someone feels they have been heard completely” and see how it works out.
    I heard once the way you can know that a relationship is on its way down is first they fight, then the man begins to stonewall (close off to the woman completely even when she tries to open up) and then eventually they stop talking to each other and become room-mates. So I definitely agree about the need for honesty, especially when it can be used to make the lives of both the partners in the relationship better.

  • By Caustic Blonde, April 3, 2008 @ 7:40 am

    I once read that a man chooses a woman because he feels he must help her. I laughed and thought, “yeah right.” But recently I have changed my view and I think there is some merit to that claim. Maybe we complain too much about our problems to men and they feel they need to solve them?

  • By majonzi, April 3, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

    wow— where was I? I don’t know how I missed this lively debate. Hmmm… I am sorry, this is not going to be a positive response. And no, I am not complaining. I am afraid I don’t like generalizations. Many times, women’s actions are negatively described. Now, there is negative people, both men and women, who will complain about everything. I am an observer, and I will tell you that even jamaas “complain” about whatever it is– their favorite team, player, etc not doing well. something wrong at work, getting pulled over by a racist cop– they complain… and most of us do coz its natural.

    Now if as a man your partner does something that you do not like, what do you do? What do women “complain” about in relationships?

    Yes, there was a time when a man was with a woman to save her… still happens. But times are a changing. When access to resources increases for both of us, there is no arguing that we both bring a lot to the table.

  • By Mwangi, April 3, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

    @caustic: I didn’t believe that statement myself when I first saw it. But when you begin to see life through that lens of a woman wanting a man to do stuff for her and a man wanting to provide what the woman needs to be happy, a lot of things oddly enough make sense.
    I think in the day to day a lot of women take pride in knowing they have a man who will take care of whatever they need-even though it’s changing a light bulb or correcting her social faux pas- and a lot of men take pride in knowing that they are the reason the woman they love smiles.

  • By Mwangi, April 3, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

    @majonzi: I was thinking about this the other day and whereas I don’t believe it 100% I definitely think it merits investigation: perhaps that’s one of the reasons that so many Africans, African Americans and people from poor social economic backgrounds completely abandon their children because they feel inadequate to handle the responsibility.
    I think material equality and how it makes a lot of men redundant is having quite an adverse effect on a lot of men that the Western male bashing worlds of media and academia haven’t investigated enough.

  • By Sunnykay9, April 6, 2008 @ 8:43 am

    Hey Mwangi,This one I do not agree. Firstly, I believe that when it comes to trumpeting their life stories, men win. How many people have gotten their ear talked off by a guy over his state of affairs.
    Women do not air their issues because they need advice, true true!
    Rather, we need to connect on the issues that affect us the most.The way we do it differs, but many can attest that once they are aired, they are done talking, just let that first time pass and then most of us are satisfied with talking about it.

  • By Mwangi, April 6, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

    @Sunny: Personally in my experience, women always come to make a particular complaint or problem the centerpiece of conversation. I have met quite a few men who make complaining an art form but I guess I just haven’t hung around a lot. I have just realized, I need to find me some women who don’t complain all the time…………

  • By Nightal, April 25, 2008 @ 10:24 am

    :) Hey Mwangi! I’ve only just started reading your blog, but it’s pretty exciting to find somebody with such a fresh perspective on the country I was born in!

    I am fascinated by this post. As a girl, I have been accused of complaining too much, but unlike a lot of the girls here, I appreciated being told about it by a man who was willing to speak up and tell me.

    We are no longer together, but i recognised he had a point. In some ways, he was a lot less vocal about his disappointments with the world than I was, so it annoyed the hell outta him when I did as you described – and came home from work venting about the world. Every time I complained, it grated on him, and he eventually started contradicted what I was saying, almost telling me I was being too negative. It actually ended up having a counteractive effect. Sometimes, I just wanted him to say he agreed with my point of view, as often I thought he had the same beliefs anyway. The more he tried contradicting me, the more vigorously I found myself complaining about things.

    I was sometimes upset by my job, but more often, it was about important things that actually didn’t affect me, like the way people were being treated in another country or the social disadvantage caused by Australian political policy, it didn’t help. Even though I feel a little vindicated because these weren’t just frivolous things like minor comments made about the size of my ass, it probably didn’t help that my ’solution provider’ couldn’t really do anything about the state of the world. There’s no easy way to fix THAT stuff! It probably ended up making him feel a whole lot more helpless, which I recognised too late.

    It took a few disagreements about this for me to realise, I probably just needed somebody who would listen to me and react in a different way.

    I am seeing somebody who complains about things like that and agrees with my point of view more often now. I think sometimes, it’s about finding somebody who has viewpoints more aligned with your own, but I totally agree that the 30 minute tirade as soon as you get home doesn’t do much for a relationship, and – as I realise I have this particular weakness, I am considering your advice very carefully.

    I think your post framed your point of view very carefully, and I loved the way you wrote it. It isn’t as nasty as many could make it. You are most eloquent gentleman!

  • By Mwangi, April 25, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

    @Nightal: You know there are times when a comment is so perfect in and of itself that I really don’t know what to say but thank you. This is one of those times. Thanks for bringing a fresh perspective and experience to this discussion.
    As for the kind words, thank you, I hope to see you commenting on my other posts, even the less eloquent ones ;)

  • By Thomas, July 16, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

    @gal africana

    you said “if you are open and receptive you can actually steer the conversation to the lovely things you want to hear about without making the “complaining woman” feel that she has not been heard.”

    This is a great piece of advice that has made many a conversation more enjoyable for me and as far as I can tell the women I was talking to.

  • By Mwangi, July 16, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

    @Thomas: Care to share some tips on how you did that?

  • By Thomas Johnson, July 17, 2008 @ 10:16 am

    @mwangi

    Often when someone is having a “rant” about things I have a tendency to just glaze over and not really listen. From my observations a lot of other males also have this tendency. What I’ve found works well sometimes is to really listen and ask relevant questions that bring the “rant” to a higher level. Questions like why do you think people behave in that way? It can turn things into more of a philosophical discussion rather than just a series of complaints.

    I should add I’m far from being an expert on the topic. This is just something I’ve tried and found it can work quite well.

  • By Mwangi, July 18, 2008 @ 4:21 am

    @Thomas Johnson: Definitely a hypothesis worth testing that is. It makes the rants more interesting to me if I can participate in them and find out more about what underlies them.

  • By Annabel Candy, August 5, 2009 @ 8:46 am

    I know plenty of men who complain and whinge a lot too. But I agree, everyone needs to stop complaining and start doing something that makes them feel better:)

    I just found your site and love the name, the concept and your writing. I’m a displaced Brit but my hubby is a displaced African, from Kenya, he’s white though:) We both love Africa and hope to go there again with our kids some day. I worked in Zimbabwe for a year and we traveled lots, Africa is definitely a special place, we miss it.

    Anyway, you and I are both now Aussie bloggers trying to improve people’s lives. I’m in the Sunshine Coast, QLD. I wonder where in Australia you are and if you’d like to do a link exchange?

    All the best and keep up the great work.

  • By Mwangi, August 6, 2009 @ 8:59 pm

    @Annabel: Thanks for the kind words. I think over time we discover that more often than not our inclination isn’t towards what makes us happy and healthy over the long term and so to be positive folk ( whatever that means nowadays) takes work………..

    When it comes to Google traffic, my limited SEO knowledge tells me its usually better when the link is one way as opposed to an exchange and in fact Google tends to lend less credibility to an exchange ( I guess because they are used to them now)

  • By Annabel Candy, August 7, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

    Yes, it does take work to be positive and look on the bright side of life. Constant reminders and being surrounded by happy, smiley people with a good attitude help. Re the links, I wasn’t thinking about increasing my google ranking, just providing a link to your site as I think it may interest and be useful to my readers, and hoping you might feel the same way about my site:) I’d love to hear your and your readers comments on my latest post: Lessons From An African Witchdoctor. Good luck with all your plans!

  • By Mwangi, August 10, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

    @Annabel: I have added you to my recommended resources page. Unfortunately at present I probably won’t have time to go through the article however I hope people reading these comments read the article and derive benefits from it.

    Cheers

  • By Annabel Candy, August 11, 2009 @ 9:20 am

    Thanks for adding my site to your resources page, it’s an honor! I will reciprocate and revisit here to read your news as I’ve subscribed to the feed. Good luck with all your plans! Annabel

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