We all know this person. It's the person that typically starts out a conversation with a negative and they do this quite often. It's the person who finds pleasure in misery. It's the person who has everything going bad for them. Life is miserable for them and they let you know about it - subtlety and not so subtlety. It's an energy depleter for sure for you and the Complainer.
What can you do to make sure you are not spending too much time in this stagnant energy? Try these mindful practices to diffuse the situation.
When someone consistently starts a conversation with a complaint ask them if something is bothering them. Try to get to the knitty-gritty of what's really going on. The Complainer often doesn't like this. They don't want to be questioned because it means looking at the problem head on.
Remember, the Complainer rarely sees her/himself as a negative - it's the world that's negative. Others are the problem. So you need to acknowledge the complaint and then validate their feeling. Don't let the person ramble on - just let them talk enough and say "I see that".
Now that they know you are listening - send a sentiment of sympathy. "That is quite unfortunate to be sure." But don't keep adding comment - just one or two sentiments will do. If it's about another person then make this person know you will not engage in further discussion and they need to discuss this with the person. Period. You don't want your energy dragged down and down and the more you engage, the more you will deplete your own energy levels.Com
Come right out and ask them - What is going well for you? This question gives you momentum to move from "whoa is me" to the Complainer needing to see what is really ok and going well for them.
Just remember that they have no intention of actually doing anything about their problem, complaining is a habit, so a simple redirect is all it takes to shift their mindset back on to something else. (Make them think of something good.) It is also important to consider that you can’t change somebody’s behavior on your own. The "Chronic Complainers" are the only ones that have that power. What you can control, however, is how you handle them over time and what you give them.