How to Protect Yourself From Chronic Complainers

Written by on April 12, 2015 in Accountability, Self-Care

Chronic Complainers Have you ever noticed the physical side effects of spending time with a chronic complainer?

First, your breathing becomes shallow, then there’s the throbbing in your head … just a little at first, but it’s progressive, so given enough exposure there’s the very real risk of implosion. Meanwhile, neck and shoulder muscles tighten and bunch up until you begin taking on the profile of the infamous hunchback Quasimodo.

Okay, okay so maybe I’m dramatizing – a little – for effect. But the reality is that people who drain your energy with their never-ending dramas will leave you feeling exhausted, frustrated, discontent and unproductive.

Most chronic complainers aren’t discriminating either, they will complain about anything and everything – the bus is always late, the customers are always idiots, the driver who turned without a signal is a jerk, the doctors don’t know what they’re talking about, the cafe down the block has crummy coffee and, for my fellow authors, there’s the never-ending “Amazon’s out to destroy us!”

Anyway, you get the picture … you name it, the complainer can and will complain about it. How people become chronic complainers is not our concern today.

Today our focus is …

Protecting Yourself Against the Effects of Chronic Complainers

You are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. ~Anais Nin

Start With You

I am a firm believer in the “me first” approach to problem solving; meaning we begin by looking at whether or not we may have (unintentionally) contributed to the issue. For example, how have you handled chronic complainers and emotionally draining people in the past? Do you constantly feel the need to jump in and help? Are you trying to fill some of your own needs, or avoiding your own problems, by attempting to fill the needs of others?

Evaluating your own habits may open your eyes to how chronic people see you as easy prey for their energy sucking fulfillment. Learning how to recognize and to change these habits can be enlightening, and the most effective way to reduce the effects of energy draining people in your life.

Don’t Take it Personally

Chronic complainers spread their negative messages to everyone they interact with, but if you’ve shown particular empathy to their dramas in the past, they may well treat you to a special extended performance. Please remember, what they say and do is a projection of their own reality and attitude – it doesn’t have to become your reality – unless you let it.

Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining. ~Teddy Roosevelt

Focus on Solutions

Because chronic complainers often use their dramas as a way to get attention, it can be challenging to tell the difference between “the sky is falling!” water-cooler gossip and when there may actually be a problem that needs attention. When this is the case, the best thing you can do is to disrupt the flow of negativity by asking this simple question, “What would you like to do about it?”

People I’ve either managed or coached over the years learned two valuable lessons early on in our relationship. If you hear about a problem or issue that genuinely troubles you, take the time to do your homework and find out the facts rather than passing on gossip. And secondly, I do not tolerate “drop and run” tactics … I will give 110% of my attention and support, but be prepared to learn, grow and work with me to find the solution.

Live by Example

No doubt about it … when it feels like you are surrounded by negativity, it can quickly wear on your nerves. That’s why one of the best things you can do to keep your healthy positive attitude alive and well is to intentionally surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends and business colleagues who you are proud to know, people you admire, people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it.

Get Serious About Personal Boundaries

There are times when each of us has taken a turn feeling like a “victim” of life’s cruel jokes, but here we’re talking about chronic behavior. Trying to get someone in perpetual victim mode to see the good things in life is a no-win game and will exhaust you.

Of course, even energy sucking people can have moments when they are a joy to be around. When this is the case, the best you can do is learn to tactfully remove yourself from their presence when they default into complainer mode.

Let Go and Move on When You Must

As tempting as it can be to simply ignore complainers, you do so at the risk of your own emotional and physical well-being. Studies have shown that just the act of thinking a negative thought can adversely impact your immune system by inhibiting the good disease-fighting cells to proliferate. The build-up of negative thoughts inevitably leads to stress, which has been clearly documented to have a direct link to the state of your health.

It isn’t easy to remain positive when negativity surrounds you, but remember that while you may not always have control over every person you come in contact with, you do have full control over your attitude and how you choose to live your life.

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.


Thank you for sharing!

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  1. Matt says:

    So this is what I’ve been dealing with for so long. I have a friend just like this, all he ever does is complain how terrible his life is, how everyone hates him and he has no friends, how his parents are out to get him. The man is over 30 years old, and I’m only 25! I shouldn’t be having to deal with this! I felt bad for the guy, but it’s gotten to be way too rediculous! And when I try to distance myself he gets even more moody with me, as if I was his lover or something and I should be taking responsibility to listen to him, because apparently I’m his only friend. Hmm, I wonder why that is? I tried to tell him if he’d talk about more lighter positive subjects rather than just negative all the time, more people would want to talk to him, but it doesn’t work, at all. And what’s worse, he tries to call me all the time, even today, I was trying to spend time with my brother at the movies, and he gets all jealous and whiney about that I’m not talking to him. Ugh… Sorry, just these people, they really are hard to deal with and do a number on you.

    • That’s too bad Matt, but you need to understand that no advice you offer your friend is going to change him. He’s getting something from it, and until the pain of continuing the negative behavior becomes greater than the pain of changing he’s going to keep it up. As for you, you have two choices. 1) Accept your friend the way he is knowing that it’s unlikely he will change, or 2) gently bless him right out of your life. This is a classic boundary issue and I know that most people struggle with letting relationships go, but it can be done with kindness. Would he lay a guilt trip on you – more than likely – but you can learn to deflect that as well. As a matter of fact, this whole subject is included in an upcoming course I’ll be offering here so if you’re interested you might like to check back in a couple of weeks.

  2. Deb says:

    I just found your site because I was looking for help on a friend who is a chronic complainer. And by chronic, I mean probably 10 years of complaining about the same issue with her job. So that’s 10 year’s of me hearing about her specific problem that never improves, never changes, and she’s always the victim. This is not a young person either (we’re in our 50’s). It’s gotten so bad one of our friends called her out – “You’ve been saying that for years!”. I’ve tried to be a good listener, offered tips, but anymore I spend hours and days dreading talking to her. Like you said, it sucks the energy and joy out of MY life!

    I think she gets enjoyment of some kind out of being a victim and plus, she LOVES hearing herself talk. I think over-talkers and chronic complainers usually are the same people.

    Anyway, this is a great article, the comments and your replies are exactly what I need to hear. Nothing I’ve said or will say will help this friend and for the sake of my nerves and my positivity, I need to distance myself from this friend. It will be hard, as we work at the same place (but different departments) but for years I’ve been telling myself I’m going to “break up” with her and something’s held me back – not wanting to hurt her feelings, I guess. But what about me? Now it’s my time to set boundaries, my time to move on. Thanks for saying what I needed to hear!

    • Welcome Deb! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with me and especially for letting me know that my article provided some encouragement for you! Sounds like this is an important turning point for you and I wish you all the best. 🙂

  3. Mary B. says:

    How do you deal with a chronic complainer who is an otherwise cherished family member? In my case, it is my sister. I respect and love her, but wonder if she feels the same about me. Yes, she is distinctly self-centered and has had her share of pain, i.e., losing her husband at 31 and raising two fabulous children. She is quite elderly now and lives alone. She repeats, in the same verbiage, the same things during our mostly daily phone conversations. She is fond of saying that she has been taking care of herself since she was 8–which is probably true, as our parents neglected all four of their children, except the favorite child (the middle sister). I sometimes feel her treatment of me is just a continuum of how our parents treated me. She did learn the lesson well. I cannot close her out of my life, although she would just go onto someone else. I am always drained, dizzy, and depressed after her rants.
    Thanks for reading this. Any advice is welcome.

    • Well, it depends on what you mean by “deal” with a chronic complainer Mary. If you mean change them, you might as well forget it. Most complainers do not see themselves as being negative, and you are right when you say she would just redirect her complaining. Chronic complainers just want sympathy from whoever will listen to them – most don’t want advice, or to be fixed. As annoying as it is to you, your sister experiences a certain comfort in repeating her stories, so that means your only real option is to learn to manage your own response. I would recommend being sympathetic but redirect the conversation as soon as you can and if at all possible try to avoid talking with her when you are feeling particularly tired or stressed because our emotions have a tendency to take over during those times. Dealing with a chronic complainer is draining under the best of circumstances, but when it’s a close relative it’s especially challenging so I wish you all the best!

  4. Janine says:

    Aargh! I have one of these in my life. I didn’t really understand when we first became friends – just thought she was going through a hard time. But that was 5 years ago. Much has happened and changed but nothing is ever easy, nothing is ever good enough.
    I’m at the stage where I am trying to fade out of her life as the effect it has on me is terrible. I always end up feeling irritable and depressed.
    If I try to show the good side of what’s going on in her life she will exaggerate the bad to the point where I’m pretty sure she’s lying!! New job – good job but oh so hard, workin till 10 o’clock at night, no time to even go to the toilet.
    But it wasn’t that kind of job! I know that’s not true
    Sometimes I hear her say things she’s done that are guaranteed to make an easy thing hard or a good thing turn bad.
    I don’t get it!!
    She is actually a pretty nice person in many wYs, but this aspect has worn me out. It guarantees that the conversation will revolve around her complaining and me listening.
    I kind of think now that’s what it’s all about – attention.
    It actually finally came to a head recently. I’ve tried hinting etc but I need some serious space.
    That’s her problem but I think I and maybe others here have another separate problem!
    I have always been appreciated for my listening and understanding skills. Sometimes I think that’s all I have to offer, that’s why people like me! There’s something wrong with that way of thinking too!!!
    I have to change! It’s all become clear lately. Being the listening ear to all is like eating whatever is put in front of you, rotten or not.
    Enough! I’m going to be more choosy about the company I keep from now on

  5. Pamela Chollet

    I absolutely agree with you Marquita we don’t even realize how many negative messages hit our ears every day. You’re right the negativity builds up throughout the day and we’re like one big know by the time our head hits the pillow. And it’s not just co-workers, the media is a major source of toxic input. I used to watch a lot of talk panel news shows with people yelling and arguing about political issues. I found myself getting caught up in their negative energy. Now I stay away from all media that is confrontational or mean-spirited.
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…PERSONALITY QUIZ: Are you Anxious or Relaxed?My Profile

    • Oh my you brought up a great subject Pamela. I don’t know how people can watch those shows!I enjoy a good debate but personally when people start yelling and getting in each others faces I want nothing to do with it. I think that’s just one reason I’ve become such a fan of the Daily Show because they not only dig in and come up with the truth but they put they effectively put the blowhards in their places. Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  6. andleeb

    While working, everyday we come across, so many people who always complain about different things. But having sitting with them and listening is such harmful that you have mentioned in first paragraph of Let Go and Move on When You Must, left me in a shock.

    At times, it makes me sick, why such people are not happy with anything around. Why they make their and other’s life so complicated by complaining all the time.

    They can not be happy and they do not want others to be happy, so dump their negativity all around them all the time.
    All the tips are very nice and next time, I will always try to act upon your advice to be on safe side.

    Thank you for a great share.
    andleeb recently posted…Rainbow : #Childhood Memories.My Profile

  7. Meredith

    I love this reply: “What would you like to do about it?” I’m totally using that one next time I get sucked in to a complainer’s rant. And I just may be asking myself that same question a few times… 🙂
    Meredith recently posted…You Can Make a Difference with Give Her LifeMy Profile

  8. Marquita — chronic complainers will eventually drive people out of their lives. A friend was going through a difficult divorce. She began to drink too much and did nothing but complain and blame everything on her soon-to-be-ex husband. It got to the point, where most of us couldn’t take it anymore. She became so bitter and self-aborbed. Chronic complainers are self-centered and don’t give you a reason to want to be with them.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Why Won’t the Banks Accept My Money!My Profile

  9. Hi Marquita,
    Good article! I am married to a chronic complainer. He gets up in the morning with negative thoughts and it continues. I see him as a good teacher how not to be. I have grown used to it and unfortunately “What would you like to do about it?” does not work with him. 🙂 I have to say, he was not always like this and is getting worse with age. It takes a lot of energy sometimes, but I keep my happiness and this keeps me. 🙂

    • Well I’m glad you liked the article Erika although I’m sorry to hear that your husband is a chronic complainer, that must really suck the energy out of you at times. Sounds like you’ve at least found a way to tolerate it. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to the conversation.

    • Laura says:

      Oh….we could talk!
      Complain in the morning, first thing. No matter what I make for a meal, either the meat is not good or somethings missing or I made too much or I did not make enough. If I make dessert, he doesn’t need that sugar. If I don’t I am asked what is for dessert? Arrrrgh!

      • Wow, I can certainly feel your frustration Laura! I fully appreciate that what I’m about to say is easier said that done, but the thing with chronic complainers is you’ll never be able to change them no matter how much effort you put into pleasing them. There is plenty of research confirming that it is possible for someone to change their own behavior, but it has to be their idea and it takes a lot more effort than most people are willing to make. And the reality is many chronic complainers honestly see nothing wrong with their behavior. That leaves you with one option, work on your responses to that behavior, which also takes a fair amount of work but what you have going for you is the desire to change your circumstances. It is the one way you have of improving the situation, reducing stress and creating some peace of mind for yourself.

    • DorothyLee says:

      My guy is the same way. And like the man your speaking of he used to be very full of positive energy and was a magnet for me. Now I just want to not be around him. Everything is negative in his views I feel. And he rarely hears me or what I am doing or saying anymore. His self talk is more dramatic and …well whatever to him. I find the not hearing me combined with the negativity is a frustrating thing. I miss the positive ‘him’. Seriously I mourn that person. This person is a stranger whom I feel uncomfortable around

      • I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you’re experiencing as a result of this phase your husband is going through. It may be temporary, but it may not. Either way, you need to try and find a way to focus on your own wants and needs because there is no point in both of you being unhappy.

      • Mary says:

        It’s nice to know I’m not alone…On top of hubby changing…2 grown step daughters are the same…and most of their children are following along…They just LOVE all of the drama shows…Springer, Cops, etc…etc…I am a complete 180 from them….I am going through radiation right now, and I could use some positivity, but all I hear is BS …Very self centered and negative….very controlling…nothing ever good enough….actually scary at times…So…I pray alot, try to get in some relaxing time…and try to ignore it….And yes…the older he gets, the worse it gets…..Hope things get better for all of you…<3

  10. Arleen

    I have to say this article was fantastic. I really liked “What would you like to do about it?” Being around complainers is such negative toxic energy. It is like the person who causes the accident and moves on and can’t understand why all the people behind them piled up. Complainers relieve their stress and they feel better why we sit there stewing.
    Arleen recently posted…What is Short-term, Long-term and Brand Memory?My Profile

  11. Jeri

    Hands down, my mom is a constant complainer. She complains about everything! Nor does she go online, so I think I’m safe divulging this. Yet, I’ve never just asked what she wants to do about it. Which is strange be I used that tactic all the time as a teacher when students would whine about everything under the rainbow.
    Jeri recently posted…#AuthorChat: Margaret Atwood “Expression and the Power of Words”My Profile

  12. Donna Merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    Great advice! Chronic complainers can tear the energy right out of you. They can even cause physical pain. I did have to learn how to create boundaries a long time ago with this type of personality.

    I understood that they needed a audience, and made up my mind I wasn’t going to be part of that.

    I like the suggestion of starting with I. It works like a charm. “I am busy now can I get back to you? ” Also my favorite is “I’m sensitive to energy and when it is of a negative nature I do get a pain in my tummy, so I cannot have this conversation”

    In both cases I can push them away for a later time because they will have complained to everyone and be worn out by the time I get back to them. In the other example I just want the out of my life.

    Once you give in, they will relentlessly come back for more.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Early Mover AdvantageMy Profile

  13. William Rusho

    I wonder about people who complain all the time. Is their life that bad they cannot say anything good about anything or anyone? I like your suggestion about avoiding them, but I work with some, hard to avoid them at work. All you can do is ignore ir.

    • No question that working with a chronic complainer can be tough William, but unless the person is your boss you still have the option of speaking up. You may not be able to change them, but you can establish boundaries and not allow them to dump their complaints on you. In fact even if the person is your boss you have a choice – just depends on how much you like your job. 🙂

  14. I think we all complain sometimes! I mean, my blog could be considered a place to vent my frustrations with what I perceive to be injustices:) But I do try to infuse it with a big dose of humor because I often find stupid to be funny. But I do like to be there for friends who have problems and not too mnay folks to talk to. In turn, I need that sometimes too. I guess the key would be to NOT let it get to the chronic stage on either end! You’ve provided some really useful solutions for that, including the very pertinent “boundaries.”
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Government… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • You are of course correct Jacqueline, but there is a significant difference between ‘sometimes’ and ‘chronic’ which is what we’re talking about here. And as far as being supportive of friends, right again, but there is this little habit called ‘enabling’ and that’s definitely not a healthy behavior no matter how much we try to justify it. We each have to establish – and live with – the behaviors and treatment that we will tolerate in life. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful insights!

  15. Tim

    The person you describe in the opening paragraph is me. I close off, become withdrawn and silent. It’s not difficult to know when I am not enjoying someones company; fortunately it doesn’t happen often. I will take your tips to heart though and see if I can’t do better.
    Tim recently posted…ApartheidMy Profile

    • Glad you found the article useful Tim, and if it’s any comfort I shared that description from personal experience because I too tend to pull back in situations like that. Thanks for taking the time to share!

  16. Erica says:

    I had a friend who was a real complainer. In a way, I never really noticed. I was just used to it. Then I got married and my husband couldn’t stand her. We bumped into her once on the street and she went into a 10 minute tirade on how horrible her life was which made him really uncomfortable. In retrospect I realized that I had encouraged her by always trying to be sympathetic. I learned from your post that maybe that wasn’t the best way to go.
    Erica recently posted…Food Sensitivities and Inflammation: A Toxic Combination for Weight LossMy Profile

    • It’s so easy to fall into the habit of enabling the bad habits of others Erica, and even tougher to accept that sometimes confronting their unacceptable behavior or letting them go is the kindest gift we can give them as well as ourselves. Thanks for taking the time to share – always appreciated.

  17. Dave

    You know, I was thinking about myself and how I can make my life better and more productive by removing the chronic complaining types from my circle. And for some reason, the final section led me in a slightly different direction.

    When you put yourself in contact with complainers, whether intentional or not, it affects your mental well-being and becomes more difficult to keep that negative attitude and complaining out of your own life. And when you do that, it affects those people around YOU. Like your family – and children. Now, that was an eye-opening revelation.

    I tend to independently ignore when these conversations or topics come up for “discussion”, but I suppose that there is a more active approach I can take that will help everyone involved. I like your suggestions Marty, and I will be attempting to use some of them – very soon, thanks 😉
    Dave recently posted…Extra pointMy Profile

    • Glad you found some good stuff in the article Dave. Just as each of us are different, there is no one sure way to handle relationships other than to establish healthy boundaries and be aware of our feelings and priorities. As I mentioned in the piece, there may well be someone in our life who’s a chronic complainer but the relationship is too valuable to end. That’s okay as long as we make these decisions with intention and do what we need to in order to nurture ourselves in the process. Thanks for taking the time to share, always value your thoughtful insights!

  18. Beth Niebuhr

    I start to tense up even thinking about the complainers. They certainly can ruin our moods and our healthy feeling if we allow them to. I have deliberately moved away from people who refuse to even try to improve the situations that they complain about. It is very freeing to not associate with them anymore if they are not willing to work on making things better.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Why Women Don’t BuyMy Profile

    • I can appreciate your feelings on this Beth because I too have had to move on from harmful relationships. It’s never easy, but I do believe at times it is necessary for our own well-being. Thanks for contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  19. Sabrina Q.

    This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I will definitely be sharing this one with my clients.
    Sabrina Q. recently posted…Organizing Raised Bed GardenMy Profile

  20. Lenie

    Hi Marquita, your post really hit home. I have a friend who is a chronic complainer and I let her complain because I find her home life the pits and feels she needs me to vent to. It does get to me at times but what I do is schedule my time with her so I don’t need to do it to often. I would never be able to turn her away and stop spending time with her because she really is a very good person.
    Lenie recently posted…GMO – A Follow-UpMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the article Lenie. It sounds to me like you’ve got a -good handle on making the most of your relationship with your friend and being there for her at the same time. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  21. Donna Janke

    My daughter and I have been having discussions over the past month about the impact of negative people on us, so it was particularly interesting to read this article. It can be surprising to realize how the impact translates into physical symptoms. Good advice on how to deal with it.
    Donna Janke recently posted…San Antonio Riverwalk and The AlamoMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you found the article helpful Donna, and you are so right that about the surprising affects negativity can have on us. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, always appreciated!

  22. Mark

    Wow Marquita!

    First of all, that is quite a list of symptoms, brought on simply by associating with life’s chronic complainers!

    And the really odd thing is, that as I read your laundry list of potential negative side effects, I never knew my chronic complaining could cause some much potential misery!LOL!

    I mean, I’ve bee told or more than one occasion that their minor throbbing is officially a full blown migraine, as a direct result of one of episodes!LOL!

    But this definitely sounds like if we don’t somehow cut these people off at the pass and or nip things in the bud asap!

    We could really be in for some major health issues! I’m for cutting them of asap!

    Because like the title of the movie says: “I can do bad all by myself!”LOL!

    Thanks so much for sharing this excellent advice M!

    I really had no idea, there could be some legitimate medical reasons for not associating with those types!LOL!
    Mark recently posted…So How Does Understanding Credit Life Insurance Prevent Wasteful Spending On Mass Advertising?My Profile

    • Scary but all too true Mark. Of course it’s never easy to simply cut someone out of our life, and we can always try to work around the situation especially if it’s a good friend or family member, but when it gets to the point where you become aware of the symptoms I described it’s really important to take care of yourself first. I went through this a few years ago with a friend of 20+ years who had become so negative I could barely stand to be around her. I tried talking with her several times, but she had become quite comfortable with the role as victim in her life so I eventually had to bless her on her way out out of mine.

      • Crystal says:

        How did you handle your friend? I have best friend I have known for 16 years. She is a chronic complainer. And it’s getting worst every year, about to have a serious talk with her and tell her, go get help, or I am outta here. Because I am truly burned out by her.

        I only hang out with her every once month, some times every 3 months. I seriously think there is something seriously wrong with her. Sometimes it feels I am dealing with someone who has split personalities. She is 32, she still not over her issues from Jr. High. Her new issues that have been going on for 5, 6, 7 years is with her boss.

        If you try to help her, she acts as if she doesn’t have an issue and looks at me as if I gone crazy. Or changes it and says it’s not an issue. For example:

        She will complain about her boss about not paying her, treating his employees bad. I told her, “if you don’t like how he does things, just quit. I told you if doesn’t pay you, you have right to sue him.” Then all suddenly she’ll say. “He is a great boss.” Leaving me to think “what the hell? You just said….”

        She like that with all her issues, constantly conerdicting herself. One moment the issue is like this, next it’s like that.

        It’s gotten to point I don’t believe anything she says. Which is sad, because if she really needed help, I wouldn’t believe her. I am beginning to think she likes to cry wolf, she likes the drama. She has really negative outlook on life.

        It’s gotten to point if you try to help her, she doesn’t want your advice , she wants you to sit there, and shut up. Because you make comments she acts like 5 year old with tissy fit.

        My dad says just don’t talk to her, you don’t have to tell her you don’t want to be her friend anymore. My das says this because it would end badly. I am too the point where if she jumped off bridge I wouldn’t care. Our relationship is very one-sided.

        I try to understand her, why she feels the need to dump all her BS on me. She knows I speak my mind, and I tell her how it is.

        • Welcome Crystal! I’m sorry about the situation with your friend, but what you need to keep in mind is the one thing all true chronic complainers have in common and that is denial about their ‘habit.’ No matter how well-intentioned, nothing you say to her will help her until she is ready to listen – and she may never be ready. She is getting something from her chronic complaining and having parked herself in perpetual victim mode. For most complainers this means sympathy and freedom from having to take responsibility for whatever they perceive to be wrong with their life.

          If you’re set on ending the friendship then I tend to agree with your father as far as how to handle the situation. There really is no need for you to make a declaration because 1) she will take that as proof positive about how awful her life is and will likely use that to dump a load of guilt on you and complain even more, and 2) she won’t listen to you anyway. People grow apart, pick up new interests and move on, that’s just life. If you are only seeing her every few months now anyway then phasing the relationship out shouldn’t be that difficult. The bigger issue is making peace with yourself about your decision, because you clearly haven’t yet. Until you accept your ability and right to put yourself first by ending a dysfunctional friendship you’re going to continue to suffer.

          I hope this helps a little, and wish you all the best and hope to hear from you again. 🙂

          • Crystal says:

            Thank you for your advice, gives me something to think about. Just another question. I am one who decided to spend less time from her. I use to hung out everyday with her. If I just stop talking to her out of blue. And she’s has the feeling to hang out, I say to her. “Too busy.” And she keeps doing asking me, then do I have to be straight with her and tell her why? There comes a point where ” I am too busy doesn’t work anymore and you have to be the bad guy.

            From my point of view if someone doesn’t know you secretly broke up with them, then they think you’re still friends.

            I am her ONLY friend, (which is problem onto itself), best friend has no life. I still think it would be better to take her to restuant, have calm chit-chat and tell her firmly with tact why it isn’t working, I’ll let her whine, tell me I’m the bad guy, cry, because I’ll just get up and leave. Once, I put my foot down, I put it down. I am type of person that disown their family members if I feel it is necessary and I have no regrets doing it.. I have dealt with drug addicts.

            I had to give my best friend ultimatume when she began starving herself when her mother kept telling her she was too fat all the time. Yeah, she thought I was the bad guy, but I stuck to my guns, and she came to deision she had eating issue, and got help.

            Thank you again for advice.

          • Good points Crystal and it does make a difference that she’s continued to actively pursue the friendship, you certainly don’t want to have to keep avoiding her or making excuses. Confrontations are never fun but under the circumstances not only will you feel better, it may serve as a wake-up call for your soon-to-be ex-friend. Good communication and compassion may lead to reconciliation or it may lead to a confirmation of why you no longer desire to continue the friendship, but either way you’ll be able to achieve closer on a difficult situation. Good luck!

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