How to complain better

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Examples of “mature complaints” would have been illuminating, but there’s a few good nuggets, like “I statements” instead of “you statements”.

I also try to remember there’s three different voices to respond to these “daily hurts”:

  • Child voice (“Fucking copier’s broken again. #FML”)
  • Parent voice (“Did you know your copier’s broken again? It does us no good to have it down”)
  • Adult voice (“Let’s get someone in here who can fix this copier”)

Is a tarantula in the sock drawer cold fury or live fury?


This almost describes the Non-Violent Communication model (

The only thing missing is making a specific request for change. That’s an important step because many people just ask for something too general (“I want you to respect me” or “I want to make me feel desirable”). With such general requests, the person hearing it tends to ignore it or not know how to change his/her behavior. Instead, it’s better to ask for a specific change (“I would like you to stop mocking my love handles” or “can you give me a full back massage?”).

It sounds simple, but it is really tough to do in real time…


I prefer (and use) the fourth voice:

  • Passive Aggressive voice: (“Copiers down. Imma take lunch until it’s fixed”)


It’s adorable!


So cute! Really!

Well the hard part is identifying what exactly you’re frustrated about, and whether anyone else even could do anything differently to help.


Aw, that was adorable. Obviously you’ve never met my narcissist father.


PERSON: “Doctor, I can’t move my legs!”

DOCTOR: “No problem! Successful walking involves alternately moving one leg and then the other.”

I mean, to the extent that you happen to already be well balanced, you can learn to reinforce that part of you over the asshole part. But can you really change your foundations? Or can you just replace “asshole” with “smug crypto-asshole”?

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If Hot Fury is a 1, and Cold Fury is a 2, and Mature Complaining is a 3, I’m about a 2.18.


I found one big problem with this approach: In the classic fury-based approach you often alternate between fights and reconciliation once you/the other calms down. This can go on for a long time, even indefinitely.
I tried the mature complaining approach and it quickly became clear that I was the only one doing it. Fights became asymmetrical and I soon started to feel a rational, calm resentment toward the (significant) other permanently because of their unwillingness/inability to put the same amount of effort into it.

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Same here, on average. 2/3 of the time I’m a solid 2.9, but the rest of the time I’m around 0.8

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