You complain, I complain, all God’s children complain from time to time.

Since we live in an imperfect world full of imperfect people (including you and me) we will find things we do not like every now and then.

So I am not saying that we should never complain or express our dislike of something. It’s when we complain all the time that the problems begin to develop. In the words of comedienne Lily Tomlin: “We invented language out of our deep-seated need to complain.”

I really believe that there are those among us who will go to bed each day very unhappy if they have not complained enough during the day. These are not fun people to be around.

The funny thing about complaining is that it usually does not change behavior. Yet we keep doing it, thinking if we just do it enough something will change. Remember how well this one worked when our parents and teachers tried it on us? Since it worked so well then, we end up trying it in our relationships.

This is a great example of the saying that you are stuck when you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Complaining is also one of the sure fire ways to create distance in a relationship.

A solution

Instead of complaining, learn to make action requests. An action request is simply a request, not a demand, for some type of change in behavior. An excellent rule of thumb is to never complain without having at least one or two suggested solutions. An action request keeps the focus on you and keeps you out of the trap of complaining.

For more tips and tools for you and your relationships, visit http://www.Secretsof

Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist. E-mail him at [email protected] or, for more tips and tools for living you can visit

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