After the November Presidential election, there was an abundance of whining, the likes of which I don’t remember in my lifetime. While there are always disappointments with the results of any competition, including elections, people generally accept the outcome and move on. That’s not the case here… or not yet anyway…
According to Guy Winch Ph.D., “…complaining, venting and whining have different effects on our psychology and emotions”. In general, complaints are seen as having a legitimate basis and tend to be episodic. An individual or group will take a position, state the reasons behind the belief and then suggest alternatives for change. This type of interaction can be educational and transformative in nature. Whining (according to the Oxford Dictionaries), on the other hand, is “complaining in a feeble and petulant way”. It is ongoing in nature and it sounds like an annoying broken record. The result is that it is very off-putting and simply not the way to appeal to others. It doesn’t build empathy, compassion or support for your case.
So whether it’s the election results, your relationships, your job or anything else that’s important to you, think about how best to state your position to generate your desired outcome. In his book, , which was written in 1936 and is considered one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published, the author, Dale Carnegie, talked about building sustainable relationships and influencing others. Here are the twelve ways he believed would help win people over to your way of thinking:
- Avoid arguments.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions.
- If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin (your conversation) in a friendly way.
- Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- Let the other person feel the idea (or solution) is his or hers.
- Try to see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Appeal to nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Offer a challenge.
In the end, remember, you can win people over to your perspectives by looking for shared experiences, by becoming a better listener, and by focusing on other people’s points of view. In that way you become a trusted and respected friend, relative or employee. You can’t accomplish those goals through whining. So stop whining and start winning. You can do it!