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My Life...Complaining or Bragging?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The last thing I want to do is irritate people with my constant complaining and negative attitude. I've been told my entire life that I have a defeatist attitude even when I felt particularly positive. I'm not sure why this is or if I come across as complaining even when I don't think I am. I guess I'm just not sure what I'm supposed to say and what I am not. I try to live by the the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" motto but then I get accused of keeping my feelings bottled up and not talking about stuff. So which is it? Are you supposed to talk about your problems or not. If you talk about them are you complaining or are you venting? I'm just not quite sure.

I've always felt that if I discuss my problems with my friends or family then I must be complaining. When I've had people in the past that I'm talking to a lot then they just stop talking to me I can't help but wonder what I did or said to turn them away. My life is like a soap opera and there aren't many good things that are going on for me right now. I live with my parents, my two oldest children do not respect me, I don't have any friends I can hang out with, I have no money, no job, more debt than I can count, etc, etc. Yeah I sound like the majority of the US (according to the news and commercials anyway). Hmm my husband left me for my ex best friend (maid of honor at our wedding), our divorce didn't go through so I'm stuck with him, I don't get any child support, and I can't have a serious relationship with anyone because I'm still technically married. Okay, okay now I'm complaining but do you see how if someone asks me about my life it may come off sounding like I'm complaining? Those are however the facts.

Okay so let's look at the other side. I have a family who cares enough to take care of me, I have a roof over my head, food, clothes (most don't fit but I'm not naked LOL), a car, a cell phone, computer, TV and more stuff than I know what to do with. I can pay all my current bill each month and have enough for gas and the occasional trip to McDonald's with the kids. My children are healthy and for the most part pretty happy. They're intelligent which they got from my side of the family. I have a degree and graduated with honors with a 3.94. I can keep looking at the bright side but then I sound like I'm bragging.

So which is it? If someone asks you how you're doing do you tell them the truth or do you sugar coat it? Is it a mixture well life sucks but it has it's good points? What is the truth? The truth is I have good and bad in my life but when someone asks what part of my life am I supposed to tell about? Yes maybe I should just say I'm fine or good but is that really the truth? I heard once that people ask you how you're doing just as a politically correct nicety but in reality no one really cares and never really listens to the answer. But is that only true for the cashier at the supermarket or the random stranger you pass on the track or does it apply to everyone even your family and friends? Is that simple question because the person really cares or wants to know or is it more because they want you to ask so they can tell someone about how terrible their life is?

Sorry I guess I was just feeling philosophical today. Perhaps I'll start a new blog theme for random thought provoking questions. Or perhaps I just think it's an interesting question and no one else really does. Hmm.....
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It's definitely an interesting dilema/question. I have heard the the vast majority of the time in the US when a person says "How's it going?" They mean "Hi", whereas in Germany if you are asked "How's it going?" they mean "How's it going?" and expect an honest answer.

    Personally I think it depend on the person as to whether or not they will think you are bragging or complaining. I am usually really reserved until I know what type of person you are because of this. Nothing you have mentioned above seems like either bragging or complaining. But who knows what the next person that reads it will think. It is slightly or not!?

    Generally if I ask how you are doing I hope to get an honest answer, just as if you ask me how I am doing and I am feeling crappy I will tell ya:)

    Good luck!!!!
    3005 days ago
    I agree with celerybear. We all need a release. You aren't complaining or bragging, you're just being you. No point in pretending that your life is perfect when you are struggling or need someone to lend an ear. My ear's always here.

    3005 days ago
    You tell them that you're going thru a rough patch (like everyone else) but you can see the light and you are heading for it full charge ahead.

    That's the truth right?
    3005 days ago
    I'll tell you what one of my friends told me when I apologized for complaining about my situation. She said that I have a right to complain with the way everything has gone in my life and the only time she or anyone of my friends would get sick of hearing it is if I wasn't trying to make everything better. So the day you give up on yourself is the day you have to quit complaining. Up till then its a release and need to lean on someone and we all have those times.

    Like me, you're lucky and fortunate in a lot of ways, but life still did take a very unexpected and hard to deal with turn. I know that calling up one of my friends when something goes wrong makes it feel so much better. So there should be no shame in utilizing those who care about us.

    p.s. you can always feel free to complain to me.
    3005 days ago
    Good blog...I think about this as well. My life isn't what everything thinks it is either. I sugar coat when people ask because I don't want to sound like I'm either complaining or want their sympathy. Things aren't good for us right now, but I'm so upbeat and happy that it's easy to hide. I'm getting to the point where I want to go see my counselor again. Anyway, I think you should say you're fine mostly. But make sure to have that 1 person that will hear you out without running away. I have a lot of friends that I say "we're so good", and quickly change the topic. But there's this 1 friend that I can complain to because she complains too:-). It works out...we have each other.
    3005 days ago
    Life is a mixture of the goods and the bads. If someone is your friend, then they really do want to know the good and the bad.
    3005 days ago
    this was a very interesting blog...and i totally see where you are coming from...i think it kinda depends on who is asking you (stranger,old friend,new friend, family,doctor) i think depending on the relationship and history...kinda depends how much you divulge or what you divulge...I think also what you say depends on that person history...does that make sense? hmmm
    3005 days ago
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