How to Diffuse a Whiner

Who doesn’t know at least one whiner? They can be found at work, at home and in pretty much every part of the world. When I talk about a “whiner,” I’m talking about someone who consistently complains, hardly ever takes action, rarely or never takes responsibility for their complaints, has no solutions and stands out by emphasizing victimhood, i.e. total helplessness. One of their favorite words is “but,” usually accompanied by long diatribes about nothing being their fault and the world being a completely unfair place that is out to get them.

First of all, let me explain that arguing won’t do any good. Nor does reasoning, or even evidence. What one has to remember is that this truly is their reality! They believe their own stories, no matter how crazy it sounds to another. You can present such a person with black and white evidence, and they will look you straight in the eye, still claiming that they are not to blame/weren’t at fault. So here are a few ways to diffuse complainers:

1. At Work

The number one rule is to never ever feed the stories of a whiner. It isn’t compassion they’re looking for, but an opinion poll. The more people agree and feel sorry for them, the more the story becomes validated as truth, hence perpetuating the cycle. Here’s what one of my managers once taught me. If you come to me with a complaint, you must have a solution for the problem. You get to vent, but only a few times. When the “complaining” becomes a pattern, you are no longer allowed to keep complaining, unless you have thought of a way to solve the issue!

2. Social Networking or Other Public Forums

OK, are you ready for this? Because this is a really long piece of advice. Here it goes: IGNORE! Whiners thrive on attention, and are so deeply stuck in denial that they do need others to validate their stories, which, deep down inside, some of them suspect are BS. Don’t feed the craziness, or it will not only keep going, but might actually get worse.

3. In Your Personal Life

It depends on how attached you are to the person. My advice would be to distance yourself from whiners, because they tend to make the lives of others miserable. My overall advice is generally to distance oneself from self-destructive people, because they have a way to keep taking you down with them. And even if they don’t, they usually don’t contribute to your life, because it’s always about them, and because they’re always in a miserable place that varies from total depression to anger to complete indifference.

What makes whiners annoying for most people – well, at least those who care about others a lot – is the fact that there is no solution! You can give advice, counsel, listen, empathize, feel sorry or attempt to help, and it will all go into the same black hole of nothingness. At work, one can hold people accountable based on stats and metrics, and no matter how much they fight it or whine, at the end of the day they will have to comply. But in any other setting, this is impossible to do. Thus, these people are a huge time and emotional suck that leaves you feeling frustrated and drained.

I know that sometimes it may sound as if I’m quick to “discard” people, but actually this is not the case. This is why I know so much about the various topics I choose to write about. I have spent literally years of attempting to rescue and reason with people in various stages of denial, and have never succeeded!

We only live once! Your time is valuable, and so are you as a person. Why would you waste precious time on individuals who cannot accept your gift for what it is, but greedily keep taking without giving back? Why would you think that your attempts to change the person or to “help” them are even remotely successful, when time after time they repeat the same behaviors, complain about the same stuff and never “get it?” And why would you expect that they will actually be able to give anything back, if they’re not taking responsibility for anything else in their life, and keep complaining to you? You have to remember that a person who doesn’t respect themselves, and is incapable of doing the right thing for their own sake, is even less likely to do the same for another! In the business world, they’re called “cutters,” because they undermine and sabotage the work environment.

Sometimes we tend to think “they would never do x, y, z to me!” I’m here to tell you, oh yes, they will! (Unless you see them coming and respond accordingly.) Invest time, space, emotions and your advice in those who really need it and deserve it. As for the whiners, just say NO!

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11 thoughts on “How to Diffuse a Whiner

  1. Ruth

    Thanks, I’m dealing with a consistent whiner, she hates the easement she has across our property and constantly vandalize it daily. This has helped me figure I can’t do anything thing about it but IGNORE, I hate that they should have the right to live beside us, she moved into the neighborhood, I’ve been here for 7 years more then her and her screwed up family, however, I run into people that feel sorry for her because she lives beside us. Thanks for letting us know we just need to deal with the stupid people of the world.

  2. Carmen Hexe


    My advice is to not feed into the stories of victimhood. You can choose to either not respond at all, or say something like “I don’t wish to talk about this.” I won’t work to call her out on it, because she won’t own up to it and will only cause stress. So the only option one has is to not engage.

  3. Dennis Roberts

    Hi this Vivian Roberts here and I would like to say thank you for the up lifting messages on this as Iam in a lot of turmoil at the moment and reading your messages sometimes makes me think and also see things more clearly and it has given me the courage to keep on believing in myself , and keep going so thank you and God bless yours truly Vivian

  4. abigailx9570

    Oh dear Carmen you are a gem in so many ways…..when I was a department head and yes I said that… I had an open door policy in place with one rule. When you walked into my office with issues, problems and concerns you must bring possible solutions as how to fix it. I did not allow dump trucks of problems to be dumped in my office with no accountability from my managers. We worked as a team and kept a balance. Relationships are no different. It’s hard with family members and I have even let a few of my own go with love. Does not mean I don’t love them I choose a different lifestyle and behavior. Choose happy its so much more fun 🙂

    Many Blessings


  5. Tiffany Boulton

    What advice can you give for close family members like your mother? I think growing up with her has made me a magnet to others that are Whiners husband and friends and I put up with it and now that everyone is gone I still have my mother who I don’t want to stop talking to and being there for her.

  6. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    HI Carmen,

    Well you know I’m one of your biggest fans… reading your articles, and yes, you described the way that ” whiners ” behave perfectly.

    Do I allow people with those traits to be around me in my personal life?…..NO…..I do not believe in enabling.
    But I do have professional training to help those types to change negative patterns…..and work with these types quite often.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

  7. Jacqueline

    Hi Carmen,
    Fantastic article, sometimes with friends that we are involved with, it can become a little bit off balance, when you have a relationship where everything becomes about them time and time again, perhaps its time to re-evaluate whether or not the friendship is a healthy one, sometimes it’s best just to pull back, let it go….

    Blessings and Big Hugs!
    Jacqueline x9472

  8. Carmen Hexe

    Actually Gina Rose, I am talking about non-psychics or mental health professionals. I would say that the average person does not have the tools to help a self-destructive, negative, victim/martyr narcissist type. And this is what I am writing about. My blogs are meant for the average person, and as such a person, I have wasted years of my time, love, money and resources to attempt rescuing those who required professional help, and almost destroyed me in the process.

  9. misskrystal

    I really enjoyed this helpful article. Thanks, Carmen for breaking it down so well. This is very good to keep and print. Miss Krystal

  10. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Well… job is helping to build people up and to empower them…..changing negative behavior patterns can be difficult and challenging, to say the least, but it can be done.

    I know this because I read for the top Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Therapists in the country who sometimes refer their patients and clients to me. It’s been my experience that when people, most but not all, get sick and tired of being ” sick and tired ” of their situation and circumstance in life , they reach a point where they will finally take the steps needed to invoke change.

    Yes, these people can be very draining to deal with and read for, especially those with addictive or compulsive behavior…..but I have many years of experience, as a professional psychic, working with this type of behavior pattern.

    Empowering folks to take control of their lives and destiny is just part of what I do, and it gives me great satisfaction. It’s worth the effort, for me anyway, to watch people slowly change and take back their power and control over their life.

    NOW…having said that…..I stay away from these types in my personal life… I put SO MUCH energy into the professional side of my life ,and into my readings, helping people.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

  11. velvetoversteel

    Perfect description of this type of person, Carmen! The “consistently complainers, hardly ever take action, rarely or never takes responsibility for their complaints, has no solutions and stands out by emphasizing victimhood, i.e. total helplessness.” Yes, we know and can now spot them from a distance, from our experiences with them!

    I too, for many many years, tried to help, rescue, save… these people. Those who seem to latch onto caregiver personalities like ours. I finally found and set my boundaries. Because they drain the life right out of you. If they see the truth, take responsibilities for their own choices and actions, and most Want to change… then I will be there for them to the end of time! Otherwise, I keep my distance from them now… I have to because they will drain the life right out of you if you let them.

    Another Great article, Carmen!!!
    Blessings & Many Hugs to you,
    Coreen @ Velvet Over Steel


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