The Difference Between Legitimate Complaints and Whining

Today, I’d like to help you further along these lines by exploring the difference between legitimate complaints and whining. The focus of our positivity series is about turning the habit of complaining into contentment, which probably seems like a big task. And I think there’s an agreement that there are times in which complaining can be necessary. So how can you ensure your issue is voiced in a way that is productive rather than whiny?

Legitimate Complaint

A legitimate complaint is acknowledging the cause of your discontent and determine if your complaint is a productive one, with a solution, or if it’s merely venting your frustration. A legitimate complaint avoids being overly critical. It also doesn’t concern things that are out of your control. This is something we discussed in yesterday’s post. Complaining about something you can’t change is a toxic habit. When you bring up a complaint that is valid and productive, you’re demonstrating a great deal about your own character. This will be appreciated by others.


Whining, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. It is an opportunity for venting or getting something off your chest, but it doesn’t have a productive end. It can be annoying to others, aggravated even more so by a particular rise in the pitch and tone of your voice. You know what I’m talking about. No one likes a whiner. Whining involves issues that are trivial or that cannot be changed. Therefore, doing so really serves no good purpose.

Ending the Habit

Breaking the habit of whining can be difficult. I’d like to offer just a few helpful tips here for you to think about and practice on your own. Over the next few days, try to catch yourself when you complain. Later, make a note of the complaint, its cause, how you felt and whether it was resolved. Seeing a pattern and knowing the triggers of your complaints can help you to recognize and lessen them. The second part of this is to move forward with the intention of making only legitimate complaints. You now know how to form these statements in a way that is productive and that doesn’t put others on the defensive.

There is a significant difference between complaining and whining. The two approaches offer vastly opposing results in your life. With practice and attention, you’ll find it easier to break the whining habit in favor of airing a complaint that gets results.

About the author

Petra Monaco is an artist, author, and professional problem solver for creatives, rebels, and multi-passionates.

She is here to help you remove frustration from your life and achieve your creative dreams with more ease and confidence.

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