Why Do People Complain? (Try To Avoid These 9 Reasons)


A group of people who are complaining.

It is easy to complain, everyone does it. It might be small and unimportant, but chances are you complain about something daily. But why exactly do people complain?

People complain for a number of different reasons, but some of the more common ones are outlined below:

  • they are pessimistic
  • reduces expectations of them
  • takes responsibility off of them
  • easier than putting in the effort
  • excuses for failure or lack of achievement
  • venting their frustrations
  • good conversation starter
  • don’t know how to work hard
  • it is a bad habit

We review these nine common reasons on why people complain in more detail throughout the rest of this article.

1. People Complain Because They Are Pessimistic

Some people are just pessimistic. The glass is always half-empty, instead of half-full. Based on the previous scenarios and experiences they have encountered, they expect everything to fail.

Nothing is ever good enough, and they believe everyone is out to get them. They might have had a few bad bounces in the past with various scenarios in life, and now everything moving forward is complaint worthy.

Constant complaints and pessimism can be quite draining to anyone, especially an optimistic person.

If you are working hard to chase your dreams and achieve your goals, chances are you won’t be spending much time with these individuals.

2. People Complain Because It Helps To Reduce Expectations

When tasked with something of importance, some people complain to reduce their own expectations or those of others, of what the final product will look like before putting in a real effort.

In a work environment, individuals may complain that the deadline is too close, or the budget is too small for the job. By complaining, they reduce expectations that they will be able to complete the task successfully as intended.

As a result, when they do end up finishing the job, expectations have been lowered, so they aren’t judged as hard on their shortfalls. Instead, they are congratulated on their efforts despite a short deadline and small budget.

Another example in a college setting could be a student complaining that a professor made the exam too difficult for the material that was taught. By complaining, the student reduces their expectations and those of others, of getting a good grade on the exam.

As a result, they have a reason to push the blame onto someone else if they were to receive a poor grade. However, the real reason is they received a poor grade was because of their lack of effort to study and prepare for the exam.

3. People Complain Because It Takes Responsibility Off Of Them

In team environments, you’ll find a lot of people who aren’t real team players, complain about other team members to shift the focus off of them. They might be insecure about their performance in the team environment, and instead of owning up to the mistakes they made, they push the blame onto someone else.

Regardless of whether it is a team environment or not, complaining is a popular method that individuals use to take the responsibility off them.

4. People Complain Because It Is An Easier Alternative Than Putting In The Effort

Achieving anything of value in life takes a considerable amount of time and effort. At some point, you are required to put the work in so you can accomplish your goals. However, putting the work in is by no means an easy task.

It is no surprise that the most successful people in the world are few and far between. Successful people stand within a small crowd because they were able to dig deep during the tough times and go the extra mile that others would not. They put in the effort and work that others weren’t willing to.

For many people, it is easier to complain. Complain about the lack of results, complain about the sacrifices they have made, complain about the unfair advantage others have, complain about anything they can think of instead of putting in the effort.

If only they were to realize that if they spent their time working instead of complaining, they would be much closer to achieving their goals.

5. People Complain Because It Creates Excuses For Failure Or Lack Of Achievement

It is quite common for individuals to create excuses when they have failed, or if they have struggled to reach the level of achievement that they intended to.

For many people, it is easier for them to look for reasons or excuses on why they weren’t successful than being able to admit that they are to blame for the shortfalls.

Do you ever hear successful individuals complain? No, you don’t, because they don’t make excuses for their failures. They recognize they fell short on what they were trying to accomplish and it is only them who can change the outcome next time around.

6. People Complain Because They Need To Vent Their Frustrations

Maybe one of the most common forms of complaining is venting. People vent because they have been bottling up emotions over a situation for an extended period.

At some point, they need to let those emotions out and get it off their chest so they can move on.

It could be about the horrible day they had at work, the unrealistic demands of their boss, the unfair timelines for college or university assignments, or the lack of support they are receiving from their spouse.

Most individuals only vent to those that they feel close to and comfortable with. Therefore, it is no doubt that you typically only hear your spouse, partner, family member, or close friends vent to you.

They feel comfortable enough to share those emotions with you, complain about their situation, and maybe even ask for advice.

While it is important to be there for those that you feel closest to, it isn’t always the best feeling when someone is venting to you. Especially when it is a recurring and ongoing theme.

7. People Complain Because It Is A Good Conversation Starter

As crazy as it sounds, complaining is a good conversation starter. Especially with someone that you don’t know very well, but recognize that you have common ground with a specific complaint.

Humans can naturally bond over similar activities or interests. These interests can be things that they enjoy such as an interest in running, or hobbies, or tv shows, or a favorite sports team.

Alternatively, the activities and interests that individuals bond over can also be about frustrations or things they don’t enjoy such as their boss, specific parts of their job, or how their significant other annoys them.

Many people begin to complain as a way of starting a conversation. In fact, many great friendships or relationships have started by bonding over complaints.

8. People Complain Because They Don’t Know How To Work Hard

Some individuals may have been given an easier route in life, or maybe they are just a bit more privileged than some people. I’m sure someone comes to mind as you read this.

It isn’t that you are jealous of them, but everything seems to have been given to them or comes too easy.

For most people in this scenario, they come from successful and usually well-off parents. Of course, parents want to give their children everything, but like anything in life, too much of something can be a disservice.

Because the children haven’t really had to work for anything, they don’t know what it means to work hard, put in the effort, and overcome obstacles to achieve something meaningful.

Usually, it is just handed to them on a plate. When the time comes for them to work hard, they don’t have the skillset or knowhow to do so, and as a result, they complain. Unfortunately, these individuals often carry this trait with them throughout their life until they are able to overcome obstacles to achieve something significant.

Similar scenarios can be observed with individuals who are naturally smart and require little effort to excel in school. There always comes a time, usually in college or university, where their natural ability is no longer enough for them to excel as easily as they once did.

They complain because they don’t immediately understand a concept. Furthermore, they don’t have the skillset to work hard to study and learn the concept because they have never required these skills in the past.

9. People Complain Because It Is A Bad Habit

Finally, for many people, complaining is a habit. And typically, when something is a habit, you do it as if it is second nature, you might not even realize that you are doing it.

It can be tough to be around these kinds of individuals because everything has a negative spin on it. They complain about the weather, politics, friends, family, work, and even the activities they do for fun.

As mentioned above, most people don’t realize they complain as much as they do. If you spend a lot of time around someone like this, kindly let them know the impact that their constant complaints have on you.

You don’t need this negativity in your life as you are working hard at achieving your goals, and optimistic about what the future holds.


The realization that there are 86,400 seconds each day. What are you doing today, so that tomorrow you are a step closer to where you want to be? If not now, then when?

eightysixfourhundred, make them count


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James

Hi, I'm James! I want to help you make the most of your day by providing helpful tips and informative articles on motivation, time management, productivity, and happiness.

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