How Do You Respond To Constant Complainers? by John Cali and Spirit

Do not listen to those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious. ~ Og Mandino

SadFaceImage Copyright © 2013 Karen Mulholland

Most of us know at least one someone who is constantly complaining. Maybe that someone is you. I was like that when I was younger. And I still catch myself at it now and then. But the difference now is I almost immediately see what I’m doing—and stop it.

This past week I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject. Who knows why?

But I’ve gotten some new insights into people who complain a lot. I’m not talking about those who occasionally vent their feelings. We all do that. I’m talking about those who seem to get a perverse pleasure in finding all the things “wrong” with their lives, themselves, other people, their jobs, their bodies, the government, and so on. Nothing is off-limits for them.

You probably can think of at least a few folks that.

While it can be tempting to commiserate with folks like that, it’s counterproductive. You’re just supporting them in their negativity. And, worse, you’re taking that negative energy into your own being. Not a good thing!

With the complainers in my life, I’ve found it does absolutely no good to remind them they are in charge of their own lives. If they happen to be spiritually aware, it also does no good to remind them of the Law of Attraction. You know, that you-create-your-own-reality stuff.

If anything, that just pisses them off. So what do you do?

The most effective technique I’ve found is to ask a simple question: “What would like to see happen here?” (“Here” can be whatever their problem is—a relationship, illness, finances, and so on.)

That will often catch them off-guard. But it also reminds them they are not victims of whatever they’re complaining about. And it reminds them there are more positive and effective ways of dealing with the situation.

P.S. On a personal, unrelated, note, I want to thank those of you who’ve asked about my son. As I’d mentioned in 2 earlier posts (here and here), he’s been working in Ukraine the past few years. Today his assignment there has ended, and he’s on his way home. So thank you all again for your concern and kindness.


In this short video Abraham, through Esther Hicks, gives us a spiritual perspective on complaining.

 Related links:
Technology Hell

11 Reasons You May Not Be As Happy As You Want To Be


Are you a chronic complainer? Or do you know someone who is? How do you handle those situations? Please share your thoughts and comments with us below.


What other subjects would you like us to talk about in these posts? Please email me.

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About John Cali

John Cali is a writer, blogger, and channel for a group of spirit guides. His next book is Conversations With Spirit: Real Answers to Life’s Pesky Questions, Book 1. John lives in northwestern Wyoming.Sign up for his newsletter here.

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20 Responses

  1. Ron

    After being introduced to the law of attraction material I set out to verify if it actually worked. One of the lines I used on complaining friends was
    ” How would it feel if the situation reversed itself? ” and then I would fill in the blanks with the most unlikely scenarios I could imagine.
    In one case which sticks to my mind I transported in imagination a lady who had just been dumped by her boyfriend by asking her about 20 minutes of questions as to what her ideal mate would be like. Even though it was just a simple conversation and not a conversion every experiment I made manifested down to every detail which had been mentioned. A shiny new red car popped out of nowhere within 12 hours complete with all the mentioned accessories, upholstery, transmission, you name it. Another received a phone call apologizing and asking this friend to pop down to the office for a check within two hours. The prince charming took a little longer because he came from Eastern Europe within two months and their family life eventually also manifested from the goats in the farmyard (also manifested) to the six children and a multitude of other details we had talked about, his hair color, his height, his handsomeness, and so on.
    I and they were actually emotionally detached since it was just experiments for me and they didn’t have a clue that anything was going on. After all
    I was just the tractor driver, the truck driver and a friend. However the amazing results convinced me. I must say that this was easier since I was not in any negative position.

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Ron, for sharing all that with us. This stuff really does work! 🙂

  2. Sarah d

    Hiya John,
    So thrilled to hear that your son is on his way home!! That’s marvellous news! Must feel great for you all!

    I enjoyed the article and the video. I must admit I can fall into the poor me trap sometimes til I remember I am in control.

    I know quite a few complainers and they seem to fall into different categories. There’s the ‘poor me’ type, who always seems to be a victim. There’s those who are never happy with things and nothing’s ever good enough. These types externalise their complaining. Then there are those who take complaining to the extreme, affecting the lives of others in the process.

    To me, all of these people must be hurting somewhere inside and however unpleasant their behaviour may seem, they still deserve some compassion. As you say, that does not mean we have to be dragged into the negativity. With those who are suffering it does no harm to listen with some empathy so long as we can offer some positivity along the way.

    As for the other complainers I tend to just switch off and let them go their own way. If something they are saying offends me then I will gently speak up, not in an unpleasant way.

    I mostly feel sad that they are obviously unhappy.

    Blessings to you, John. And delight on the safety of your son and family.

    • John Cali

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks very much. It is a big relief to have him back home, at least for a while.

      I think many of us can fall into the trap of complaining now and then. But if we’re paying attention, we catch ourselves at it and put a stop to it right there. I agree with you — all these folks deserve compassion and understanding from us. And we all have the ability to inject something positive into the situation.

      Blessings to you also, Sarah. And thanks again for your kind words about my son.

  3. Micki

    Hi John,
    As you know I am a full time carer for a Army Veteran, and he certainly has had a lot to get over in the past years of what has happened to him, but in saying that, you are right, it doesn’t help by reminding them of the positive things in their life, I too, have learnt to say “what or how would you go about, or fix whatever it is’ and it certainly gives him a new tact to think about and take the onus of himself and whatever he is complaining about. Life is what you make it, and I love life and all its challenges. Wishing you and yours love and joy always. So happy to hear your Son is on his way home 🙂

    • John Cali

      Hi Micki,

      Yes, I do know that. You’ve told me of the challenges you have with him. I’m sure it can sometimes be difficult, for you and him. But he is certainly blessed to have such a wise, loving caretaker as you. God bless you both!

      Wishing you love and joy too, Micki!


  4. Toni

    I’m so glad your son is on his way home, John. xo

  5. JoEllen

    I am constantly complaining and ruminating. I’m always depressed about one thing or another, and, while it’s easy to say I’ll only focus on the joy, it’s incredibly difficult for me to actually do. Congratulations on the homecoming of your son.

  6. Susan

    Thank you, John, for all your wonderful posts that open minds and more importantly, hearts! Am truly grateful within this one to see the news about your son…

    Love and blessings, as always..

  7. Margaret

    I think sometimes it’s too easy to fall into the habit of complaining, like an old vinyl record that gets stuck in a groove and we just need a wee shove, a wake-up call to get us back on track. When I fall into that mode I really don’t like to hear myself but I am grateful that I have mental tools and awareness to pull myself out of it. Also I am finding others assist me……a subtle turning away that acts as an alert when I see it or sometimes someone has the courage to say something to quash the complaint.
    I was truly grateful for a comment my optician made when I complained about the cost of a frame repair. She said very quietly, ‘You know I have just had a client in recently for whom nothing could be done to save their eyesight and how grateful they would be if all it took was some money!’ I was able to pay the bill feeling genuinely grateful.

    I think it behooves us sometimes to speak out as my optician did so spontaneously. It was non judgmental….just saying what she felt.
    “A few truths tenderly told”…

    Love to all


    • John Cali

      Thanks so much, Margaret, for sharing.

      The story of your optician is truly touching. If we would all speak our truth spontaneously and non-judgementally, what a different world this would be.

    • JoEllen

      Why would you need an optician at all if all you have to do to be healthy is to focus on perfect health? I guess this question is really aimed at John. I’m new at this and still trying to understand everything.

      • John Cali

        This is a bit off-topic, JoEllen. But I’ll allow it this one time. You may get some responses from our readers.

      • Margaret

        Hi JoEllen,
        You make a valid point here which has been very thought provoking for me so thanks for that. I too am fairly new to many of these ideas but love Louise Hay’s affirmation that she uses at the end of every chapter in her book, ‘You Can Heal Your Life’……which goes, “In the infinity of Life, where I am, all is perfect, whole and complete”…’s a great thought to contemplate even though, for now at least, I still have to wear glasses to see what I am writing here! Lol

        Much love
        Margaret x

        • Barbara

          That’s a great book, Margaret.
          Barbara x

  8. Jeanne White

    I don’t know anybody like that. I probably walked away from anyone when they first started complaining. I don’t really remember. I cured my husband of it by a combination of ignoring it and telling him to cut it out.

    I think I would react to most people by telling them to put a sock in it. I am in rare form today, aren’t I?

    One of my favorites comebacks for people who go on about how they are going about doing something (losing weight, coping with difficult people) and are not open to suggestions is to let them go on and on, then look at them and say sincerely, “And how is that working out for you?” At that point, they often realize that it’s not. If you give them suggestions, they will just find reasons they couldn’t possibly do that and go back to complaining about whatever.

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Jeanne. That’s a great response — “And how is that working out for you?” 🙂

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