I know, I know didn’t I just finish talking about how much I hate when grown folks whine? And now here I am saying I don’t like it when other people do the same thing, only that’s not precisely what I am doing but I can see where somebody not learned in the subtleties of whining and complaining could have trouble seeing the difference.
The distinction lies in whining vs. merely complaining, venting or offering an anecdote of a bothersome occurrence. Whining, of course, can include those things, but in and of themselves they are not whining. Whining is complaining without style, venting without insight and offering anecdote after anecdote without any consideration of your audience.
Pull your drawers out your ass
It must also be noted that merely offering the complainer, venter or storyteller an alternate point of view is perfectly acceptable, this is called making conversation. It becomes a problem when there is an undue amount of concern over the state of the undergarments of the complainant’s undergarments, this is called Pantiesinawadaphobia. I am not a professional psychologist (although I am pretty good at it), but my best guess is that people with this condition have had some tragedy in their life centered around underpants, perhaps a wedgie or particularly embarrassing VPL, and don’t quite know anymore what normal is, as far as panties are concerned.
That bothers you?
There is also a separate condition in which the sufferer seems to mistake “found interesting enough to write about” for “worked up”. This inability to recognize the complainant’s mild annoyance, and instead substituting the term “worked up” is very interesting and to me indicates classic Freudian projection. Again, I don’t have a degree in this sort of thing, but when my children were small I was up many an early morning watching Discovery Psychology with Philip Zimbardo, the slightly Mephistopheles-looking guy that did the Stanford Prison Experiment. I have five children, that’s a lot of early mornings with PBS, I think I’m something of an expert on beginning psychology by now. Back to my point, it seems patently obvious that the “I wouldn’t get worked up over that” crowd has some sort of latent hostility bubbling all up in their Id and I would use care in engaging them.
A whining opportunity
There is also a sub-category of whiners that enjoys swooping into any complaining thread hoping to take it over with their own complaints, or for the especially gutsy whiner, as an opportunity to try to get some licks in. This could take the form of complaining trying to one-up the complainant, mentioning that the last time they said something similar people jumped on them (HOLMs Syndrome) or most infuriatingly saying that they are sorry, they know how it feels. Or they could try to join the pantiesinawadaphobics and unworkedup in a pile-on, but this seldom works out very well for them. I’ll go into more detail on this in Reason #9 – It’s all about ME!
Cue the stirring music
The thing is, without complaining, message boards would be pretty dull places. You can only talk about the things you like so much before you start wanting to punch yourself for sounding like an infomercial host. Sometimes you just need to tell somebody all the little things that irk and niggle, just to get it out so you can go back and face it all again. To try and take the wind out of a valid complainer’s sails is, well, it’s just plain mean. So, I say to you, my readers, go forth and complain with style, vent with insight and offer your bemused anecdotes of vexing occurrences (but only like one a day, unless you’re a very interesting person, which you most likely aren’t, as you have time to read my blog). And if somebody tells you not to get your panties in a wad, look them straight in the eyes and tell them “I go commando”.