This is the second half of our interview with psychologist Guy Winch, author of a new book titled, “The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way to Get Results, Improve Your Relationships and Enhance Self-Esteem.” We start off by discussing effective complaining, which includes the components of the “complaint sandwich.” This includes the ear-opener, the content, and the digestive. Starting with something pleasant is important, because it creates a genuine connection. The content of the complaint should be only about one specific incident, without any criticism (no global assessments or impugning of character). The digestive entails a request that invokes resolution in a positive way, thus maintaining the connection.
Research shows that men need to focus on maintaining eye contact and women need to match the communication flow, so that more effective complaining can happen between couples. Constant complaining entails a theme of victimization, as the person seeks sympathy. Criticism (such as accusations, generalizations, and character slams) can be dealt with effectively, i.e., turned into valid complaints, by not taking things personally, and instead focusing on specifics that can be resolved. Parents need to step off the “demand/withdraw Merry-go-round” with their tweens/teens, by maintaining a flow of mutual interest and sharing, coupled with complaint sandwiches. Taking charge of getting your needs met through effective complaining enables your health and wellness and fosters better interactions in your personal life and in the marketplace.
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Items mentioned in this episode:
Guy’s site, where you can discover more about The Squeaky Wheel
Guy’s blog on Psych Today
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