Have you ever been around someone who creates conflict even over the smallest events or problems? It’s as if this person might be hunting for conflict or complaint and seizes on every opportunity to “have it out.”

Even though that’s the extreme, it IS hard to know when lodging a complaint might be worth the conflict that ensues. And, knowing when conflict is appropriate is even harder for those who feel they didn’t have a “voice” growing up (now that I’m a grown-up, I get to complain about anything I want!)

What’s the problem with over-complaining? It can create conflict and distress where there doesn’t need to be any. And, I’ve seen it frustrate more than one spouse to the point of wanting to give-up for fear he/she can’t please the other.

So, what’s the solution? I’ve come-up with something to help over-complainers gauge whether a complaint is “worth it” or not. I ask them to scale ask yourself: Is this problem/annoyance a 4 or less out of 10? Or is it a 5 and above? If it’s a 5 or above, it’s worth bringing-up. But, if it’s a 4 or below, let it go! (It even rhymes!)

If you have doubts about your own judgement, then do this: Think of a pretty reasonable friend and ask yourself how he/she would scale the issue.

Your husband’s gross shirt that he loves to wear. Your daughter’s jeans that fit a little too tight. The teacher who doesn’t communicate well about an upcoming test. These are all things that might be a 4 or below, but that often create unnecessary conflict. The big stuff, though? You need to bring up.

I’m not a fan of repressing feelings, but I also don’t believe every little annoyance needs to be addressed. So, you be the judge – but, remember to be reasonable!


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