Yesterday we discussed ways to complain to resolve issues instead of whining about the situation. Only when a problem is known can it be resolved.
Here are ways to listen more productively when someone is whining to you:
- Listen for the real complaint, distress, or fear, which may not be the problem that is stated.
- Gently ask questions when you think you’ve found the real problem.
- Take a moment to regroup emotionally if you feel accused or berated. The anger or irritation you’re hearing may not even be meant for you. If it is directed at you, you’ll handle it better after a deep breath and a moment of silent prayer.
Remember that most of us let a little whine slip out occasionally. Responding with gracious good listening can help turn a whine into a complaint that will address a situation and make it better.
This message was adapted from “Church Whine” by Karen Melang that appeared in the September 1997 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.