Solicited Advice: How do you deal with the unpleaseable?

In an attempt not to cryptoblog and to get this off my chest I’m going to ask a question in a general way: How do you deal with people who are never happy with anything?

And let’s just say for argument’s sake that you cannot cut this person (or people) out of your life because you share a gene pool or they pay you money or you have a long personal history. So you have these people in your life and they are never pleased. Something is always wrong or not quite right, but out of the kindness of his or her heart they will accept this subparness.

How do you cope with that? How do you deflect their little bits of snark and not let it weave itself into your brain tying your guts into knots and making you think “why do I suck so much?”

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7 Comments

  1. UH 23.Aug.10 at 9:46 pm

    I usually punch them in the face.

    Reply
  2. Jodi 23.Aug.10 at 9:47 pm

    As gratifying as punching would be, I don’t think that’s a good way to handle this person/these people.

    Reply
  3. heather 23.Aug.10 at 10:49 pm

    oh, yeah. i have the mother of all unpleaseables as a friend. he is tiresome and frustrating and and and… but, i still love him. *shrug*

    i try to reason with him, then i try to change the subject, then i usually yell a little, then i avoid him for a while.

    rinse. repeat.

    it’s the only way i’ve found to maintain a friendship while not wanting to kill either him or myself. but, he is still a definite psychic vampire, so i’ve found i have to reduce my exposure, especially if i’m feeling sensitive or stressed out. it sounds mean, but i’ve tried every trick i ever learned from my psych nurse mother – to no avail. it’s better than cutting him loose, isn’t it?

    Reply
  4. Kevin Fenton 24.Aug.10 at 7:37 am

    This may or may not help. I was the leader of a small team where two of members complained about everything. I would come back from a meeting and be barraged with thoughts on how stupid the project was and, less explicitly, how poorly I had represented the team’s interest. My boss gave me very good advice: bring them to the meeting. That way, they can’t stand apart and criticize.

    I’m also not convinced that we are shackled to adults who insist on continuing to act like jerks.

    Reply
  5. Bonny 24.Aug.10 at 6:28 pm

    Totally off subject: DID YOU SEE BEVERLY CLEARY tonite on the CBS evening news? 94, doesn’t know what a Kindle is, but otherwise lucid, and enjoying her renaissance.

    Reply
  6. Anaximander 24.Aug.10 at 10:22 pm

    There’s this theory, in quilting – that there has to be a flaw, otherwise you’re attempting to create something perfect, and perfection can only be attained by god. I’m an avowed athiest, but this theory has helped me with design stuff, with dealing-with-unpleasant-family stuff, and with essay writing stuff.

    I insert the flaw. I know exactly what they’re going to harp on, so I put it there on purpose, to let them be upset about that one given thing – that I put there on purpose, so they could harp on it, and leave me alone about anything else. Usually the flaw is something trivial, that they’re ridiculous for arguing about anyways, and which only gets sillier the longer it continues, while I can just serenely reply with all sorts of platitudes while I go on my way.

    Reply
  7. Ken 03.Sep.10 at 10:23 pm

    I once had a co-worker that was never happy about anything – Mr. Unhappy. My supervisor and I were talking about an office thing and he said that Mr. Unhappy wasn’t going to be pleased about a particular office thing outcome. I thought about it and asked, “what would make him happy?” The answer, of course, was probably nothing. So we surmised that if he was going to be unhappy no matter what decision was made, then we were free to make any decision we wanted with no regard to Mr. Unhappy … and we were free. It really was a bit of a revelation. Some people just can’t be pleased, so you just need to please yourself and be happy with it.

    Reply

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