I received a great question from a reader about what to do when someone else complains. She said she normally would complain about her life, too, so the person would feel she could understand them and they wouldn’t feel alone. And she worried that if they said they were really tired and she didn’t tell them she was really tired, too, that they would maybe feel like she thought her life was better or that she would come across as being rude in some way.
We can empathize and sympathize with others if they are sick, tired, upset, etc… But we don’t have to complain about our lives, too.
 
If a friend/coworker/customer says she is really tired, I can say:
  • “I’m so sorry to hear that. It sounds tough.”
  • “Oh, no. I hate that you are so exhausted. That’s no fun.”
  • “Hey, is there anything I can do to help?”
 
I do think that one reason women tend to complain about our men together is this very thing. Many women want their friends to feel like they understand them and can relate. So if one woman complains about her guy, the others will often join in. We don’t want other women to feel isolated or abandoned. We want them to know we all have similar struggles.
It’s a good thing to want to be a supportive friend.
 
But a negative, grumbling, complaining spirit hurts us. It hurts the way we think of our men. It hurts our friendships. It hurts our relationship with other coworkers or our boss. It hurts our ability to witness effectively for Jesus. It grieves the heart of God. And it stunts our ability to be thankful and to live by faith in God. So we need to be cautious about this, my precious sisters.
If a Friend Has a Significant Problem
 
If a friend begins to complain about her man, I can empathize that she is feeling upset. “I’m so sorry things have been frustrating. That sounds really discouraging.” And then I can pray and invite God to give me wisdom about how to be an encouragement to her. Depending on the situation and how close of a relationship we have, maybe I can:
  • Listen and hear her heart and pain. Try to understand the situation.
  • Validate her feelings.
  • Pray with her about the situation and invite God into the situation to work for His glory.
  • Do a spiritual checkup with her to be sure she is receiving good things from God.
  • Possibly share some things I have learned that have helped me in similar situations.
  • Offer insights as the Lord leads.
  • Offer possible helpful resources.
  • Make sure she is safe – if she is facing abuse or something truly awful, she may need more help and resources for a very difficult situation.

It depends on the relationship how we would approach another woman in this situation. Ultimately, we will need the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to give us exactly the right words to share in each scenario.We want women to feel validated and supported. And then we want to be able to point them to the hope that is available to them in Christ. We may even be able to witness and share the gospel with them if they don’t know the Lord. Or if they know the Lord already, but are struggling with faith, we may be able to encourage them to yield to His Lordship. God may help us see exactly what they need.

Some women may be open to some positive new suggestions from us. Especially those who are really close to us. Others would not be. Some may be offended if we try to encourage them to look for good things in their lives. We can’t force anyone to change her thinking. We can invite them to. But if they clearly don’t want to, we can respect their decision. That is their choice to make. We can back away.

If It Is Just a Bad Habit

Some women in our lives may not have big problems in their lives or relationships, they may just be in a bad habit of thinking and talking about only negative things. In a situation like that, I may be able to gently mention some blessings she has in her life, or encourage her to think about the good things in her life. I may even invite her – in a sweet, friendly way – to join me on a fast from negative words. Who knows, she may be excited about it!

If Things Are Really Toxic
Sadly, there are some people who are so negative and toxic, we need to be careful about how much influence we allow them to have on our lives. They could easily drag us down. There are times when we may have to distance ourselves from those who insist on focusing on complaining, resentment, bitterness, hatred, negativity, insults, arguing, etc… If someone encourages you to resent your man or to think and speak in negative ways about others, the Lord, or your life – that is a problem. If someone tries to tear apart your relationships, be very cautious.
  • As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him. Titus 3:10
  • Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Cor. 15:33
  • Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Prov. 13:20
  • A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. Prov. 16:28
  • Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Prov. 17:9
  • Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. Prov. 22:24-25
 
Let’s seek to bring the God’s joy, peace, and a spirit of thanksgiving into our homes, workplaces, and relationships. This is part of how we can be salt and light!
 
How is the 3 week fast from negative words going for you so far? We’d love to hear about your experience.
 
Much love!
RELATED VERSES
  • Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
  • Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18
  • And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28
  • Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8

RELATED POSTS

How Does Bad Company Corrupt Good Character?www.gotquestions.org

Is It Good to Have Close Friendships with Unbelievers?www.gotquestions.org

Join Me for a 21 Day Fast from Negative Words

11 Reasons We Can’t Afford to Skimp on Praising and Thanking God

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