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This is such a great post, I can't believe I'm only just now seeing it. I work with 2 chronic complainers and they are constantly pulling me into their web of negativity. One of them is actually a sweet older lady who has been kind to me in many ways here, but 90% of the stuff that comes out of her mouth is worry, fear, or complaint-based. She has so many psychological hangups from her upbringing and her personal AND professional relationships where she allows everyone to walk all over her and then stews and complains about it later instead of seeking solutions that are within her grasp. I have tried so many different methods of dealing with it, including providing advice, and finally just empathizing--but then we just get into a complaint-fest about things we mutually don't like about our jobs--and that keeps me from trying to maintain a positive outlook to make my job bearable. The other constant complainer is exactly the type you mentioned in the blog...a total victim of life, nothing ever goes her way, everyone is against her, and she has more work than anybody else, etc. A big question I ask myself is why some people, like myself, tend to attract these people? As I mentioned, I am somewhat close to the first lady and we do have to work together occasionally, but I rarely ever work with the second one (thank god!), yet she always seeks me out as someone to hear her long list of complaints. After the first 2-3 tries of offering very obvious, logical advice to her IT complaints and seeing how she would just shut me down mid-sentence with her responses of why those wouldn't work, I finally started adopting a strategy of nodding my head while maintaining eye contact with my computer (to demonstrate I am busy) and replying with "That really sucks." And eventually she leaves me alone. But I always recoil and try to avoid her like the plague when I hear her voice in the office...I wish I had the guts to tell her that she is a horrible, dreadful person to be around due to her negative and aggressive presence.
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