I recently met up with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen for a very long time. I had been eagerly looking forward to our lunch, but I left very disappointed. All she did for more than two hours was complain—mostly about her husband, with some breaks to complain about her kids. It was just negative and depressing. Why do people complain so much? Could she really think this was a good way to spend time with an old friend?
People complain for many reasons, and we should to try to figure out your friend’s reasons. For one thing, misery often does make us closer to one another. Imagine that you go to meet several friends and either tell them how annoying traffic was along the way or give them the same level of detail about how wonderful your drive was and how easy it was to find parking. In which case would your friends like you more?