Whingeing–I’m doing it wrong (apparently)

I’ve had a horrid twenty four hours, I got massively attacked for complaining too much, thus the title. I asked a colleague this morning if the English were familiar with the concept of “venting”–complaining to get things off your chest and then moving on. He said no, but then I started thinking about the persistence of “whingeing” in Britain and now I’m confused. The frustrating thing is that I know that I may have (apparently) been too vocal about being overwhelmed with things, but I can actually prove on paper and with numbers that I am officially overworked. Of course, nothing I say at this point will help; when someone gets mad at you and decides you’ve crossed some line, there’s not a thing you can say. So being overtired (due to the overwork) of course I then went on to have an extremely undignified day in which I kept bursting into tears at inopportune times. The only thing that saved me a bit was lunch with another technical female who noted that girls are often sensitive to this type of criticism but guys let it pass like water rolling off a duck’s back. I need to work on that whole water-back-roll thing because letting this bother me is not actually helping me to get caught up. Nor is blogging for that matter, except that I am venting my frustration. Sigh. And why is it that whenever something like this happens my gut reaction is to want to go home?


6 responses to “Whingeing–I’m doing it wrong (apparently)

  1. Venting is part of the great blogging tradition, so if you need to have a vent, go ahead and feel free to do so here (and then none of your colleagues will get upset).

    Personally I find the American approach much healthier than the British. The Brits just whinge, and then say “sorry, I’m whingeing here”. The American approach seems to be to acknowledge their feelings up front “I’m really mad because…” and then explain why they’re feeling that way. I think acknowledging feelings is healthy, and then trying to see whether the causes are your problem or someone else’s is a constructive thing to do. Whingeing is just ‘getting it off your chest’, but not solving anything.

    Try and have a nice week-end. Do something fun. Spoil yourself. Whatever you need.

  2. For my first few years in the US every time I was having a hard time with something, I would wonder why on earth I was here, and why didn’t I just go back home to the UK. Then I finally realized that I had crappy days in the UK too! Once I was over here, I could blame it on being here – I can’t remember what I blamed it on when I was over there – having chosen the wrong profession probably, when in fact it was more like just the wrong workplace.

    Oh, and PMS (PMT in the UK) always makes things MUCH worse and tears far more likely, whichever continent I’m on 😉

  3. Thank you both so much for your support and kind words! It’s amazing how much it means to know that someone (or even better, more than one someone!) out there cares.

    It’s interesting, I’ve had two Brits tell me tonight that the point of whingeing is that it’s about things that aren’t important and likely can’t be changed, whereas since I was frustrated with things that were important and where I hoped there might be, shall we say modernization at some point, that was how I managed to upset the person. Ah the cultural clashes. Fortunately I do have fun weekend plans, more on that soon!

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  6. For the record as an American male, I do vent sometimes (often inappropriately, and wish afterward that I had been slightly more discreet), other times I seethe/suffer internally, and at yet other times I just let it go. I think the biggest thing is that a vent gives the opportunity to let it go, as opposed to feeding a wallow. The worst thing to do is stay in the slough of despond- the vent should release the pressure and then be forgotten. The cathartic value of the vent is lost if the subject stays there and builds back up or is nursed back to health by inward-focus.

    I think, based on myself and on non-scientific-sample-random-observation, guys of my type may be more oriented toward earlier looking for solutions to the core problem as opposed to thinking about the other more peripheral aspects of the issue. I think we can be accused of lacking empathy because we go from the blow to the “now what” quickly.

    One commentator I heard talk about this reflected my own experience. His wife said she had a headache, and his response was to get her a pill. She didn’t want just that, she wanted comfort, and his act of getting the pills was perceived as unsympathetic. In reality, he was trying to do, reflecting his own nature, the best he could do for her, she didn’t realize that due to her own nature. Both good people, just Mars versus Venus.

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