chapter  6
26 Pages

“You’re Bugging Me!”: Complaints and Criticism From a Partner

WithWilliam R. Cupach

Virtually everyone expresses complaints now and then (Alicke et al., 1992; Kowalski, 1996; Kowalski & Erickson, 1997). We whine, nag, gripe, kvetch, crank, needle, bitch, and moan about the things that annoy, offend, or disappoint us. We also hear the complaints of friends, foes, and family members, and we sometimes suffer curmudgeons and people who complain incessantly (Kowalski, 2003). The topical substance of complaints is wide ranging: “I have a headache”; “My supervisor is a narcissistic authoritarian”; “I wish they would ban the use of cell phones in restaurants”; “My computer is always crapping out on me”; “The Cubs are in a slump again”; “That tie doesn’t match your shirt”; “Her perfume smells like bug spray”; “I asked that my steak be prepared medium rare-this is medium well”; or “Quit complaining all the time!” Because we ourselves feel the need to complain, we tolerate hearing complaints from others.