It is one thing to work through a complaint with a store manager whom you may never see again, but how about complaining to a neighbor, friend or family member or even a patient?  With people you see regularly, it may be necessary to air the complaint  but to do it while preserving an important relationship.


One approach is to precede the complaint with a complement or reinforcement of some kind.  Next be sure the complaint is focused on a specific incident or situation and never something that would attack a person’s character.  Of course you would never be guilty of making a generalization that begins with “you always....”


A good approach is to state how the problem at hand makes you feel.  You might say, “When you do this, it leaves me feeling frustrated.”  This avoids attacking the recipient of the complaint personally.  “Disappointed” is a good word to use to describe your feelings with regard to t he actions of the person being addressed.


It helps while this is going on if you smile and maintain eye contact.  This helps you seem calm and open-minded and less likely to maintain a tone of anger.  Then if you have a compliment ready to put a cap on the conversation, you will more than likely receive a positive reply Hopefully, the reply will be one that solves the problem.


Gregory B. Anderson–director

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