Opinion: How to make complaints appear as compliments

by ‘Kayode Oyero

It is human to be sick and tired of other’s actions, inactions and behavior that you find unpleasant. At such moments, you can’t just take it anymore. Going confrontational seems the solution. “Enough is enough!” you declare matter-of-factly, eyes smoldering with anger.

It is understandable. You have suppressed and tolerated enough and thusly can’t help but burst out reeling out your displeasures through the vehicle of complaints. You have really tried putting up with that much.

Needlessly, complaints are outburst of frustrations and dissatisfactions, and also an expression of grievances or resentments. But letting out pent-up anger is destructive on human inter-relationship than you can imagine.

At the core of every complaining individual is a desire for the person or thing complained about to change for the better. But sometimes what you say may be right but the delivery tone may be wrong.

The other may truly be guilty and even willing to make amends but the manner of your presentation may be annoying and put-offish thus leave the fellow bitter towards you – after the confrontation. Unchecked complaint defeats the constructive goal of correction and adjustment you want it to serve. It destroys relationships at work, in courtship, in marriage and (add your list).

One of the most difficult things to do in the psychology of human behavior is correcting another person. Humans naturally don’t like to be corrected or told they are wrong. That’s why men must be taught as if you taught them not. And things unknown proposed as things forgot says a wise man.

You may be unable to always tell people what they want to hear but you can always tell them in such a way that they will want to listen and make amends without getting offended.

You can synchronize your words with your tone to achieve maximum result of corrective behavior without severing relationships or leaving the other embittered after the encounter. A soft word turns away wrath.

“How can I do this? He’s so stubborn and unyielding! I have patiently told her many times to stop that attitude. I have coolly said it times without number that I don’t like it. He has taken me for granted. She has taken me for granted. I must give it to him hot this time around. I must show her I am not a weakling!”

Before you fly off the handle, please wait a minute.

You see, rudeness in return is not the answer. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. If you douse fire with fire you only end up with ashes.

Next time before you go pet-peeving, please consider applying this:


First thing first. Point to people what they did well and lavish them with praises for their efforts and thoughtfulness or admirable behavior before lodging your complaint(s).

The rule of thumb is: never complain about something or someone you have not showered compliments on. Appreciation is a legal tender everyone desires. Praises like champagne should be served while it is still bubbling. Don’t withhold what you appreciate in others. Compliment them instantly without being flattery.

Lavish nice and sincere compliments on people and you see their lips part in a healthy smile. Nice and honest compliments are a powerful softener in human relationship. It is irresistible and potent if you don’t overdo it – if you don’t cross the boundary from sincerity (compliments) to insincerity (flattery and praise-singing) which could backfire.

Never treat or talk to people in a way that will only make them feel miserable about themselves. Be gracious in your speech and mannerism. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation not put them down not cut them out.

You are certainly likely to get your point across when you spread the palm frond of kind words before hitting your point. Your views are most likely greeted with cooperation when you first dish out candid and fantastic comments and compliments to people.

No matter how cantankerous a person, group of people or organization, they will always have at least one good thing that they do right. You have the capacity to see what you want to see. You have what it takes to see that amazing aspect of them. Begin with that just like this:

“Your company has been so wonderful these days with electricity supply. In fact, for the past two months we have enjoyed constant power supply until the recent two weeks of utter blackout,” can be an inoffensive way to lodge a complaint at your local electricity distribution company.

Persuasion, the communication to influence choice is more potent than confrontation. A soft word turns away wrath. Patient persuasion pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses.

Be calm as a dove and wise as a serpent and successfully get people change that behavior of theirs that you find unpleasing. They would even apologize for giving you headache if only you apply wits.

Hearts go where they are appreciated and complimented; where they get special treatment. Don’t scare people away with raw and persistent nagging; serve them compliments then subtly lodge your complaints. When you praise first before complain, the praise overshadows the effect of being corrected on their ego and result is achieved.

Complaints when converted to compliments can do a whole lotta good in preserving relationships while corrective desire is still being achieved. Even if you have to be critical, praise the worker and criticize the work, praise the person and criticize the misdemeanor.

You can serve complaints as compliments and clinch the ultimate goal which is corrective behavioral results. It is possible. You can exercise self-control over your anger. A person without self-control is like a city broken down without walls.

You CAN: Conceive, Achieve and Nurture! Wisdom is profitable to direct.

Thanks for the read. God bless.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

‘Kayode is a product of Grace. He writes from Lagos, South-West, Nigeria. He can be contacted via his mail: [email protected] and Twitter handle: @Imodoye_1

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