As a highly sensitive person, I don’t like conflict, but sometimes it’s necessary to fight for what we want and deserve. Getting what you want requires a willingness to be a little irritating. As the old adage goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The people who complain the most get the most attention—and fair or not, they get what they want. Yet most of us are uncomfortable with the idea of complaining. We don’t want to make a noise about things, much less an irritating one. Use a complaint as an opportunity to find a solution and improve the situation.
When our annoyance is greater than our compliance, and we simply can’t stand it anymore, irritation is a powerful way to change things. If you want action, don’t underestimate the willingness to complain, to wear people down until they would rather change than listen to the sound of us. LOL
Kids are masters at this. At some point, most parents will give in to just shut them up—it’s called “pester power.” It’s a proven marketing theory that kids will pester their parents relentlessly until buying them that thing hurts less than not buying it.
Most adults are too socially compliant to be that annoying. We don’t want to be squeaky wheels for fear of rejection, so we keep quiet. It’s hardly surprising, because from an early age, we are taught that complaining is impolite. We are conditioned to say nothing and to get on with it (besides the few times we stayed strong until Mom and Dad folded).
Yet those willing to defy this, to complain, can actually change things that aren’t working—or, at the very least, draw attention to issues we otherwise might not have noticed. The loudest squeak gets the go-ahead, the OK. The silent soldier just carries onward, hoping someone will notice the problem and do something about it.
So how do you become a squeaky wheel and harness the power of complaining? Here are four suggestions:
1. Be clear and specific about one problem.
Know who to direct the complaint to. Squeaky wheels are not simply making an irritating noise; they are asking for grease which means there is a clear reason for why they are behaving the way that they are. Constant complaining on multiple topics quickly turns you from a squeaky wheel to a whiney complainer. Being clear about what you want is important when you want to be heard. Remain calm and polite.
2. Offer a solution or suggestion for resolution.
Your suggestion to fixing things may not be perfect, but the point is that you are attempting to solve it—not simply hoping someone else will. Complaining with a vision is a better way to solve a problem than moaning about it. Follow up and ensure the issue is resolved.
3. Don’t be afraid of a little negativity.
The power of positivity might be trending in business right now, but negative motivators are extremely influential, too. Most businesses understand that they also need to look at what they aren’t doing well. If they ignore the squeaky wheels, their businesses will suffer, so you may actually be doing them a favor with your complaint!
4. Be willing to be not be liked.
Complaining is a little annoying, but that is precisely the point. Your willingness to say what’s not popular, what’s not being said, is what is required to challenge the status quo. Squeaky wheels need to accept the fact that not everyone will like what they hear. People who change things may be viewed as troublemakers because they question the way things have always been done. But if we are willing to keep squeaking, someone will eventually listen to your point of view.
Are you an effective complainer? If so, can you share some tips? If not, why not? Do you hate to upset the “apple cart” when you are unhappy with a service, product, or a relationship? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.
If you find my content useful, I would appreciate it if you would share it with others! Feel free to use the share buttons below, or to add your comments to this post. I do respond to comments!
Join my community, and get my free e-book and twice per month newsletters, 17 Powerful Tips To Help You Thrive As A Highly Sensitive Person. I have an archive of my previous newsletters. Some topics include: Are you a magnet for toxic people?… Do you give up too easily?… Would you rather be perfect or productive?… and much more!