Complaining

I had a wonderful meal the other day. I had to send it back at first, though. The meal came with mashed potatoes, which I love. However, the mashed potatoes were covered in gravy, which I definitely don’t love. The menu didn’t mention anything about gravy, or I would have asked for them to leave that off. When my server presented the meal I said, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize the potatoes came with gravy. I didn’t want gravy on mine.”

She said, “I’ll go get you a new plate.”

I’ve told you that story to let you know that I don’t hesitate to say something if I’m not pleased with my meal or with some other product or service.

I had a companion at that same meal who complained about just about everything. She didn’t complain to the server, but she didn’t like the way the restaurant presented the drinks. She thought her potatoes weren’t hot enough. She thought her dessert wasn’t heated properly. Keep in mind that she had the same potatoes and dessert as a couple of other people at our table, and theirs were fine. We’re used to this, though. I don’t think my companion has been completely happy with any meal she’s eaten in the last five or six years.

My companion has fallen into a habit of mildly complaining about just about everything. The meal wasn’t the first target of her complaints that day, nor the last. I don’t think she realizes that those around her view her as very negative. She’s not someone who responds well to criticism, so it’s not likely that anyone will tell her anytime soon. And, my history with her makes it nearly impossible for me to effectively confront her about, well, anything.

I will say, though, that when I’m around her I become very aware of my own attitude. It is a reminder to me that I have the choice of deciding how to react to the world around me. I can find fault in things or I can enjoy them, focusing on the positive.

Complaints have their place. But, if you find yourself unhappy with nearly every meal, every service, and every encounter, it might be a good idea to examine your own attitude and perspective.

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