Different Types of Complainers

Complaining is a common way of expressing dissatisfaction or unhappiness verbally. Every day people complain about bad weather, horrible traffic, ungrateful children, and a variety of other issues. Complainers differ depending on their circumstances and personalities. Throughout my life, I have met three different types of complainers. These include chronic complainers, attention-seeking complainers, and instrumental complainers.

The first type I am going to describe is chronic complainers. Chronic complainers seem to be the ones who are never happy or satisfied, as they only focus on negative aspects of life and always find faults with other people. In this case, complaining might be viewed as a habit and not an adequate reaction to a significant event. Chronic complainers can even find problems in situations perceived as positive by others. One complaint leads to another, and after a few more, it seems like the world is going to end for a chronic complainer.

The following example might help understand the notion of chronic complainers. A man wakes up and begins his morning with complaints about the weather outside and the neighbor’s dog barking for hours. While eating his breakfast, he does not stop complaining as the milk is too cold for him, and the cookies are too dry. At work, his disappointment with co-workers leads to a new wave of complaints, which continue until he goes to sleep at night, complaining about how uncomfortable his bed is. Overall, complaining about random things is an unconscious habit for a chronic complainer.

The second type of complainer may be called attention-seeking complainers. It is characterized by the desire of such people to share their negative experiences and emotions with others to attract attention and sympathy. Their troubles are often minor, but attention-seeking complainers exaggerate them to the point where they seem unsolvable. Complaining is regarded as an instrument for expressing their emotions and concerns, which are often unrelated to the subject of their complaints.

Let us examine the following situation to illustrate the concept of attention-seeking complainers. One evening a married couple comes to a beautiful restaurant to celebrate their anniversary. Everything about the restaurant seems perfect, the husband is enjoying the food and the atmosphere, but the wife looks unhappy. She complains about the food, then about the waiter being impolite, and about the people talking too loudly. After an hour of complaining, she finally admits that she did not like the anniversary present from her husband, which was the reason why she started complaining about everything. Therefore, attention-seeking complainers are not looking for a solution to their problem, but gain satisfaction from sharing their negative emotions and soliciting attention from other people.

The third type, called instrumental complainers, presents the most practical and reasonable type of all. They do not complain out of habit or to share their negativity with others, as their only goal of complaining is solving significant problems and emphasizing the need for change. For instance, Bill, an office worker, complains to his supervisor about a broken air-conditioner explaining the situation in detail. It is a hot summer, so 20 people working in the office suffer from the heat. As a result of Bill’s complaint, the air conditioner gets fixed, and his colleagues are grateful for the action he took. Thus, instrumental complainers aim to bring positive change and solve existing problems.

All in all, complainers come in different shapes and forms, as might be evident from the examples used in the essay. While chronic and attention-seeking complainers do not have a clear goal for complaining and are driven by either a habit or negative emotions, instrumental complainers are more practical and concerned with finding solutions to meaningful problems.


Young, D. (2019). Types of complaining customers. Marketing Donut. Web.

Zucal, C., & Zucal, C. (2016). 5 of the Most Common Types of Customer Complaints, and How to Handle Them. Social Media Today. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Different Types of Complainers." September 7, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/different-types-of-complainers/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Different Types of Complainers." September 7, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/different-types-of-complainers/.


PsychologyWriting. "Different Types of Complainers." September 7, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/different-types-of-complainers/.