Saturday, June 9, 2018
We use the word “complain” sometimes and I wonder if its actually the best word to use.
When someone goes to the doctor “complaining” of a back pain or stomach ache, are they actually complaining?
One explanation from the dictionary is express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event.
To say someone is complaining, doesn't that makes them a complainer? Now we have put a judgement on the person who is explaining a situation that has them concerned or upset. If I tell someone that she has been complaining of a headache for a week, could that person say that I am calling her a complainer and become defensive or even angry? Why not say that person has said she has had a headache for a week?
A woman called me recently to talk about her experience with her doctor and asked how to file a complaint. I asked her what she hoped would happen. She actually wanted a relationship with her doctor and was angry that her doctor treated her cold and distant. The caller kept apologizing for complaining. It seems the doctor moved her practice to another part of the state and the woman still wanted to see the same doctor. Visiting years later, she was upset that the doctor treated her like a new patient. “I was her patient for years” the woman told me and now she was being treated as if the doctor never knew her.
I told her about how I have written letters to doctors about my experiences with them from anything to - they didn’t wash their hands to something they said that was offensive or even when I appreciate them. Writing letters is helpful if she was willing to take the same amount of time to write a complaint as she was to write a letter explaining what happened, she may actual save the relationship and continue seeing the same doctor. I suggested that she doesn’t label her experience or concerns a "complaint" and explain what happened using the facts, as she experienced them.
Stay focused on the facts, explain how it makes you feel, and don’t be so quick to label something negative that someone else may see as a positive.