The Productive Way to Complain | Justin Lioi, LCSW - Brooklyn, NY

Complaining about something is regularly looked down upon. People, especially those with feet firmly planted in the positive thinking world, pooh-pooh complaining and complainers. In fact, a person who is thought of as a complainer is someone you don’t want to be around. They’re a crazymaker, they’re a time suck, they rob you of your joy.

Maybe they do. But this doesn’t mean we have to blame complaining and throw out the baby with the bathwater (and we probably did so because they were complaining about the temperature of the bath.)

Sure, getting “stuck” in the complaining spiral can just begin to feed on itself, but it doesn’t have to. Strategically complaining and learning to view it as a tool can help you learn some stuff about yourself and see where you’re getting stuck.

But if you try to jump to fix something without talking about your feelings regarding it (AKA complaining) then you may miss something important.

I talk about his more at length in my column “Unmasking Masculinity” in an essay called Man Code: Men Are Supposed to Solve Problems, NOT Complain About Them”.

Let me know what you think! And if you want to talk further about us working together just send me an email. Too busy to start counseling, but really want to look at some stuff that’s coming up for you? Online counseling allows many of my clients to get all the benefits of therapy (here are just TEN) without having to leave their home (or office, or car, or hotel room.)


Justin Lioi, LCSW is a men’s mental health and relationship expert. He is a Brooklyn therapist (as well as also seeing clients online throughout New York State and internationally.) He received his degree from New York University and has been working with men and their families for over 10 years. Justin is on the Board of the National Association of Social Workers and writes a weekly column for the Good Men Project called Unmasking Masculinity. He can be found on local and national podcasts talking about assertiveness, anger, self-compassion, all with the goal of becoming the man you want to be.