Unless you’ve managed to be less judgmental than anyone I know or have ever met, you’ve gotten irritated about something someone has done at work and you’ve complained about it to someone else you worked with. Complaining may not be the most desirable habit, but it feels good to be heard and hopefully – what we really want – to be validated in our belief that it’s not us who has the problem.

The rules of complaining are simple. We are correct, hard working, fair, and inherently intelligent, and other person is wrong, lazy, unfair, and inherently stupid. All of our superior traits permit us the right to complain. It’s also more permissible to complain during periods of increased stress, a condition which makes short tempers justifiable. But sometimes, after the period of stress has passed, we may self-reflect and reach out to make amends…

 “Well, I heard that he was telling people … (fill in the blank.)

“Are you kidding me? I made a peace offering. I sent an email saying thanks for all your    patience during … (fill in the blank). It was a tense time but we made it through and everything worked out fine. It’s over now. Why does he have to go around making a thing of it when it’s over?”

…and we are left baffled and hurt.

“What happened? Do they not understand that I’ve moved on from what happened? What’s wrong with them? Why are they complaining about me?