Complaining: the 3 bitch rule

Recreational complaining can be a fun way of bonding with people, but it’s a destructive habit and can turn frustrating situations into a full-on way of life. Some people even believe that focusing on negative aspects of your life create more of that negative aspect in your life, so complaining about your unreasonable and controlling boss will cause her to be even more unreasonable and controlling.

Like I said, I’m a skeptic, so I don’t know about that. But I think we can all agree that chronic complaining is really annoying and unpleasant.

My friend Jenn has a rule called “The 3 Bitch Rule.”

Not only is it a great way of preserving friendships (by not being that insufferably annoying person always complaining), it also can help you propel your life forward beyond the thing you’re complaining about.

3 Bitch Rule DinosaurHere’s the rule: If you complain about something three times, and you haven’t taken proactive action to resolve the issue, then you aren’t allowed to complain about it anymore. You must accept the situation as your own choice, and move on from complaining.

Trust me, friends love this rule, and they love to work on solutions with you.

If we take responsibility for where we are, and accept the reality of a situation, it’s essential that we stop complaining and start solving.


Action Steps

  1. Write down three things you have complained about recently.
  2. Come up with at least three possible solution to those items — and I mean things you can do, not anyone else.
  3. If you have complained to anyone else about these things (you know, the friend you always share these things with), go over the solutions with them and see what they think, and if they can think of any more.
  4. Start putting into action the best solutions.


My Action Steps (so you understand that I do this too)

Things I have complained about recently:

  1. Being overwhelmed
  2. Not having enough adventure in my life
  3. Lack of financial security
  4. Persistent checking of Facebook
  5. (I’m an overachiever) Lack of follow-through on projects I start / starting lots of projects without finishing them
  6. Not “having time to” meditate daily
  7. Not prioritizing exercise / my health


Three solutions to these items:

Being Overwhelmed

  • Meditating at least once daily, probably more
  • Starting and stopping at a consistent time every day / not having “freelancer” hours
  • Monotasking
  • Handing off projects that don’t have to be handled by me

Not having enough adventure in my life

  • Take up an adventure sport
  • Go on road trips / plan trips
  • Watch shows and read books about adventure (vicarious experience)

Lack of financial security

  • Making a big enough savings account that I don’t care / we would be ok no matter what
  • Creating diverse sources of income so no one source of income can go away and cause catastrophe
  • Not caring about financial security


I went to my friends asking for help working on the overwhelm part, and they said:

“I always try to ask myself – is anything really going to be different if this person has to wait 1 hour for my attention?” – Suzanne

“Either lightening the load with an assistant’s help or scaling back on of the two job’s scope to make one the ‘full time real job’ and the other an enjoyable side project as opposed to two full time real jobs.” – Roo

“Setting clear boundaries is difficult in practice but if it’s important to you, *you can rock anything*. If you are like me, your toughest customer is you. Sure, it may shift priorities in your goal timelines. But I assume no one’s going to die if you move most of your goals out to be a little nicer to yourself?” – Andrea