Free Webinar: Loving Your Life After Divorce | Join us February 27 at Noon EST |   REGISTER NOW

Ep. 93 – Understanding the Difference Between Concern and Complaining

There is a difference between voicing a concern and whining or complaining. In this week’s episode, Doreen and Jeff discuss how to deal with the whinner in you or in those around you. Most importantly, if you are whining about your divorce, how to stop whining and start winning.


Doreen: Hey, my beautiful friends and how are you? We are gonna talk today about a quote that Jeff and I use often, and it is no whining on the yacht. So if you’re ready, let’s get started with episode number 93,

Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

Hey, Jeff.

Jeff: Hey, how are you? Good morning.

Doreen: Good morning.

Jeff: What’s going on?

Doreen: It’s been kind of a crazy week for us.

Jeff: Why do you say that?

Doreen: Well, I would hope that you would know.

Jeff: Well, I would know, but let’s tell the listeners.

Doreen: Well, my mom is having some medical issues right now, so, it’s hard getting old.

Jeff: It is.

Doreen: You know, so we’re wishing her the best and I know she’s in good care right now as we record this podcast.

But we’ll just keep praying and doing the best we can. Right.

Jeff: Isn’t saying that it’s hard to get old? Isn’t that a kind of a complaint.

Doreen: Yeah, I guess it is, isn’t it?

Jeff: Okay, let’s talk about that.

Doreen: Let’s talk about that. So today we’re gonna talk about a quote, which from our Google search, originated from the best that we can tell from a gentleman by the name of Al Franken, who is a writer, a comedian. I believe he was on Saturday Night Live. He also in politics and he wrote a book called, Giant of the Senate. He wrote many books, but in his book, he does quote the saying, no whining on the yacht.

Jeff: I love, I love that saying, it’s almost what I consider an oxymoron, that you’re on this beautiful yacht. You have everything that you could ever want.

Doreen: Well, I don’t know about everything you could ever want, but you’re on this beautiful yacht.

Jeff: People are, might be envious of you, whatever, but you’re still, you still find the time to complain about it.

Doreen: Right, right.

Jeff: About something.

Doreen: Yeah. I know that you and I started using it as a, a gentle reminder to each other.

When we’re complaining about things and really what we should be doing is being appreciative.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: You know.

Jeff: Definitely.

Doreen: Now, I would suggest that in divorce when you’re dealing with divorce, there’s a lot more whining going on. Well, because  you’re not at, you know, you’re not in a good place.

You’re going through a very challenging, difficult time. And when you are in those types of mindsets, it’s even more prevalent, meaning you’re whining more. So, I think you did a little bit more research, right?

Jeff: Yeah. actually the Googles say that the average adult complains almost 30 times per day.

Doreen: Yeah. That’s a lot of energy.

Jeff: So imagine the average adult going through a divorce.

Doreen: Right.

Doreen: And whining really, you know, as we can imagine, doesn’t really serve much purpose, right?

Jeff: No, it doesn’t.

Doreen: What does it do? It just puts you in a negative mindset. People around you generally don’t want to hear it. It’s uncomfortable for them.

We all know people that whine on a more regular basis, you know, and I’m talking about adults, you know, not children of course. So, being aware of your whining is important and how to deal with whining from others is also a skill. I have certain people in my life, I’m not gonna mention who. I just said the name silently to Japanese, started laughing, who whine on a continuous basis and you know, how do you deal with that?

Jeff: How do you deal with them?

Doreen: But I think the first thing to do is to talk about whining in general and you know, we teach the model, which, basically is something that we’ve learned from our coach, that we were certified from

Jeff: Burillo,

Doreen: Who from the Life Coach School, who teaches about the circumstance creates a thought, creates a feeling, creates an action and the result. And so in your life, especially when you’re dealing with divorce, you wanna be very aware of your thoughts, your action, and your results. Even though the model, of course includes the circumstance and the feeling as well. So, if in your life you are not getting the results that you want, it’s likely, and I wanna suggest it’s always a result of the thoughts that you’re having because your thoughts drive your feelings and your action line.

Whining is an action line. So when you’re looking at the model and you’re working through your models, and this is what we do in coaching with our clients, the action of whining is where you put it in the model and then the results we’ll stem from that. So what that means is if you’re whining, what results are you getting from that in your life?

And I would suggest that whining gets you absolutely nowhere.

Jeff: Nowhere.

Doreen: Right. It may feel somehow good for the moment. But it certainly does not help you to move past divorce. So the question is, are you a whinner? And if you are, do you want to continue to be a whinner or do you wanna be cognitive of that? And use your energy in a way that better serves you.

The other thing we wanna talk about and the tips we’re going to give you today is if you’re not that much of a whinner but you have people in your life that are whinner, how do you deal with them? How and you know, it may be somebody that you can’t escape, like, you know, your ex, it could be your family member. It could be, you know, somebody that you have to do best friend, good friend, best friend, a coworker, even a boss. It could be anybody in your life. And sometimes, you know, you don’t have the opportunity to just walk away from them. How do you deal with them? So again, whether you are the whinner or you’re the person listening to somebody whinner, these are the tips today.

Jeff: Let me ask you a question before we move on because maybe our listeners are a little questioning of what you said, because I’m a little confused myself. How come a whining thought isn’t a thought. I mean in the model, your thoughts are creating your feelings.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: So my thought is, oh God, I hate the way this looks on me. That’s whining, complaining.

Doreen: That, no, that’s not.

Jeff: Okay.

Doreen: Your thought was, I hate the way this looks on me. That’s your thought.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: It’s in your brain. You haven’t done anything with it.

Jeff: Okay.

Doreen: When you say to somebody, now, I don’t like the way this looks on me. That’s whining.

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: So the action was communicating it with somebody else.

Jeff: Oh, so that’s the difference. Okay.

Doreen: Yes.

Jeff: Okay.

Doreen: The thought, whatever it is that you thought creates the whining.

Jeff: As soon as I share it with somebody, then it’s an action.

Doreen: Correct.

Jeff: See, okay. Thank you.

Doreen: What do you expect the person to do with it?

You know that’s the question.

Jeff: Well, that’s the next thing we’re gonna talk about is what to do about it.

Doreen: I will never forget that I was once at Bloomingdale’s, I was probably in my early thirties, I was at Bloomingdale’s. I was at a counter. I think I was, returning something or buy, I don’t know what I was doing.

But there was a gentleman there and he was whining. He was whining about something that he had purchased and it wasn’t working correctly, and he was going on and on and on, and I was just, Standing there waiting and the, the salesperson was unable to really address it because the whining, there was no way to really address the whining other than I recall her saying, do you want to return this?

Would you like me to give you credit? And he wouldn’t answer. He just kept whining about the issue.

Jeff: Mm-hmm.

Doreen: Now, at that age, I remember. I looked over at him, and I’m telling you, it went on for at least a good five minutes. So you can imagine, just visualize me standing, waiting and it was like, Hey, I’m thinking to myself, are you gonna return this or are you gonna like continue to whine about it and we’re gonna get nowhere?

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: I looked over at him, he caught my eyes and I looked at him and I said, you know, I said, if this was the biggest problem that we all had today.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: You know, here you are purchasing. I know it wasn’t something you needed, like a necessary item because we were at Bloomingdale’s. Nothing wrong with Bloomingdale’s, you know, but it was definitely an item of luxury, meaning something that, you know, you don’t need.

And I thought, and he looked at me and when I said that, and he goes, you know what? You’re right. How many times do you hear people complain about things? The traffic, you know, somebody cuts them off. You’re at a restaurant and the service is too slow or the food is not correct. You know, all of these things.

It’s one thing to say to the server, listen, this is not what I ordered. Would you mind replacing this? It’s another thing to whine about it and say, this is, you know what I’m saying?

Jeff: Sure, sure.

Doreen: There’s a difference.

Jeff: It’s definitely a little bit more drama.

Doreen: Yeah, so just if you have an issue with something and you’re trying to resolve it, why?

Why are you doing it? In other words, communicate what you want as opposed to whining. Could you please replace this meal? It’s not what I ordered. There’s no need to whine about it.

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: Okay. So where do you wanna go from here?

Jeff: Well, let’s talk about the dos and don’ts.

Doreen: Dos and don’ts of dealing with whinner.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: So I think we have four things to talk about.

Jeff: Yeah. The first is don’t agree with the whinner. It just encourages them to keep balling, complaining.

Doreen: Yeah. So, that’s something that I do with the person that I’m, that you and I know who I’m talking about. I just don’t, I just kind of let it go over. I don’t agree or disagree. I just kind of sit there and smile.

Jeff: Right. Falls, falls on deaf ears as they call it.

Doreen: Yes, exactly. The second thing is don’t disagree with them. So the first one was, don’t agree. And the second one was, don’t disagree with them as they will feel compelled to repeat their problems.

Jeff: Oh yeah.

Doreen: Right. And then it’s like this never ending, just cycle.

Jeff: And then, the third one is don’t try to solve their problems for them because you never will.

Doreen: No, because they’re not really looking for a resolution. You know about the meal, right? Could you please replace this? This is not what I order. I don’t like it, or whatever.

They’re looking just to whine.

Jeff: Yes.

Doreen: And that’s what they’re looking to have recognized.

Jeff: So, it’s almost like a power struggle. They feel bigger because they’re whining about something.

Doreen: I don’t know about that, but I just know that there’s no way to really solve the problem because that’s not the purpose of what they’re trying to say to you when they’re whining.

Jeff: And the fourth.

Doreen: Never ask them why they are complaining to you about their problems. Yeah. Because that’s just not gonna get you anywhere. Right.

Jeff: There’s gonna put a gasoline on the fire there.

Doreen: Yeah. And let me just say that, you know, perspective is so important, especially when you’re going through divorce, to keep your perspective in place.

Yes. You’re going through the breakdown of a marriage. Yes. It is something you do not want. Right? We don’t go into marriage looking to be divorced. But you have to keep things in perspective, especially, you know, this subject is really important to me this week, and I know you, Jeff, because my mother ended up in the hospital yesterday and it was, she had fallen several times and not to disclose much, but there are some major issues.

So, you know, when you’re looking at an elderly person laying in a bed who really has no control at that moment over their health and what’s going on in internally, it puts you into perspective of your life and how thankful you should be. And so I suggested the same thing is true when you’re going through divorce.

Yes, it’s challenging. Yes, it’s difficult. You probably have no control over it, you know, especially if you’re not the one that wanted the divorce. It is what it is. So whining about it or a medical condition or things that are outside of our control. Serves no purpose. So perspective, do you have your health?

Are your children okay? Did you wake up this morning? What do you have to be thankful for? You know, so that’s where the perspective comes in.

Jeff: Even just having two arms and two legs and everything. And I mean, there’s so many things that we can be grateful for. For an example, when I’m in traffic, you know what I love to say is that at least we’re not the cause of the traffic

Doreen:  Well, you, I don’t think you mean traffic. I think you mean accident.

Jeff: Well, no. When you’re in the traffic jam and the bumper to bumper people will complain, oh my God, this traffic is horrible. I’m gonna be late.

Doreen: Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah. Oh my gosh. And I always say, at least we’re not the cause of the traffic jam.

Doreen: That’s true. I mean, how many times are we in a traffic jam and it’s because of an accident. Now someone, isn’t it? It got hurt. Somebody had an accident, but yet some of us complain about being in in this traffic jam. How about the person that’s in the accident?

Jeff: Yeah, yeah.

Doreen: You know, I mean, life is so precious, right? So let’s talk about what if you are the whinner?

Jeff: Oh, cuz I guess everybody needs to  complain or whine sometime, or just maybe

Doreen: Don’t, wait, wait, wait.

Jeff: I don’t, let me change my tone. Yeah.

Doreen: I don’t know if they need to, but everybody does. It’s a natural thing that may occur from time to time.

Jeff: Let’s, let’s call it voicing their opinion.

Doreen: Right. So everybody’s gonna whine once in a while.

Jeff: Sure. But if you, it becomes habitual,

Doreen: And you’re doing it in the presence of other people, you’re whining to someone else. It’s one thing for you to say, oh gosh, you know, X, Y, Z. Is another thing to be talking to others about it. And what happens is what.

Jeff: You become known as the whinner..

Doreen: The whiner. And you may not even realize that you’re whining as much as you are. So, you know, if you start losing friendships. If you are finding that people are getting off the phone with you sooner than you think the conversation warrants or you know, they’re not saying yes to a dinner date.

Jeff: Your coworkers are dodging you.

They’re dodging you.

Doreen: It may be because you’re a whinner. Yeah. So let’s talk about seven strategies you can try when you hear yourself complaining. So number one is step back. Take a step back, look at the big picture. Will this really matter to you in five minutes, five months, or five years?

Jeff: Yeah. And the next one is, you know, number two is take a good look within, you know, in other words, study yourself and why are you really complaining?

What’s the real issue?

Doreen: Yeah. What’s the issue?

Jeff: Yeah. Maybe it’s something in your life. Maybe you have the divorce or life after divorces and what you expected it to be, but you have to look within and find out why you are really, you know, what’s pushing your buttons,

Doreen: Correct. And hopefully address that issue.

Jeff: Yeah.

Doreen: Right. The next one is make a game of it. You know, there are things you can do to catch yourself at whining. So one of the things that we read when we studied for this episode was to place a rubber band or some kind of a, you know a scrunchy or something on one hand. One wrist. And each time you catch yourself complaining, take that rubber band and put it over to the opposite wrist.

The goal is to try to see, you know, give yourself a timeframe like within a week or 30 days, whatever timeframe you want to use is to keep the rubber band on the same wrist, right? In other words, not to boom, move it. And if you are moving it, how often are you moving it? What’s number four, Jeff?

Jeff: Well, you wanna make sure that you’re choosing the right channel or the right platform to complain to or to whine to.

Doreen: Yeah. I mean, for example, you may need to talk to somebody about something, but

Jeff: Yeah, I mean, you could hire a coach, you could maybe a therapist, or maybe you do have that best friend and you just say, listen, let me gimme five minutes. I need to vent. And don’t have to say anything back and I promise that five minutes I’ll stop.

Doreen: Yeah. I mean, when we coach our clients. And they complain about something. We like to use this question. Let’s say somebody says, my ex is what?

Jeff: A jerk.

Doreen: Yeah. We’ll say something. Why do you choose to have that thought? Because you can choose to have the thought that your ex is a jerk, which is going to lead into a negative feeling, which is going to likely lead into, lead into your action of whining, which is going to give you a result of nothing.

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: Okay.

Jeff: How does it serve you?

Doreen: But you could choose to think something different. You could choose to find one attribute, for example, he’s a good father or she always takes the time to make sure that our kids are well cared for. You know, find the positive as opposed to the negative. Because if you have the positive thought, it’s going to first of all, feel better.

And it’s going to end up with that better result.

Jeff: Yeah. One more thing on number four, never ever, ever vent or wine or complain on a public platform.

Doreen: Well, and this is really look, freedom of speech. And so we can all decide how we want to speak to the world. And so we’re just suggesting as coaches it may not be the best platform to put something else out as a complaint. But again, you have the right to do that. That’s your first amendment. Right. On a public platform, especially, you know, I’m gonna say as a divorce attorney, when my clients are going through divorce they use these things, so meaning that they’ll bring to court a Facebook post.

Let’s say somebody posted something negative about their spouse as a parent, you know, probably not the best platform to put it out there in the world because one of the things when you’re dealing with shared parental rights or custody rights in a case is in, you know, in Florida we are, there’s a requirement to basically nurture the relationship between the child and the other parent, that means don’t talk negative about them, okay? Because when you’re doing that, you’re not nurturing that, that’s by Florida’s statute. So you wanna be really careful in the platform that you’re using.

Jeff: Number five.

Doreen: Number five is talk about valid concerns.

You may address a genuine concern that can lead to a solution. The key is to share your complaint. If you do need to share a complaint like we discussed about the meal. Maybe not being what you ordered. The key is to share your complaint in a kind way that is seen as helpful to what you want the end result to be, and not critical.

Interesting. I’m gonna go off on a little tangent. Tangent.

Jeff: Tangent.

Doreen: Yeah. My kids for some reason do not like to complain to people out there, for example, a server, so they’ll get the wrong meal or it’s preparing not as they request it, and they will not say anything. This has happened to us many times.

Jeff: Yes.

Doreen: You know, so what we’re suggesting is not that you go to that extreme because you want to be able to get what you paid for what you expect. Okay. Not. Expectations of what we call the manual. That’s another episode. Go back and listen to that. But if you ordered a steak medium and it comes in, it comes to you rare, then complain.

But do it in a kind. Thank you very much for you know, You don’t have to say thank you, but just say, you know, I have requested that the state be prepared medium. As you can see, it’s rare. Would you mind putting this on the grill for another few minutes? Right?

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, I don’t even consider that a complaint.

It’s almost just pointing out something.

Doreen: Right. But it’s  a complaint on what you received. It’s just done with purpose, right? Yeah. In a kind sort of way.

Jeff: Exactly. Which brings me to number six, which is find the positives. I use something called PCP which is Praise Correct Praise. So you’re surrounding a, let’s say, complaint with two positives. So let’s say, your ex-spouse brings the kids home late. You may say, thank you for bringing the kids home. I really hope you had a great time. However, the next time, if you’re gonna be late, I would appreciate you let me know with a phone call.

It’s great and then finish it off with some.

Doreen: Other positive, like, yeah, like it looks like the kids enjoyed this class.

Jeff: Yeah, it looks like the kids had a great time. And we’ll see you tomorrow or next time.

Doreen: Yeah. Exactly this is used a, this concept of PCP is also a great concept for business as well.

You know, when we’re dealing with training employees as an example. We want to encourage the positive action, but also correct the negative things that aren’t going as we expect. So, you know, when you’re dealing with anyone and you’re trying to get a positive result, again, the result line with, is, whatever you’re seeking. In your example, it was to bring the kids home on time. And if you’re gonna be late, the result is you want your ex to tell you in advance, so you’re not sitting there waiting. When I’m dealing with the employees, it’s because I want them to be encouraged and motivated by what they’re doing well, but also to correct the behavior.

So the PCP is a great philosophy and it’s beautiful thing to use with your children. Has anybody tried that with their kids? Using the PCP with them. Jeff: Well,

Doreen: It’s great. Hey, son. Yeah. You’re doing such a good job, but getting your homework done, you know, next time it would be great if we could start a little earlier when mommy request.

I know you’re gonna do great tomorrow on your test.

Jeff: Well, bringing up the kids. That’s, this is where I learned this philosophy was when I was teaching martial arts. When you’re correcting somebody’s posture, correcting their form. And you said, that it looks great. You’re doing a great job.

However, Instead of, but however, let’s keep your hand a little tighter. Do this, this, this, and I think you’re doing great.

Doreen: Right, exactly. So really beautiful thing. And feel, feel how that feels for you. Like, you know, just it’s a kinder way of getting what you want. Right.

Jeff: Definitely.

Doreen: Let’s talk about number seven, which is our final strategy if you find yourself complaining, is practice gratitude.

We kind of started off with this, which basically is remind yourself every day about what you’re grateful for, no matter how small it is. And keep a, you know, I like to keep a gratitude journal in the morning. We do a practice when we wake up where we, uh, have like this morning ritual and, and one of the first things that we do is we give three things that we’re grateful for.

That day. Yeah. It just starts your day off in a better way. And everyone, everyone out there, even if you’re having the most challenging time after divorce or during your divorce, can find something to be grateful for. Just waking up in the morning is something to be grateful for.

Jeff: Exactly.

Doreen: All right. We’re gonna conclude this with talking about a manifesto.

And if you’re a whinner, how you might wanna write some down for yourself. Ours is more general, you know, ours is more about the no whining of the yacht. On the yacht. We use this with each other. Like, we’ll be somewhere, and maybe I’m probably more the whinner than Jeff is, and Jeff will look at me, he goes, no whining on the yacht.

And I’m like, okay, I got it. But if you find that you are, excuse me, whining a lot about something you might wanna write down a no whining manifesto. Like for example, I will not whine about the traffic or I won’t whine about my ex.

Jeff: I won’t whine about the weather.

Doreen: Right. Whatever it is.

Jeff: Yeah. Something you can’t do about anything about.

Doreen: And you know, think about it also, if you are someone who is maybe doing some bad what we call negative self-talk, and we’ve talked about this in other episodes as well, it can be as much as or as little as I will not whine about myself, I will think about myself in a positive way.

Jeff: Right.

Doreen: So you can whine internally, you know what I’m saying? Like I can look in the mirror that morning and say, look at the mirror. Have a thought. I look fat today. And that is a whining internally. Does that make sense?

Jeff: Yeah, absolutely.

Doreen: So you can say, you know what? For a whole week, I’m not gonna whine about anything about myself as well.

Jeff: And when you do things like that, you tend to catch yourself more often.

Doreen: Oh, absolutely.

Jeff: And what happens when you catch yourself more often? You can get rid of the habit.

Doreen: Yeah. So, for the next couple of days, maybe watch yourself, listen to what you’re saying. Use the little rubber brand around your wrist to see how many times you move it and be aware. Are you a whinner? It’s easy to say, you’ll take a hard look at your life to make some positive change, and then you don’t actually do it right. So it’s one thing to say, yes, I’m gonna do this. It’s another thing to actually do it. So just be aware of it. Sounds great. I’m sure that people around you would really, really appreciate it.

And again, this can be something that you might wanna implement in your own home with like your children as well. All right, everybody, so have an amazing week.

Jeff: That was a. Yes, have an amazing week

Doreen: And you know, be thankful for what you do have and all the things that are really positive in your life.

Jeff: And by the way, you do look amazing.

Doreen: Oh, thank you, honey. That was really sweet. All right, we’ll talk to you next week and be kind to yourself. Love each other and

Jeff: You too can have an amazing life after divorce.

Jeff: Thank you. Bye-bye.

You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take. Take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at That’s L A D as in life after

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day and remember. Yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.

Start creating your best life after divorce and book your complimentary Discovery Call