Editorial: Chronic complainers are entertainers


While roaming the halls of Seoul International School, a wandering passerby would probably hear the whines and groans of a  passing SIS-ian, venting about the curve on their latest test or the most recent argument they had with a friend. Perhaps it is safe to say that our school community—and our society at large—complains too much. The question is not why, because we already know: complainers are discontent with their circumstances and most likely would like to see a change. The true question is whether this grumbling and grouching are truly valuable. After a thorough examination of the student body throughout my high school career, I have arrived at the conclusion that though there are conspicuous reasons to refrain from complaining, ultimately, there is an underlying perk we receive from it that we often fail to recognize. 

It would be shortsighted to claim that complaining is totally justified. Complaining, by essence, is an inherently negative activity. As a chronic complainer myself, I have frequently been on the receiving end of the words, “Don’t be so pessimistic! Lighten up!” And rightfully so. Over-complaining releases cortisol, or the stress hormone, which may lead to the accumulation of more mental burden. The elevation of this hormone interferes with individuals’ capacity to learn and increases the chances of a myriad of health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. All in all, one may say that complaining is an unhealthy activity to regularly engage in.

Still, while it definitely is not ideal to pull a full-fledged Hulk stunt in the midst of a complaining session, smart complaining works in humanity’s favor. Take a look at any modern invention we have today. 

“This candlelight is too dim.” 

The lightbulb. 

“This horse is too slow.” 

The automobile. 

These advancements that originate from complaints extend to the smaller community level as well. A notable Tiger Times editor-in-chief once said, “These lunch lines are too long.” 

A new system. 

But what a cliche reason to say that complaining is justified, is it not? We all know that complaining may have utilitarian benefits by rectifying the discomfort in our daily lives; this has been a fact long-established. Is there any rationale for justifying complaining besides making inventions and policy changes? 

The short answer is this: complainers are entertainers—the biggest merit I find in complaining is in its light-heartedness.

Whether it be why the latest superhero movie sucked or how Mom just won’t get off your back, complaining is a universal force that incorporates elements of humor and serious conversation to create the best bonding experience, both between the best of friends and the most awkward of acquaintances. This insane ability for such a simple activity to bring masses of people together trumps any argument regarding whatever hormone complaining releases or its cynical outlook. So long as a certain line is kept, complaining is sensational: it serves as the basic makeup of nearly any conversation and is quite possibly the epitome of high school life. 

These four years are certainly difficult: young adults are juggling grades and extracurriculars, managing their social lives, and learning to find themselves for the first time. With such oscillating circumstances, having a little humor in our lives to keep us going through the tough times becomes one of the most priceless things we can gain.

Sure, complaining may be negative at times. But when that meandering passerby walks into SIS and hears the constant griping of the student body, at least he will leave with a light chuckle.