We Love to Complain

I bought the video game Cyberpunk 2077 on its release date. I wasn’t really hyped for the game as others were, but I had moderately high hopes because the setting is cool and I expected the studio to make a good game after Witcher 3.

Well, the game isn’t very good, in my opinion. The open world is lifeless, the AI is terrible, there are too many bugs and the performance is mediocre (not unplayable like on consoles though). My choices didn’t feel like they matter, the “cutscene” at the beginning was terrible and the story, which many people call the redeeming factor, didn’t do much for me (I made a video where I talk more about the game, but also about parts I enjoyed and what I’m discussing next):

My main take-away from this disappointment was something else, though: I realized how much people LOVE to complain. Myself included.

Browsing the Cyberpunk subreddit was almost more entertaining than playing the actual game. There were hundreds of threads with people vocalizing their apparent disappointment and how the studio made false promises. The engagement was crazy, there were thousands of upvotes and comments. And I caught myself reading those upset rants every night … and enjoying it.

Why do we love to complain so much?
I’m not sure. I think it gives us a little spike of positive emotions if we’re in on something together and band together against an “enemy”. It helps if the enemy is a company, a politician or a celebrity, this way we feel like we’re allowed to shit on them.

We’re divided on so many things nowadays – be it politics, Covid or climate change. Having something where we can (almost) unequivocally say: “This sucks!” feels good. We feel understood if we share our distaste for something, it feels good if a group of people shows us “I validate your point of view”. We’re social animals after all, and instead of saying “we believe in the same God” like in the past, now it’s “we hate Tik Tokers” or vegans or whatever is en vogue right now.

Are you guilty of this too? Probably.

Thinking back to my school days, about half of our discussions was complaining about incompetent teachers and unfair tests.

We love to talk about things that we feel are overrated, too.

Fine dining? Skiing? Amusement Parks? Christmas? It feels good to shit on something popular (or to kick someone who’s already down), it’s an easy way to gather laughs and social points.
I’m not sure why, but it feels cool to complain and to put others down.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to complain and to attack the ones who do ridiculous shit or try to get away with unethical stuff. But think about this: There are usually real people who are at the other end. Those are humans, too. It’s easy to punch down. And it’s unimaginable how tough it must be to be at the center of a shitstorm – suicide often seems to be the only way out.

Instead of uniting in what we hate, we should try to unite in love. I know it often feels like hate is more intriguing and powerful than love. If you make a YouTube video about how much you love cats and another one on how much you hate cat ladies (and how they’re pathetic and lonely and bitter), the latter will probably be much more popular.

Misery loves company. But the “connections” you build through hate are vapid and fake. So choose to unite in love, if you can.

The world will be better off, and you’ll be better off too.

😴 What might help you find calm

Intentional ASMR Picks:

Unintentional ASMR Picks: