What To Do When You Have A Complaint About Someone

I was sitting there, frustrated.

One of my clients was late, again.

I was saying all these things to myself: What is with people? I even sent a reminder! How can she be so unaccountable when she holds such a high position? She has an assistant to manage her calendar – come on!!!

I was upset, and I was blaming someone else.

I took a deep breath.

You’re the problem, Rosanna.

What!? Who said that?!!

Of course, it was the voice in my head. It was the part of me who learned some time ago that, as Stephen Covey says, “I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.”


Or even better, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

So what was missing?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had let certain things happen to me rather than create boundaries to prevent it. I was blaming someone else for a circumstance I didn’t like, when I needed to be blaming myself (with kindness, of course!).

For example, early in my client relationship, I failed to communicate the importance of being on time, and the importance of letting me know 24 hours in advance if something was to come up. I assumed people would simply behave how I expected without creating any formal agreement.

When I owned the fact that my frustration about my client’s timeliness was my own fault, everything changed. I brought it up with her. I acknowledged my mistake of not setting clear expectations at the beginning of our coaching relationship, and I also shared with her the story I was telling myself about her, that she didn’t value our time together because she’d sometimes show up late or cancel with short notice.

Tears came to her eyes when she realized the impact on my day when she didn’t honor my calendar, and when she realized she hadn’t been showing up the way she knew she could. Her intention was not the same as the impact I was feeling on my end, and so we set up a system to improve that.

What a difference it’s made!!!

So, what about you? Do you have a complaint about someone? A common frustration that you’re not dealing with? How has your lack of communication and your lack of boundaries set you up for what you’re experiencing? What action can you take this week to make a difference in this area? Share in the comments below!

“Don’t ask why someone keeps hurting you. Ask why you keep letting them.”

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