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Published on December 8th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

What’s the difference between transparency and complaining?





COURTNEY WRITES: Where’s the line between being open and complaining?

It’s hard to be honest about my struggles without being whiny or gossipy. Most of the time it’s people related so that makes it even harder. How can I be open with my church but still kind to the others involved without also complaining about the situation?


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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected]



  • Johari Ganda

    I relate to this so much and I understand what you’re going through. Being open is getting it off your chest. If we store all our sadness, anger, regret, or whatever emotions we feel inside, they will intensify until they explode in one big mess. It’s far better to release the emotions when we feel them. But when a person chooses to focus on the problem, instead of the stressful emotions they are feeling, complaining is inevitable.

  • I think it all depends on your heart attitude. If you’re talking about your struggles just because you want the attention on you then it will come across as complaining. But if you’re sharing what your going through in order to connect with someone and get advice, that is more transparent. I hope that helps!

  • Haylie

    I have actually been thinking about this question a whole lot lately. I think if I tried to round up all the jumbled thoughts in my head, I’d end up rambling things that aren’t worth saying 😉 I am looking forward to reading comments on this thread! Thanks for submitting this DQ, Courtney!

  • I guess it can come down to what you are looking for in what you are saying. If you are looking for sympathy, you’re on a dangerous path but if you are looking for a solution then although you still need to be careful, it’s more being open. Another way to check is if you are being consistently negative about the person or situation and never have anything good to say, or are just having a pity-party, you need to examine yourself. It’s difficult and it’s a good question. I guess it’s something we have to learn as we go, seek good advice on, be self-aware, and learn from our mistakes.

  • Martial Artist

    In my mind, it depends on two things: who you say it to, and how you say it.

    If you just blurt out your deep struggles to random people, they will probably find you whiny and looking for attention. You should only tell these things to people who know and understand you. Parents, close friends, mentors, and perhaps youth pastors come to mind. If you make it clear to them that you want their help, they will probably be able to forgive the fact that you may sound like you’re complaining. You need to make sure you can trust these people. That way, if you did sound like you were complaining, you can be sure that they would not gossip about you.

    And when you say it, do your best to order your thoughts logically and coherently. Honestly, I have a hard time with this, since I am more of an emotional person. So in my mind, if you can conquer this, you can do pretty much anything. :)

    Also, don’t name drop, unless you’re in a private, one-on-one setting. Name drops can make people extremely uncomfortable, and the comments can be easily taken the wrong way. I know this from experience and it’s not fun. If you’re in a group Q&A, try to be vague.

    Hope this helps!

  • Louis Gervais

    Often I’m open with my home church in America when describing the escalating state of things here in South Africa, and whereas the South Africans sometimes think I’m complaining, I’m actually just trying to be honest with my American church so that they can pray for the circumstances in S.A..

  • Chloe

    I was actually just talking with my Mom about this yesterday. I feel like it very much depends on who you tell your struggles to. I always try to make it a point to pray about whatever I’m dealing with before going to one of my family members or friends and start venting to them. So many times prayer helps and lifts you up, and when you’re done praying then the problems don’t seem as ‘blown up’ as they seemed before.

    But sometimes, it helps to tell someone. I, personally, do not like it when people proclaim it to the world that they’re having a hard day (like facebook, youtube..etc). Rather I find that if you go to a friend or a family member who you know will always point you to God with your struggles, they’re advice and/or sympathy will be so much more meaningful than that of random people that respond to your post on facebook. It’s often not needful to tell everyone around you, they don’t need to know.

    I’m sorry if I misunderstood your question or if this comment is offensive in any way, that is absolutely not my intention. I have followed the Rebelution for quite some time, but I haven’t commented hardly ever. So, hello Rebelution teens :-)

    • Okie Gal

      Great advice, thanks. And welcome to the Reb!

      • Chloe

        Thanks for the welcome!

    • Haylie

      Well, hello there, Chloe! Thanks for commenting. I think your advice is very helpful :)

      • Chloe

        Thank you, Haylie!

    • Natie

      I’ve been doing the same thing: reading it but not commenting. 😉

      • Chloe

        I wonder how many people actually do read the posts and look at all the comment conversations but never comment :-)

  • I really think @martialartists:disqus basically said it all!! I just want to add: it’s best to put the person in the best light and try not to be all negative! for random example: let’s pretend my brother always calls me names and it’s making me feel self-conscious about how I look (My brothers don’t do this to me at ALL, I’m jsut creating a scenario). I could say something like, “Someone I’m really close to and around a lot often calls me mean names that make me feel self-conscious and really hurt my feelings! Maybe they aren’t meaning it in a rude way, maybe they are just trying to play around, but it does still hurt my feelings!” something like that, you’re just acknowledgin what’s going on, but also giving the person the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t maybe intentionally being mean to you. Does that make any sense??
    I hope that helps some! =) Beyond that, just take Martial Atrist’s advice! =)

  • thatcher jane

    I have the same problem, I can’t seem to be open , think it is because I keep telling myself to shut up and stop complaining that it has become natural, and I don’t tell people my struggles because I will come off as dramatic and whiny, I can’t find an In-between.

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