What to say when you’re told that “some people” are unhappy…

He asks you over to the side of the room for a quite chat. With grave concerns in his eyes, he tells you that “some people” (or worse, “lots of people”) have expressed some discontent about something you’ve said or done. How should you respond?

First, in your heart, remember that you can’t please everyone… not even yourself. And you’ll always make mistakes. So whether for good reasons or bad, some people will always be unhappy. You might have something else to repent of, or you might not. So don’t get too worried.

Next, respond with a simple question, void of anger, bitterness, or fear… “Who?” or “Which people?”

If he doesn’t tell you WHO, ask him, “Exactly how many? Count them.”

I’ve never heard a complaint from “lot’s of people” that’s ended up with any more than 5 individuals… including the person who raised it. That’s their version of “a lot”.

So, simply end the conversation with a pleasant and unemotional voice. “Bob, there’s a good chance those people have already come and chatted to me, in which case they shouldn’t now be talking to you. Encourage them to come back and talk to me. If they haven’t talked to me about something I’ve done, be a good servant of Christ and discourage them from talking to you, and encourage them to come and raise it with me. But Bob, you need to understand, I’m not going to listen to 2nd hand complaints – especially from people who won’t tell me their name.”