Energy Vampires
May 24, 2007 12:41 AM   Subscribe

How To Deal With Negative People. "They are like human black holes which suddenly come out of nowhere and just suck the life out of you." Via The Presurfer.
posted by amyms (132 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
You douchetard hoebag, stop posting lame-ass FPPs and listen to MY problems!
posted by po at 12:46 AM on May 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


You have sucked the life out of me, po.
posted by amyms at 12:55 AM on May 24, 2007


I love you. Thank you. I'm sorry.

(It didn't work. Bastards.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:05 AM on May 24, 2007


Metafilter: You douchetard hoebag, stop posting la-- oh wait, that's a tad on-point, isn't it?
posted by dreamsign at 1:06 AM on May 24, 2007


Jeez, how could this article possibly be useful in a place like Metafilter, where people only speak encouraging words and good cheer grows like grapes on the vine?
posted by hifiparasol at 1:12 AM on May 24, 2007


You douchetard hoebag, stop posting lame-ass FPPs and listen to MY problems!


Don't be afraid of love. Are you afraid of love?
Are you afraid of yourself? We love you... friend.

;)
posted by Many bubbles at 1:17 AM on May 24, 2007


Just smile and remain completely detached.

Sounds like catatonia to me.

Scowl and banish these bloody happy people from your life.
posted by Shave at 1:19 AM on May 24, 2007


Whenever the negative tirade starts just smile and don’t say anything.

STFU. There's nothing I hate more than cheerful, positive people telling me to just smile and take it. The only response to negativity is MORE negativity. Show those black holes what the pull of gravity really feels like.
posted by three blind mice at 1:24 AM on May 24, 2007 [8 favorites]


warning sign #81: carelessly drawn 'rainbows' a.k.a. wrongbows
posted by arialblack at 1:26 AM on May 24, 2007


Jeez, how could this article possibly be useful in a place like Metafilter, where people only speak encouraging words and good cheer grows like grapes on the vine?

Of course! That's EXACTLY how I experience MetaFilter... I only posted the link to the article so that we could point and laugh at how the other netizens live.

/yeah right...

No really, I luuurve MetaFilter (and all of its functional and dysfunctional denizens)... I just posted the article because I thought it was interesting in a generalized sort of way.
posted by amyms at 1:29 AM on May 24, 2007


You notice what the author does? She starts off talking about annoying people, abusive people, people who make you feel like shooting yourself.... and then, so casually that you don't even notice her doing it, extends this classification to cover everyone who has anything to say that's "negative." So, like, if I note that nine tenths of all TV shows suck donkey dick, that we're attacking defenseless countries, and that Bob Dylan just ain't what he used to be, then I'm negative and, according to Ms. Pratt, I'm basically the same as a guy against whom you'd take out a restraining order.

And anyway, when did "positive" comments become some sort of ideal to which we should all aspire? I always thought the objective was not to be positive or to be negative but, rather, to be accurate. If I say that my life sucks, the question isn't whether my statement should be followed by a smiley face or a frowny face. The question is, does my statement accurately reflect reality? Anyone who doesn't put this concern before all others is dealing with a head full of faulty wiring.
posted by Clay201 at 1:31 AM on May 24, 2007 [21 favorites]


My first time driving through Nebraska, I saw a complete double rainbow and almost shat my pants. Figuratively.
posted by phaedon at 1:32 AM on May 24, 2007


Is this a chapter from The Secret? Does magic await me if I just believe and click my heels 3 times?
posted by zerolives at 1:33 AM on May 24, 2007


And anyway, when did "positive" comments become some sort of ideal to which we should all aspire? I always thought the objective was not to be positive or to be negative but, rather, to be accurate. If I say that my life sucks, the question isn't whether my statement should be followed by a smiley face or a frowny face. The question is, does my statement accurately reflect reality?

Well said, Clay201.
posted by amyms at 1:43 AM on May 24, 2007


OR: How to make people hate you
posted by borkingchikapa at 2:07 AM on May 24, 2007


Just replace the words "negative people" with "assholes" and it reads much better.
posted by zardoz at 2:14 AM on May 24, 2007


Somewhat related, at least in the context of volunteer collaborative software development, is How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People (And You Can Too) by a couple of the developers of the Subversion project.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:15 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


You know how we look back on the fears and concerns of the ancients and kind of smirk? Like, how we're all dubious about hypnotism but the Victorians just couldn't get over it, or like how people in the 80s were all worried about Satanists but nothing really happened with that?

I feel like, in this way that I can't really describe properly, future generations are going to look back on us in the same way and laugh at our fear of negative people and energy-drainers and our tips for dealing with them. They'll know that this was apparently a serious issue for countless office workers in the early 21st century. They'll know it, but they won't quite believe it. "Negative people? Are you serious?"
posted by Tiresias at 2:25 AM on May 24, 2007


The way I read this as a MeFi directed document (which it probably isn't):

The forces of stfu vs. the forces of goodlinks. In other wordss,
meh vs nickyskye.
posted by maryh at 2:26 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Clay --

My take on this -- and on the whole concept of "keeping positive" -- is that even though 90 percent of TV shows suck (IMO, it's more like 70) and we've got the biggest bonehead in history sitting in the White House, that's no reason for me to be pissed off or unhappy. I'm in control of how happy I am, and I'm in control of how unpleasant stimuli affect my mood and my well-being (it's not always easy to exert this control, but that doesn't mean it's not there). Even if I recognize what sucks ass about the world, I'd still rather be happy than sad.

It doesn't mean I shut my eyes and ignore unpleasant realities, nor do I fool myself into believing that they're magically going to get better. What I do is assign them to the portion of my brain labeled "acknowledge, do what you can to fight it, and move on." Whereas the more pleasant things, like the fact that more people are wising up to global warming, or the new friend I met today, or the French toast I had for breakfast, or the third season finale of Lost, get assigned to the part of my brain labeled "acknowledge, hold close to you, draw emotional energy from."

I only gave this article the once-over myself, so I'm not going to refute or defend it, but it sounds to me like a lot of people on this thread are having some pretty knee-jerk reactions to it simply because it embraces upbeat positivity as a lifestyle choice.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:30 AM on May 24, 2007 [7 favorites]


having some pretty knee-jerk reactions to it simply because it embraces upbeat positivity as a lifestyle choice.

sounds like someones being negative to me
posted by criticalbill at 2:35 AM on May 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


sounds like someones being negative to me

you don't have to be so upbeat about it
posted by phaedon at 2:38 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, can "I love you. Thank You. Sorry" replace "See a doctor" for all those AskMe medical threads?
posted by bunglin jones at 2:40 AM on May 24, 2007


If I say that my life sucks, the question isn't whether my statement should be followed by a smiley face or a frowny face. The question is, does my statement accurately reflect reality? Anyone who doesn't put this concern before all others is dealing with a head full of faulty wiring.

The problem with accuracy as the overriding criterion is that some kinds of statement tend to be self-fulfilling. If I start out saying "today is going to suck", or "today is going to be awesome", that's going to affect my interpretation of the day's events. I may completely fail to notice things that don't support my preconceived notion.

If I want to be accurate above all else, I should start every day saying "today is going to suck" because I can manage to make any day suck fairly easily. Awesomeness is harder to do consistently.

To a large extent, the self-fulfilling aspect of negative statements can be avoided by being as specific as possible. "My job sucks" is an improvement over "my life sucks", and "my boss is a pain in the ass" is better still. By the time you reach "my boss sometimes takes his insecurities out on me" you're starting to really get some control over the situation.
posted by teleskiving at 2:41 AM on May 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


my boss sometimes takes his insecurities out on me

Leave him a note. On the fridge.

"I am a strong and healthy person. I am a strong and healthy person. I am a strong and healthy person..."
posted by maxwelton at 2:55 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm in control of how unpleasant stimuli affect my mood and my well-being (it's not always easy to exert this control, but that doesn't mean it's not there).

This is another concept I've heard a hundred times before and never once considered buying into. I just don't see how anyone can actually 'control how stimuli affect them.' That's kind of contradictory to the whole concept of stimuli, isn't it? If I'm sitting here and I'm bored, could I just suddenly decide to not be bored? If my mother dies, could I choose to be happy during the funeral? Are there limits to this power? The people I've met who've claimed to have this ability, I've never seen them exhibit it. They get ticked off by little things and knocked over by big things the same as everyone else.

What I do is assign them to the portion of my brain labeled "acknowledge, do what you can to fight it, and move on."

I'm not sure I really disagree with this approach. It's just that it leaves out the part where you actually experience the suckiness of the thing you're acknowledging. There's the feeling of looking at the Iraq war and saying "this is evil" and then there's the decision to do something about it. How can those two things not go hand in hand? And if you could go through life not feeling outrage, frustration, sadness, etc. about such things, how many people would actually want to?

(That's not a rhetorical question by the way. I'd love to know... what percentage of the population, given a choice, would go that route?)

Also, a note on this term "move on." Presumably we agree that you can't spend your entire life sitting in a corner, thinking "Jesus. How many people are dead over there?" If you did that, you'd never, you know, go to work, have sex, buy comic books. But the inability to transition from feeling pissed (or sad or whatever) to feeling something else (maybe happy or curious or hopeful) about another subject... that's not what we're talking about. Neither of the approaches under discussion has a monopoly on 'moving on.' There's no reason why someone who doesn't 'control their reactions to stimuli' would necessarily be handicapped on this score. Indeed, if we follow the logic here, they'd have to do well in this area because, as soon as another stimulus comes along, they're going to feel differently.

Finally, I want to revisit the concept of accuracy. Isn't it best that our feelings accurately reflect what's going on around us? How do I know what to do, where to go, what to consider important... if I don't know how I feel about things? I mean, I'm a pretty reserved guy, but I'm not a Vulcan. Logic and rationality aren't going to take care of everything.
posted by Clay201 at 3:08 AM on May 24, 2007


Everyone here are among the luckiest people alive. Well over half the planet (probably more than 90%) has a shittier life than us.

That's what keeps me going. Then I get depressed about the rest of the poor bastards in the world while us kings still sit on our thrones feeling sorry for ourselves.

Uugh, I've just sucked the energy out of myself.
posted by twistedonion at 3:09 AM on May 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


I feel like, in this way that I can't really describe properly, future generations are going to look back on us in the same way and laugh at our fear of negative people and energy-drainers and our tips for dealing with them.

In the future there won't be people you absolutely dread dealing with because to them, the world is apparently a pit of suck and they want to make sure everyone sees it that way, too?

I want a time machine right fucking now.
posted by Many bubbles at 3:14 AM on May 24, 2007


For utter bonkersness, vaguely related, check out the third comment down on Hitch's piece at WaPo. If I could link direct I would. It's from an "Eclati-On".
posted by imperium at 3:15 AM on May 24, 2007


If I start out saying "today is going to suck", or "today is going to be awesome", that's going to affect my interpretation of the day's events. I may completely fail to notice things that don't support my preconceived notion.

While I've heard a thousand people talk about this phenomenon you describe, I don't think I've observed one example of it in action. I've seen people in crappy moods for one reason or another and, sure, it has an effect on their day. But that's very different from deciding in advance that the day will suck. Likewise with the "going to be awesome" version. I've seen plenty of people get excited about, you know, a trip to a the beach or a night of bondage (or both), but no one who decided in advance how it would turn out.

So, another non-rhetorical question: people actually do that? Decide ahead of time the outcome? Maybe I'm just too insecure and wishy-washy, but I doubt the outcome of everything. I still find it hard to believe that one of the democratic or republican front-runners is going to end up in the white house. I mean... have you heard their campaign speeches?
posted by Clay201 at 3:31 AM on May 24, 2007


Oh, and I shoulda said...

The problem with accuracy as the overriding criterion is that some kinds of statement tend to be self-fulfilling.

But... if you're concerned with accuracy, aren't you less likely to make these sorts of assumptions/predictions? I mean, the most accurate statement you can make about the day that's just beginning is "I don't know what's going to happen," right?
posted by Clay201 at 3:43 AM on May 24, 2007


The only real energy vampires in the world are extroverts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:49 AM on May 24, 2007 [12 favorites]


I just don't see how anyone can actually 'control how stimuli affect them.' That's kind of contradictory to the whole concept of stimuli, isn't it?

I'm glad you kept my parenthetical caveat in your quote -- I never said it was easy. (To clarify before moving on: I don't mean you can control the stimuli itself, but you can control your reaction to it.) For me, it's a matter of saying "I can choose to be bothered by this, or I can choose to move on to something more constructive than being pissed off." It's a skill I've worked hard to cultivate, and I'll be the first to admit that it's easier on some days than on others.

Someone upthread mentioned catatonia, and I think that's an easy trap to fall into -- I'm not advocating serene acceptance of The Shit Life Can Sometimes Throw At You; I'm advocating a sense of optimistic confidence. Problems can be solved, people as a whole can get smarter, and this whole crazy mess we call the human race will someday figure out how to go about doing things. And -- for me at least -- outrage doesn't fuel my actions as much as the belief that those actions will make a difference.

Do I get outraged and upset about Iraq? Sure -- I get outraged and upset about a lot of things. Hell, I cried during the scene in Planet Earth where the polar bear starves to death. But my outrage won't bring the troops home, nor will it give some poor Iraqi kid his legs back. My actions, on the other hand, can have an impact, even if it's tiny tiny tiny (like educating myself, or educating someone else, or giving a few bucks to someone in a position to do some good with it). But I did something good, and tomorrow I'll try to do something better.

I dunno -- I admit that after a while, my position breaks down into a chorus of "Accentuate the Positive." But it works for me. It's not that I shut out the bad stuff -- it's just that I lend a lot of credence to the notion that I'm working as hard as I can to make the world a little better than it was when I got here, and that helps keep me sane.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:52 AM on May 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


In a nutshell:
It’s not your fault

Awesome. I'll have another, barkeep.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:56 AM on May 24, 2007


people actually do that? Decide ahead of time the outcome?

I'm really tired and shouldn't still be posting, so I'm going to try to extricate myself from this. But yeah, it sort of works. It's complicated and I haven't mastered it yet, and it's a heck of a lot less simple than devotees of The Secret would have you believe, but it's very possible to wake up in the morning and say to yourself, "Today I am going to focus on the good things that happen to me and not let the bad things bother me, and therefore have a pretty damn good day," and then spend your day doing just that.

Anger and sadness and frustration aren't like grief. When your mom dies, you need to grieve in order to process the fact that your entire world has changed in an irreversible way. But bad shit happens all the time. You don't need to constantly adjust to the fact that you live in a country with a shitty president and shitty health care. It's the status quo. So why be upset about it? You don't have to be upset to solve the problem. You don't even have to be upset in order to notice the problem. You just have to notice that it's something that's not good, and do what you can to change it.

If it helps, I think of it like this: "Yes. George Bush is a complete douchebag. So why would I want to give someone who's a complete douchebag any control at all over my emotions? Seriously, fuck that douchebag." It's also how I think of the guy who just cut me off in traffic, or the bitchy waiter at the restaurant this morning. Or, put even more succinctly: Don't let the bastards get you down.

Jesus, I'm all over the place here. I'm going to bed.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:06 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Now tell me something positive.
posted by pompomtom at 4:09 AM on May 24, 2007


I mean, the most accurate statement you can make about the day that's just beginning is "I don't know what's going to happen," right?

If you turn that into, "I don't know for sure what's going to happen", then I'll agree with you. Sometimes you'll actually have a pretty good idea what's going to happen, and denying that wouldn't be accurate.

I'm finding myself wanting to take the position - which I started moving towards in my last comment - that accuracy is (relatively) more important for precise, specific statements whereas positivity is (relatively) more important for more general, subjective statements. I think this gives you the best of both worlds.
posted by teleskiving at 4:15 AM on May 24, 2007


My first time driving through Nebraska, I saw a complete double rainbow and almost shat my pants. Figuratively.

We had one here last week. A full 180 degrees of double rainbow goodness. Even better sharper, more saturated colours than I've ever seen in a rainbow. It was gorgeous.

Ah... so, STFU noob.
posted by dreamsign at 4:45 AM on May 24, 2007


If I start out saying "today is going to suck", or "today is going to be awesome", that's going to affect my interpretation of the day's events.

...I've seen people in crappy moods for one reason or another and, sure, it has an effect on their day.


having a pleasant day =! having a positive impact on your world

Why not skip the middleman and just douse yourself with prozac?
posted by dreamsign at 4:48 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


How To Deal With Negative People. "They are like human black holes which suddenly come out of nowhere and just suck the life out of you."

Let me guess. Clicking that link will take me to an article written by an American, right? The whole idea of "negative people" being a problem that needs to be "dealt with", so these unhappy people don't harsh your buzz... and the idea of learning this through some kind of self-help studies... sounds like corporate American bull cream to me.
posted by Termite at 4:52 AM on May 24, 2007


Props for mentioning ho'oponopono. Really, it's your fault if anything bothers you.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:54 AM on May 24, 2007


The only real energy vampires in the world are extroverts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher


I prefer the crabbiness of Metafilter.
posted by Termite at 5:03 AM on May 24, 2007


There's a certain 12 step program with which I am familiar that instructs its members to list the things for which they are grateful everyday. Not only does this bizarre practice make said members feel better, but in many cases it stops them from slowly killing themselves. If that counts as "working," then it works. True, probably not for everyone.

This program also teaches that some people just dig negativity. They say that the world sucks, and that they don't like it. But actually it just pleases them to imagine and say that the world sucks. They get a comforting feeling out of it, and they don't even know it. I believe this to be true among a certain minority of folks.
posted by MarshallPoe at 5:12 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


The only real energy vampires in the world are extroverts.

If it werent for us, introverts would never have anybody to talk to at all.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


your energy starts to fizzle

you're gonna want to remove that to a low flame.

-or-

Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something, when you come in on Monday, and you're not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?

Lawrence: No... no man, shit, no man, I believe you'd get your ass kicked saying something like that man.
posted by mr_book at 5:33 AM on May 24, 2007


When people are mean to me, I just smile, smile, and plot my revenge, which could come at any time, without warning, and generally involves some mixture of goat feces, calipers, sandpaper, and a gift certificate to Benihanas. I won't get into the precise details, but it's both exquisitely wicked and a pretty nice night of sushi.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:07 AM on May 24, 2007


Oh please. Just stick an icepick in your forehead. Problem solved.

No, seriously, how about trying not to be so judgmental (negativity may be in the eye of the beholder), and not regarding other people necessarily as accurate mirrors or appropriate sources of energy.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:21 AM on May 24, 2007


I say we give these tips a real world test. Can we get this article translated into Farsi, print up a million copies, and leaflet Iraq? Or at least we put "I love you. Thank you. I'm sorry." in Farsi on little strips of paper in several hundred thousand Chinese fortune cookies, and ship them post haste to Baghdad.

Can't turn out worse than everything else we've tried.
posted by paulsc at 6:24 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


The best explanation I've heard for Americans' addiction to positivity is that so many Americans are employed in "sales." Their livelihood depends on the ability to try to propose a sale to a customer, and if they get rejected, do it all over again. And again. And again, until they make their quota. Since this is so discouraging, there's a huge industry that caters to these workers to encourage them to "stay positive." Salesmen need to radiate happiness and success at all times, because, hey, the product has to be the best thing ever that everyone wants to buy, so if the salesman isn't just excited about the product at all times, there must be something wrong with it.

Right after they've finished telling you some tragic story, say to them, "now tell me a positive story"

If I said that to someone who had just told me the story about how her father died when she was a teenager, I wouldn't blame her if she never spoke to me again. What the heck is wrong with people? When someone's telling a tragic story, it's usually to confide in the person they're telling the story to. I think this attitude is a symptom of what I described above-- no one is allowed to wallow in sadness to experience it, even for a moment... because if they do that, customers might see that you're not beaming with happiness, and you might not make the sale!

There's a difference between "negative" people-- which is to say obnoxious, abusive jerks -- and people who are sad or acting sad in that moment. The writer doesn't differentiate between these two. The hot air balloon and rainbow at the top of the webpage should have been a tip-off that it was full of BS.

Oh, am I being negative and sucking your energy into a black hole? I'm sorry.
posted by deanc at 6:29 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


So is this one of those things, where if you're sitting there thinking "Hmm... I don't really know anyone like that..." odds are it's you?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:29 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


If I say that my life sucks, the question isn't whether my statement should be followed by a smiley face or a frowny face. The question is, does my statement accurately reflect reality? Anyone who doesn't put this concern before all others is dealing with a head full of faulty wiring.
posted by Clay201


Obviously, we've all been wasting our lives. Our primary concern must be: does Clay201's lfe suck? Let's get on it.

To put us in the proper frame of mind, I suggest we meditate upon the Goddamn Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the shitty things I cannot change, and the assholes who do them to me;
courage to change the few insignificant and worthless things I can;
and wisdom to know when to end the futile struggle.

posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:30 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


How to deal with people and problems that upset you:

STEP 1 - Place fingers in ears.
STEP 2 - Skip at a steady pace.
STEP 3 - Close eyes.
STEP 4 - Sing, "La la la la la la."
STEP 5 - Continue until someone gives you lithium.
posted by SassHat at 6:39 AM on May 24, 2007


"Yes. George Bush is a complete douchebag. So why would I want to give someone who's a complete douchebag any control at all over my emotions? Seriously, fuck that douchebag."

My mom always says "He's not paying rent in your head, don't let him live there!" (about anyone I'm stressing over, not specifically dubya)
posted by arcticwoman at 6:41 AM on May 24, 2007 [4 favorites]




You can best handle negative people by drawing a Señor Wences face on the side your hand and parroting everything they say back at them in a really high pitched Spanish accent.
posted by The Straightener at 6:43 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just take people for their absolute value.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:47 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I logged in just to favorite Clay201's comment. This article confounds so many different kinds of people that it's effectively worthless as a diagnosis or a plan of action.
posted by fake at 7:03 AM on May 24, 2007


jonmc writes "The only real energy vampires in the world are extroverts.

"If it werent for us, introverts would never have anybody to talk to at all."


You underestimate the voices in my head (they say "Hi!", BTW)
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:05 AM on May 24, 2007


If I said that to someone who had just told me the story about how her father died when she was a teenager, I wouldn't blame her if she never spoke to me again. What the heck is wrong with people?

MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!

but seriously folks;

I think 'tragic' in the article came with a sense of sarcasm. Someone telling a damaging story of their upbringing is a valid expression of 'negativity'.

But there are some people who absolutely MUST shit on every. single. thing. they can think of, and combating their litany of whining with "now tell me something positive" is, if not an effective way to drop that particular defense mechanism, then is the most polite way to think of to say "Shut up you fucking baby."
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:09 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


but the article's 100% right ... this is what you must say to yourself when these awful people start harshing your mellow

"i am special, i do not deserve to hear how rotten your life is ... i am a fluffy love bunny and cannot afford to roll around in your dirt ... i am a precious little sunbeam and you are blocking my light"
posted by pyramid termite at 7:11 AM on May 24, 2007


This article confounds so many different kinds of people

Well, that's true, but in context, I think you meant to use the word "conflate."
posted by deanc at 7:12 AM on May 24, 2007


Obviously, we've all been wasting our lives. Our primary concern must be: does Clay201's lfe suck? Let's get on it.

Finally, an ideology I can endorse.
posted by Clay201 at 7:19 AM on May 24, 2007


I find that screaming "MIND-POISON!!!" at the top of my lungs at any negative person when they start to speak settles things pretty quickly.

If they persist, I just pretend that they're dead. Only problem is that I'm a little too good at that and usually end up freaking myself out. Later, when they find me holed up in a closet crying and clutching one of my many homemade crucifixes, I scream "MIND-POISON!!!" at them and the process begins anew.

I live a very active lifestyle.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:28 AM on May 24, 2007 [11 favorites]


"... you are blocking my light"
"...and if you do not stop I will tell you how much what you just said really really hurt my feelings. I'll tell you why it hurt my feelings so much, and then I'll tell you which feelings, specifically it hurt.
Then I'll tell you about how my dad once said the same thing to me and if he had not said just that I would be a better, happier person.
Then I'd tell you again how you hurt my feelings, even as you were walking and then running away I will start yelling at you about how you have no right, no right to tramp on me that way and you must be a real bitter son of a bitch to think you can just walk over people whenever you like you worthless sack of goat shit...I hope you die miserable and alone."

tra la!
posted by From Bklyn at 7:29 AM on May 24, 2007


This entire thread has got a bad case of the Mondays.
posted by cotterpin at 7:31 AM on May 24, 2007


cotterpin, it's like waving a red flag in front of a bull ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:34 AM on May 24, 2007


I was going to write an article entitled How to Deal with Insufferably Positive People Without Resorting to Profanity or Violence, but frankly I don't have the energy, and it would probably suck anyway. Why bother.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:39 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there are a lot of toxic people that need to be wiped out. But on the flip side there are also just a lot of superficial people who throw out the term negative to mean "more intense than I can handle," and that's different. Your life may be on a rollercoaster & instead of getting support from someone, it kills their buzz because you're supposed to be there for them, smiling and saying happy things. So let's just say the dentist says you need to have all of your teeth replaced & it's going to cost your life savings -- someone who has never had a cavity will say, "You need to snap out of it. You're being negative. Don't be so upset." and then change the subject back to the bad polish job they got at the nail salon or something.

Lately I tend to say screw them too. But hey, maybe I'm being negative.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:00 AM on May 24, 2007


the question isn't whether my statement should be followed by a smiley face or a frowny face.

Just Remember -- A Smile is a Frown Turned Upside Down! :-)
posted by ericb at 8:10 AM on May 24, 2007


I'm starting to wonder if the obsession with "being positive" will eventually be classified as a psychosis. This seems to be a uniquely American concoction, so I'm wondering why if this is so AWESOME! that no one else has picked up on it en mass?
posted by Talanvor at 8:12 AM on May 24, 2007


Can we get this article translated into Farsi, print up a million copies, and leaflet Iraq? Or at least we put "I love you. Thank you. I'm sorry." in Farsi on little strips of paper in several hundred thousand Chinese fortune cookies, and ship them post haste to Baghdad.

Actually, we should have the article translated into Arabic and Kurdish before dropping the leaflets over Baghdad. Save the Farsi for Iran.
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on May 24, 2007


No, translate them into Farsi. Don't wanna mess with a perfect record.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:24 AM on May 24, 2007


If it werent for us, introverts would never have anybody to talk to at all.

We're ok with that. Now hush.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


No, translate them into Farsi. Don't wanna mess with a perfect record.

Exactly. And by all means make sure the linguists aren't gay!
posted by ericb at 8:28 AM on May 24, 2007


Do I have to be the one to explain to paulsc that they speak Mesopotamian Arabic in central Iraq, not Farsi?
posted by deanc at 8:34 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Negative people should be exalted and revered as mystics and gurus.

The negative people are way ahead of you. They have evolved. Negativity is wisdom, positivity is blissful oblivion.

The negative person has learned everything they can from their job or station in life. The novelties and thrills of that great lie of the "world opening up before you" are replaced with the understanding that where you are right now is all there is. The world is closed corridors, not wide open spaces. There is no great adventure waiting for you tomorrow. In a very real quantum mechanical sense your future lightcone projects entirely from your little cubicle with your little plant and your cute little cat poster. Suns will die and whole planets will be rent asunder but your life of positivity will be happily punctuated by little more than 10:00am coffee and the thrill of a new britcom on PBS.

Salty sailors with sun-leathered skin are at this very moment raising untold treasure from sunken Spanish Galleons, and you stare at the mirror every morning wondering if wearing a pink shirt and a pink tie will make you look gay, or just preppy.

Marines are right now choking on the stench of piss and death in some godforsaken Baghdad back alley, paying not to God but to the fucking helicopter pilot to risk his ass for another three minutes to cover theirs, dodging both the bullets of power-mad insurgents and the ghosts of their nation's history. And you sit there wondering if the jam on your toast is going straight to your thighs?

Positivity is the great dead end. Positivity is the mantra of "this is good enough, after all". Positivity is the blue pill, the conscious decision to accept propaganda as truth. Positivity is a devil's bargain - you believe my lies if I believe yours. Positivity is sleep.

Negativity, by contrast, is awesome. Negativity is wide awake and walking the city streets at 3:30am, wondering if somewhere a long lost tribal brother or sister is at that very moment walking in their jungle feeling the pulse of nature the way you feel the pulse of the city and thinking the same thing you are. Negativity is seeing this world for the artifice that it is, and grudgingly playing along, for now, because you know that tomorrow could very well be worse than today, and you need to be ready, because Peppy Office Girl and SportsTalk Sales Guy sure as fuck won't be.

Negativity is the realization that the hands of the clock, so fragile and thin, are in truth relentless. Those hands work on your life the way a tiny stream of water works on a stone foundation drip by drip by drip, until one day, suddenly, the whole castle crashes down.

Negativity is the understanding that you are from stardust will return to stardust - you are a temporary sympathetic vibration in the fabric of the universe.

What the blind and sleeping call negativity is really the understanding and acceptance of this life in its proper context. It is the wisdom to see this life as part of the whole Life, the wisdom to know that the powerpoint presentation you're working on
Does.
Not.
Matter.
because somewhere an animal is the last member of its species and it's running for its life.

And once you accept that it does not matter, you are no longer worried about it. You do it effortlessly because you see it for what it is. It is paint-by-number pictures and a handful of words on a screen, not a gunfight in Fallujah or a thousand pounds of gold at the bottom of the icy Atlantic. It is easy because it is an improvised performance in a play within a play, a shadow of shadow of reality.

Positivity is about getting onto your well traveled career path. Negativity is living life as an edge case.

And when it the presentation is done, you don't care how it goes. Good or bad, praise or probation, what's the difference? You know that we are all just one bad day from traveling state to state at night in a car with stolen plates, one hand on the wheel, and the other on a gun.

And when that day comes - and it will come, eventually, for some future generation if not ours - when that day comes, who do you think will be ready?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:01 AM on May 24, 2007 [25 favorites]


The only real energy vampires in the world are extroverts.

Yeah, because we're totally sucking the life out of you while you sit on the couch, talking to nobody, frowning into your non-alcoholic beverage.
posted by mckenney at 9:19 AM on May 24, 2007


Everyone knows that to deal with a Metroid, you need to have the ice beam and a good supply of missiles.
posted by demiurge at 9:19 AM on May 24, 2007


Negative people? Just pick up a brick and beat the living shit out of them

I don't see the problem.
posted by illiad at 9:21 AM on May 24, 2007


What the blind and sleeping call negativity is really the understanding and acceptance of this life in its proper context.

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

Oh look my mood ring just grew tentacles.
posted by dreamsign at 9:31 AM on May 24, 2007


purple prose much pastabagel? ;)

dude, i'm probably the most deeply cynical person i know (i would argue with good reason, given the unbelievable shit-storm my wife and i have gone through over the last 5 years)... and i too hate the obsession with positivity that dominates the ami-land cultural landscape. but why is 'negativity' as a credo any less a mistake (or for that matter, less annoying) than 'positivity'? why is the solution to the problem of too much of one thing always too much of another in ami-land?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:31 AM on May 24, 2007


$Pastabagel++
posted by poweredbybeard at 9:32 AM on May 24, 2007


Whatever happened to misanthropy?
posted by blucevalo at 9:32 AM on May 24, 2007


Optimism (aka self esteem) might be pleasant at times to the individual, but it's also a kind of moral disengagement or willful ignorance about the world. Defensive pessimism is a much more personally and politically effective mode of being.
posted by footnote at 10:01 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


She had to turn in her crown when it came out that she's a mollusc.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:02 AM on May 24, 2007


Positivity is the great dead end.

Negativity, by contrast, is awesome.

that was utterly aweso ... uh ... hmmm ... well

*ahem*

that really SUCKED, dude
posted by pyramid termite at 10:03 AM on May 24, 2007


Yeah, because we're totally sucking the life out of you while you sit on the couch, talking to nobody, frowning into your non-alcoholic beverage.

That's only when we really can't take you any more. The rest of the time, we're in the same bar as you are, trying to have a conversation with our hard-won circle of talented, interesting introvert friends, while you're whooping loudly at the adjacent table chugging Jaeger-Bombs.

We're at a concert, looking, apparently, stiff and uptight, exhibiting no more symptoms of enjoying the music than a slight smile, a toe-tap and a head-nod. Don't worry - we're enjoying it as much as you do, although you singing along and performing a crowd-bothering "eastern" dance in an orange kaftan is, admittedly, spoiling the enjoyment slightly.

We might even be on stage in front of you, too. Some of us did, after all, spend long days and evenings by ourselves - blissfully happy - learning to play the guitar and drums and mix and use electronics, although chances are we're probably not the lead singer.

Don't worry. We like you just fine, most of the time. You're the one who'll break the awkward silence as we ride in the elevator, which we appreciate. We like the fact that you're the first one on the dancefloor. We'll join you soon enough.

I realise I might be mixing you up with the merely inconsiderate, but, really, your Venn diagram does have a bigger intersection with them. Well, maybe not bigger. Just louder.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:03 AM on May 24, 2007


"Negative people should be exalted and revered as mystics and gurus."

I'm LOLing but I'm not sure if this is written out of the joy of playing with words along with a whole heap of irony, or if you're taking it seriously. But, I'm LOLing in either case.

If being a mystic or spiritual has any meaning then it lies in gratitude, in appreciation for what is given no matter what it consists of. People who are typically labeled negative, are ingrates. Negative people aren't those with a calm sense of acceptance at whatever comes their way, instead they tend to see the world working against them and seethe resentment in response.

Setting that aside, claiming that it is possible to be neither positive nor negative, but accurate, doesn't quite get it either. It's like the cliche about the half full glass and how you see it. No one goes around claiming that the glass is simultaneously half full and half empty. No shit. One implies the other. The question is, what do you focus on?

This is a slightly different use of the word positive but it isn't a huge shift. Positive not in the sense of mood but in focus. Do you focus on what you want, or on what you don't want? Sure there's a lot of nonsense written about positivity, especially when it comes to keeping your mood artificially high. But focusing on what you do have or on what you can get does make a difference. What do you think whiners tend to focus on?
posted by BigSky at 10:13 AM on May 24, 2007


Pastabagel said: I was going to write an article entitled How to Deal with Insufferably Positive People Without Resorting to Profanity or Violence, but frankly I don't have the energy, and it would probably suck anyway. Why bother.

That reminds me of a line I heard from a comedian (can't remember who): "I was going to buy a copy of The Power Of Positive Thinking, but then I thought 'What the hell good would THAT do?' "
posted by amyms at 10:15 AM on May 24, 2007


- you experience a sense of being demeaned, constricted or attacked.
- you intuitively feel unsafe, tense or on guard.
- you sense prickly, off-putting vibes. You can't wait to get away from them.
- your energy starts to fizzle. You may feel beleaguered or ill.


I'd say 2-4 of the above list at the top of the article are more a form of self-fulfilling bigotry than actually dealing with a negative person...
posted by kigpig at 10:21 AM on May 24, 2007


No one goes around claiming that the glass is simultaneously half full and half empty

Well, Buddhists and Quantum Mechanics. They're the exceptions, though, obviously.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:34 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


the glass is simultaneously half full and half empty

but anyone with common-sense knows that the glass actually is both. i'd go even further and say it's kind of dual-natured, like light: sometimes acts like a wave, sometimes acts like a particle, but it's really something else all together with attributes of both.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:54 AM on May 24, 2007


If you got nothing nice to say about anything, come over here and sit by me.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:03 AM on May 24, 2007


Right after they've finished telling you some tragic story, say to them, "now tell me a positive story"

If someone said that to me, I'd tell them to go fuck themselves. And I'm a pretty positive guy.
posted by languagehat at 11:04 AM on May 24, 2007


How To Deal With Negative People, Condensed:

Stop being a fecking sook, you big baby.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:09 AM on May 24, 2007


all these half-full, half-empty glasses and nobody ever drinks
posted by pyramid termite at 11:17 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


My mother's a negative person. Most conversations with her consist mainly of her listing her current tasks and projects, and going into excruciating detail about how each one is more difficult and unreasonable than the last. For her, choosing new granite for the kitchen counter is not a pleasurable experience... she presents it as an arduous ordeal that is ruining her life. I think almost 40 years of being a housewife made her so stir-crazy that she acts like everything is so difficult and oppressive in order to convince herself she's meeting some kind of challenge in life. I've learned to simply not tell her most things, and to limit the time we spend together.
posted by autodidact at 11:27 AM on May 24, 2007


Oh and put me down as someone who sinks into psychotic, murderous fantasies anytime some dippy broad tells me to "Smile!" because I don't walk around with an empty-headed grin on my face.

I also find most introverts terribly annoying. I don't need to know every thought and feeling that runs through you. Keep it to yourself.
posted by autodidact at 11:31 AM on May 24, 2007


Don't tell me that every last one of you don't know at least one person who is an emotional vampire who knows how to suck every last bit of joy out of a room.

THOSE are the people who need to be told to say something positive. Not the poor soul who just lost a parent or just lost a job or just dropped a brick on their toe.
posted by konolia at 11:47 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whatever happened to misanthropy?

Alive and well for the followers of the Church of House.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:04 PM on May 24, 2007


The pessimist tells you it's half empty,. The Optimist tells you it's half full.

The real problem is the glass is too small.

I've been on both sides of that fence. Yeah, insanity(or depression) is a perfectly sane reaction to an insane world. Also, affirmative thnking can get you what you want as opposed to what you have.

Gah! Now I've read the article and I want to smack the author. It was too general and too new agey touchy feely and didn't say one darned useful thing.

Ok. I feel beter now.

On preview:
I also find most introverts terribly annoying. I don't need to know every thought and feeling that runs through you. Keep it to yourself.
posted by autodidact at 11:31 AM on May 24


Um, by definition we already do.

Reminds me of a quote: "I wish that all the people who have 'communication problems' would just shut up about it!"
posted by lysdexic at 12:16 PM on May 24, 2007


LOL lysdexic, I suck... meant to type "extroverts".... I'm quite introverted.
posted by autodidact at 12:17 PM on May 24, 2007


From what I've seen, most people who think that "negative people" are "energy vampires" are more annoying to be around than the "negative people" are.
posted by yohko at 1:38 PM on May 24, 2007


Yeah, because we're totally sucking the life out of you while you sit on the couch, talking to nobody, frowning into your non-alcoholic beverage.

No, not then. It's when you come over to us and start saying every damn thing that pops into your head, that's when you're sucking the life out of us. If you'd stop doing that, we'd get along much better.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:48 PM on May 24, 2007


konolia: "Don't tell me that every last one of you don't know at least one person who is an emotional vampire who knows how to suck every last bit of joy out of a room."

Know one??! I AM ONE! LOL! I try to keep it on a leash nowadays but I'm very capable of emptying a room of positive energy if I put my mind to it, and sometimes it'll happen if I forget to not put my mind to not doing it. Essentially, it takes ME more energy to be positive than it does to be negative. I'm naturally negative. I have to work at being positive, so guess which way I naturally gravitate to if I'm even remotely tired? Path of Least Resistance.

Maximum respect, everybody. +)
posted by ZachsMind at 1:48 PM on May 24, 2007


it's not like i've studied or meditated on it, but really, the day generally goes better if you're not all freaked out about stuff that you can't do anything about...

and the article isn't anti-negativity as much as it is how to keep your own pretty decent day from being infected by some ass who can't be happy unless everyone around her is as miserable as she is...if you happen to be someone who does that, you can hardly be justified in getting upset with someone who's trying to ignore or counterbalance it...

it's funny to see that so many consider positivity to be annoying and negativity somehow more inherently honest...i didn't know metafilter was quite this emo...
posted by troybob at 2:02 PM on May 24, 2007


I counter negativity with negativity.

Double negatives = positive.

It all works out.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:14 PM on May 24, 2007


arcticwoman said: My mom always says "He's not paying rent in your head, don't let him live there!" (about anyone I'm stressing over, not specifically dubya).

I'm *SO* adding that to my Mom Arsenal of Childrearing. Thank you!

Pastabagel said: Negativity is the understanding that you are from stardust will return to stardust - you are a temporary sympathetic vibration in the fabric of the universe.

You...I love!

ZachsMind said:(regarding energy vampires) Know one??! I AM ONE!

I'm so sorry. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 2:15 PM on May 24, 2007




autodidact said: "Oh and put me down as someone who sinks into psychotic, murderous fantasies anytime some dippy broad tells me to "Smile!" because I don't walk around with an empty-headed grin on my face. ....I also find most introverts [sic] terribly annoying. I don't need to know every thought and feeling that runs through you. Keep it to yourself."

I don't get this. Why are negative people and extroverts suddenly being conflated? Not all positive people are extroverts, and vice versa. Not all negative people are introverts, and vice versa.

termite said: "The whole idea of "negative people" being a problem that needs to be "dealt with", so these unhappy people don't harsh your buzz... and the idea of learning this through some kind of self-help studies... sounds like corporate American bull cream to me."

If by "corporate American bull cream", you meant "the latest in neuroscience," then, hokay. Because studies have clearly demonstrated that the mirror neuron system leads humans to mirror behavior in others, and then often to subconsciously internalize the resulting emotions. Sometimes, negative people really can harsh your buzz, and it really does take mental awareness and positive internal reinforcement to override that neural activity.

Don't get me wrong: overwrought emotional-boot-strapping certainly finds fertile soil in America, and some of it is disturbingly fatuous (including the posted link, which I found pretty goofy, sorry amyms). But let's not rush to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
posted by pineapple at 2:30 PM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm an optimist because it's rational. I'm not obsessed with "keeping positive"; in fact I think focusing only on what's positive is an absurd way of thinking. However, I also don't want to dwell on problems or complain about insignificant things; that's a complete waste of time, and each of us only has so much time. Negative people-- and by this I mean people who want to bitch about their lives all the time-- are drawn to me for some reason. Is that because I see hope in their lives? Dunno.

I disagree with the fluffy article, though. When people start bitching, just acknowledge their problem and then change the subject. Don't try to force them to see the light. If they could do that they wouldn't be bitching. Like hifiparasol said, just move on.
posted by zennie at 3:14 PM on May 24, 2007



way back up there, Clay101 posted about how he thought one could not choose how one responds to stimuli, and while this is to some extent true (if you are going to startle, you are going to startle before you can consciously even become aware that it's going to happen), it's not true in terms of cognitive responses to emotion.

This is the foundation of cognitive/behavioral therapy-- which is one of the best supported treatments for depression (and lots of other things).

Basically, if I walk into a room thinking "they all hate me"-- what I need to realize is that "it's me thinking: they all hate me" not an objective truth. they might hate me or they might not, but if I expect them to hate me, I'm going to respond to any ambiguous events as though they are directed at me, and see rejection where it isn't intended.

if I continue to do this, people will think *i* am rejecting them, and start to reject me. Before long, everyone *will* hate me because I am interpreting things in ways that are unpleasant to everyone.

The more you recognize your own thought-patterns and ideas that frame your reactions, the greater control you will have over them. Also, responses--even to things that are not conscious-- change with practice. The unconscious parts of your brain learn too-- this is why, for example, the startle response gets heightened in trauma and how athletes get better with practice even though they can't necessarily verbalize what they have changed.

it's what Malcolm Gladwell talks about in 'Blink'-- experts essentially train their intuitions by practice such that they become better at rapid, unconscious judgments in their speciality.

These things in combination mean that over time, you *can* change your emotional responses and this can have an enormous positive effect on your life.

What things like the hideous "secret' get wrong is that this only applies to one's perceptions and how they interact with reality-- changing one's perceptions does not change any reality that isn't related to social expectations. So you can't "imagine wealth" and the universe will send it to you.

But you can change the way you frame your thoughts and feelings and massively improve your relationships and that can have powerful effects.
posted by Maias at 3:16 PM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I didn't read the link, but stop talking smack about dios.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:44 PM on May 24, 2007


Basically, if I walk into a room thinking "they all hate me"-- what I need to realize is that "it's me thinking: they all hate me" not an objective truth. they might hate me or they might not, but if I expect them to hate me, I'm going to respond to any ambiguous events as though they are directed at me, and see rejection where it isn't intended.

I mostly agree with this paragraph, but I think it supports the idea that one should not control ones responses to stimuli, rather than the idea that one should.

The person who walks into a room assuming that everyone will hate him, isn't he the one who's (in some sense) controling his responses? That is, no matter what happens, he's going to react to the stimuli as if it were hatred. His response is determined ahead of time. That's some sort of control, isn't it? On the other hand, the person who walks in not assuming anything ("they might hate me or they might not") is not controling his response. He might end up depressed, elated, bored, or whatever depending entirely on what he encounters behind that door. He doesn't decide ahead of time what his response will be.

So if there's some therapy that teaches me to not assume that everyone is going to hate me before I even walk into the room, won't it necessarily be teaching me not to control my responses to stimuli?
posted by Clay201 at 5:03 PM on May 24, 2007


hifiparasol writes "it sounds to me like a lot of people on this thread are having some pretty knee-jerk reactions to it simply because it embraces upbeat positivity as a lifestyle choice."

"If you want to know what a moronic word 'lifestyle' is, all you have to do is realize that, in a technical sense, Atilla the Hun had an active, outdoor lifestyle." - George Carlin
posted by krinklyfig at 5:09 PM on May 24, 2007


"People have lives, not lifestyles" - Elizabeth Young.

Still one of my favorite quotes.
posted by Clay201 at 5:21 PM on May 24, 2007


Clay201- I think the point was that if the thought "they all hate me" comes into your mind, then you need to consciously tell yourself "no, that isn't true."

Thus, by changing your internal emotional landscape, by controlling your thoughts, you can have a better interaction with those other people.

It's like the mental exercise where you imagine people who frighten you as naked (say, when giving a speech). The mental exercise relaxes you, and helps you to interact with others better.

I find actively giving thanks for the good things in my life reminds me that things are going well. Just remember, it could be worse. Instead of spending time on Metafilter, you could have no food, live in a warzone, and have to travel 3 hours a day to get semi-clean water to drink.

Focus on the positive.

It doesn't mean don't feel emotions. Absolutely. Feel them, let them run their course. But don't be dominated by them.

Your conscious mind can really help regulate your inner emotional state a lot more than you'd expect.

If you're constantly a downer, no one wants to be your friend, which makes things worse.

Happiness is chosen. It's not about having what you want. It's about wanting what you have. Appreciate the things you have in your life.

That's my 2 cents, anyway...
posted by MythMaker at 6:23 PM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]



Clay, in a word, no. Control is not a pre-determined response-- control is freedom to respond based on actual conditions. you are not controlling a valve if it's only open or only shut.

Depressed people have the tendency to assume in a negative direction-- ie, to walk in thinking "everyone hates me" and then to interpret the world based on that advance view. So you are starting with a negative bias and a negative knee-jerk response.

The idea is to replace that negative bias with a neutral or even positive one-- ie, move away from the original baseline assumption/ response. So that is moving away from the knee-jerk assumption into a more flexible, open and free position-- therefore allowing greater control. The default is a "stuck" position-- you are learning to be more flexible, not to be "controlled" by the stuck and unfree default.

This may be a linguistic issue-- but whatever the case is, cognitive behavioral therapy is a very effective way of learning to undo automatic self-defeating assumptions.

of course, if you are also a highly hateful person and are mean to people and that's why they don't like you, this won't work so well. but typically, depressed people have an unduly inflated negative image of themselves ("the piece of shit in the center of the universe") and learning not to be in this state by itself goes along way.

simply realizing that most people are thinking about themselves, not bothering to hate you, is progress-- and then more progress is learning that paying attention to their *actual* cues rather than your ideas about them (ie, you can *ask* them what's going on, you can watch them closely rather than obsessing about what they're thinking about you) can help.

the more you pay attention to other people, not just yourself, the more likable you become anyway.
posted by Maias at 6:27 PM on May 24, 2007


MetaFilter: They are like human black holes which suddenly come out of nowhere and just suck the life out of you
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:56 PM on May 24, 2007


Late to the party...*waves to amyms* ( thanks :)

If there's anything that drives me bonkers, it's people who are so shallow, so cowardly and stupid, they don't look at or try to comprehend the meaning of the sufferings of and in life, not in their own lives or others' lives, the Warm Fake Love types with plastic smiles.

Nothing wrong with expressing negative thoughts, feelings, opinions, attitudes. If fact, if one didn't one would be nuts. Life is packed with suffering and difficulties of all kinds for every living creature from birth to death. That's life.

Somehow, facing whatever are one's own individual roster of sufferings, some of which may be horrendously difficult, there needs to be the will to live, the drive to find solutions and move sanely forward, putting energy into what can be accomplished and can be savored in life, the good, the fun and the meaningful. Finding meaning in life requires experiencing suffering and joy. Not just one or the other.

The thing is that certain people avoid feeling their feelings, of suffering or joy and are imbalanced. It's disturbing and utterly draining to be around either shallow-fake-happy people and those who are chronic wet blankets.

There are numerous styles of these emotional cowards and spineless vortexes, two flip sides to the same vampire coin: the workaholic roadrunner, who is always too busy to feel deep thoughts about anything unless it gets them further up the ladder, or gets them off the guilt hook for an hour or two, ie Yuppie Simplex or Living in a Concrete Bubble; or the-nothing-is-ever-going-to-be-good-enough-and-I'm-going-to-take-you-down-to-my-purgatory-too Quark, Professional Victims.

The stroke economy.
posted by nickyskye at 8:12 PM on May 24, 2007


If there's anything that drives me bonkers, it's people who are so shallow, so cowardly and stupid, they don't look at or try to comprehend the meaning of the sufferings of and in life, not in their own lives or others' lives...

Well, it's one thing for me to shield myself from someone whose addiction to negativity threatens to pull me down along with them; but it's quite another for me to judge how they deal with their shit, when they deal with their shit, or even if they deal with their shit at all. I don't begrudge at all the shiny happies or the debbie downers, as long as I can make the choice not to participate. In any case, I would find them better company than I would someone who presumes to judge the integrity of someone else's inner emotional life.
posted by troybob at 10:13 PM on May 24, 2007


The hot air balloon and rainbow at the top of the webpage should have been a tip-off that it was full of BS.

Yeah, and I f'n hate hot air.
posted by pwedza at 10:28 PM on May 24, 2007


troybob: I imagine that nickyskye is expressing the compassion that one feels when one sees all-their-mothers tied in strong iron chains of delusion, being swept away in a raging current. What you interpret as judgmentalism is, in fact, compassion born of the wisdom of the emptiness of all phenomena.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:46 PM on May 24, 2007


fake wrote: This article confounds so many different kinds of people that it's effectively worthless as a diagnosis or a plan of action.

deanc wrote: Well, that's true, but in context, I think you meant to use the word "conflate."

Con·found (kən-found', kŏn:-)
4. to treat or regard erroneously as identical; mix or associate by mistake: truth confounded with error.
5. to mingle so that the elements cannot be distinguished or separated.

posted by ryanrs at 11:48 PM on May 24, 2007


If it werent for us, introverts would never have anybody to talk to at all .

Oh, I think we'd manage. I could do without all these bloody extroverts talking at me and expecting me to appreciate it. Fellow introverts, on the other hand, are much more likely to be people I can get along with.
posted by Many bubbles at 12:43 AM on May 25, 2007


You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here.
posted by languagehat


I'm sure you meant to say,
"You are the crown of creation".



I did enjoy being a fluke when I heard it on the Radio Hour, though.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:11 AM on May 25, 2007


em>addiction to negativity...as long as I can make the choice not to participate

Well said. Can't help thinking the addicts might take that as a judgment call.

who presumes to judge the integrity of someone else's inner emotional life

Cause and effect: If the impact, the resulting external expression of "the integrity of someone else's inner emotional life" is that I end up feeling drained by them, then it's logical for me to call a spade a spade. The spade in this case is the title of the post, "Energy Vampires", itself a major judgment, as well as the term "negative people".

Ubu,. compassion born of the wisdom of the emptiness of all phenomena.

LOL. There is compassion and then there is idiot compassion, in some cases known as malignant optimism.
posted by nickyskye at 5:20 PM on May 25, 2007


(i thought idiot compassion would be related to crazy wisdom, but no)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:39 PM on May 25, 2007


In a very real quantum mechanical sense your future lightcone projects entirely from your little cubicle with your little plant and your cute little cat poster.

Oh, for fuck's sake. Do you just pick poorly understood physics terminology and then mix-and-match so that your elementary school level bullshit sounds more convincing to people who know even less than you do about, well, everything?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:33 AM on May 28, 2007


Oh, for fuck's sake. Did you really revive a two-day old thread for a snark like that?

I think you're just projectionifying your narcissistic insecurities onto Pastabagel because you use favourites to make up for a lack of Oedipal love in the real world, and you're jealous of the bagel's popularity.

Now, remember: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:50 AM on May 28, 2007


Projectionifying? God, I hope I'm not doing that. It sounds unhealthy.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:07 AM on May 28, 2007


Yes. Speaking as a fully-qualified Pataphysician, I strongly recommend against it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:17 AM on May 28, 2007


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