The Negative Nancy Myth

Sometimes a little positivity sprinkled on top of a pile of human excrement can cover up the bad for a while. And sometimes it just makes the poop harder to see and easier to step directly in.

While I am trying to be more positive in my day to day existence, I’m having a hard time believing that I can be all positivity all the time. You know that friend that gives you a big speech about how strong you are when you just need to cry on their shoulder or shoot some cans? Sure the speech is nice but it’s the crying or shooting that would have helped.

I have been called a great many things in my 28 years on this planet; words meant in jest and cruelty, from strangers and my closest friends, in a variety of places, times and languages. I’ve actually been surprised and a little proud of some of the insults hurled my way.

There is one word, however, that really gets to me: negative.

As noted above, I’m not a shimmering ray of positivity all the time; I’m definitely the cynical type, I’m sarcastic and my judgment meter leans toward pessimistic.


For the record, these are all things I like about myself. I don’t find them to be flaws. I have the ability to turn BS situations into humor. I care really deeply about the things happening around me. I also have a temper and have been known to spiral, but these are not things that I would alter my personality to change.

Last weekend, I saw an acquaintance who mentioned that he loves my Facebook posts because “they’re so negative.” He explained that while everyone else is posting photos of beautiful scenery and candids with friends at bars, my posts were so honest.

He meant it as a compliment, I know he did, but it stuck with me. When I arrived home I couldn’t get it out of my head, so like any mature adult, I sent a series of angry and confused snaps to my lovely friend Francis.*

Like a boss, Francis understood my frustration and broke it down. She explained something that I couldn’t agree with more: negative, in our society is never a word used kindly or respectfully. The only kindness that word serves is that it helps people not say “that person’s a downer/dick/pain in the ass.” It’s a good way to insult someone without insulting them.

When you call someone negative, no matter what your intentions are, you are not complimenting them. Yeah, I say what’s on my mind, but calling me negative because of the way I choose to see and communicate my world isn’t fair, it’s not something I can argue against because it’s based on your small view of me.


We live in an inspirational quote over nature background kind of world and that’s ok with me, I actually like positivity around me, it inspires. But in a world where positivity rules and negative people are cast as these sad little, angry badgers living in a cave of resentment, how could it be fair to call me negative?

Spoiler alert: it’s not.

I suppose the moral is this: words hurt. That’s stick and stones thing is bullshit. If you must be unkind at least do so openly, don’t mask it in some false compliment. Think about the words you choose. And for Pete’s sake, stop calling people negative.

That was too many morals, but you understand.

Best of luck.


*Remember Francis, my friend from that terrible job I was fired from? Remember that job? Oh man, that place sucked. Good news though, they just went out of business. So.



8 thoughts on “The Negative Nancy Myth

  1. Two thoughts jumped out at me from reading this post.
    1. You will eventually get past the point where words can hurt you
    2. I blame social media as most people seem to only post “positive” things that can inspire many of their fellow human beings like you and me to see our own lives as so much less than theirs

    There are several other thoughts that also jumped out at me from reading this post, but most of the other old fart wisdom I might share with you has already been provided by your other commenters. Lucky girl, you!

    PS Remember your cat will always make you feel better, no matter the situation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely think I’m moving toward that point. I’m definitely more resilient to ugly words than I was five years ago. Part of that is just in loving yourself.
      And you are absolutely right about social media, it’s poisoned the waters a bit and made everyone else’s life seem perfect. No one’s life is perfect, and I’m not interested in pretending that mine is.
      Thank you, as always, for commenting and reading and offering advice. I appreciate it.


  2. I have two teenage daughters who often ask if it is okay how they are feeling. I always tell them that “Feelings are never good or bad or right or wrong. They are what they are. It is how you act on them that matters.”
    I believe that people should never feel bad about how they feel.
    In case you are talking about non-emotional negativity – I can’t say much. I truly don’t understand how anyone can see the current state of the USA as positive. And I don’t WANT to understand it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Precisely. It’s too easy to fall into this world where people pretend to be cheerful and happy all the time. The reality is that we all feel a multitude of things daily and they should be expressed (in productive ways of course). Thank you for reading and for commenting!


  3. I understand completely with you, because I don’t curate my social media either and people always comment that my posts are “real and honest.” I think a comment that a “friend” gave me once was that I’m an “intimidating person to meet.” And I sat there like, “really, you can just say that upon first impression I seem like a bitch…” I think that the meanest things people say are often times comments that they make masquerading as false compliments. I don’t think you saying what’s on your mind makes you negative, I think it makes you honest. And your genuineness is much more admirable than the fake artificial happiness everyone else is trying to sell.

    PS, I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award on my blog!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “I think that the meanest things people say are often times comments that they make masquerading as false compliments.” — Probably the greatest quote I’ve read all week and so so true. Thank you for commenting and I’m glad you connected with the post
      Thanks for the nomination as well! Very kind of you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s funny you wrote about this today because I woke up feeling really negative today. My initial reaction was to admonish myself and try to perk up with positivity. Then I consciously said no, I’m feeling negative, so what? I probably had a bad dream I don’t remember. I’ll get over it. While no one likes a whiner and complainer, you are correct that negativity is part of life and the human experience. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

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