One lesson I have learned over the years is that negativity alienates friends. Sure, it seems controversy and drama create a whole load of attention, but experience has shown me that this is always from a distance.
Nobody wants to be friends with the negative person. Or as I sometimes put it: no one loves a drippy-downer.
Popular to leper
Between the age of sixteen and twenty-four, I seemed to be extremely popular. I used to be so busy socialising with my large circle of friends.
I don’t remember a weekend when I didn’t have something to do with friends. It was the first time in my life that I was popular and I enjoyed most of it.
Then as if someone had flicked a switch my popularity vanished. Friends stopped calling, and I found myself with far more time alone. What crime had I committed?
Negativity kills friendship
I started focusing on the dark, uncomfortable and negative. For some reason, my view of the world had changed, and this made me discuss things that others didn’t want to hear because the point of my conversations were negative.
Something had happened that caused me to have some sort of awakening about the world. I saw the negativity in politics, society and how the world operated. I felt a need to express this to my friends. They didn’t want to hear it but I didn’t get that.
Of course, this was before the days of social media and the explosion of online activity. There was no other outlet for me to express my views about the world. I have no idea where the ideas came from, or why they came to me, but they were there and I needed to express them.
By the time I reached my thirtieth birthday, the number of people in my life had plummeted to a figure I could count on one hand. I didn’t understand what had happened. It made no sense to me that so many friends would disappear from my life.
Preaching to human behaviour
Now I am forty and have had ten years to think of this strange occurrence. Also, I have had the opportunity to experience social media. Finally, I have worked out what I was doing wrong. Have you guessed it?
I had pointed out to my friends their flaws, failings and everything that was wrong with them and their lives. Who really wants to hear that?
While I expressed my negative views of the world, and pointed out all that is wrong with it, I unintentionally forced them to realise what they probably already knew but had chosen to ignore about their own experiences.
No one enjoys having to face things about life that are unpleasant or remind you that not all is rosy in the garden. Most people want to be taken away from the misery of everyday life. They want fun, pleasure and escape into a moment of happiness and positivity.
Isn’t this why so many of us enjoy music, movies, video games, books, socialising, sex and so on? They are all means of escape from the negative and unpleasant world we all know really exists.
Positivity breeds popularity
What I have learned is that those who appear popular and in demand are those who never bring people down with negativity…or to be more accurate: reality.
People don’t want to hear that their governments are corrupt and out to screw them over. They don’t want to hear that the world is run by a small elite out to make our lives as hard as possible in their endless pursuit for wealth and power.
They don’t want to hear that society is getting worse, people are getting dumber or that society is growing more oppressive and extremism is on the rise both on the left and right.
These are not things people want to hear when they hang out with you in their free time. The truth is, they probably already know all this but would rather not be reminded of it when they are out trying to enjoy themselves.
Negativity breeds alienation
It took me many years of experimenting, observing and being alienated quite a lot to realise this universal truth about people and relationships. Negativity alienates, and that is a fact.
With my closest friends, I still make the mistake of airing some of those negative truths of the world we live in. I often kick myself right afterwards because I know they just hoped I would be hit by a bus at that exact moment. Anything to shut me up.
I’m not suggesting you act dumb or pretend everything is just fantastic in the world because we both know that is complete bull. Experience has taught me to simply keep the views to yourself when with friends. Use the time together to have fun and be positive.
Don’t waste the rare good times
Most of us know the reality of this world that perhaps we don’t need to talk about it all the time, and especially not when with friends out for a good time. Also, because we can’t change the way the world is, it does seem a great shame to waste those precious positive, fun moments wallowing on the darkness of reality.
Now we have the internet, it is easier to express those views without damaging friendships. If you really need to get those views about reality off your chest, set-up a website and write those thoughts down.
Company doesn’t love misery
Don’t take my word for it, go out and experiment. Get together with some friends and avoid all negative talk or any conversations about reality. Just be in the moment and have fun. Your friends will associate you with good feelings and fun.
I was always told that misery loves company. Well, that may be true but I can confidently say that company sure doesn’t love misery. I have found people only want to be around me when I make them laugh and my mood is positive.