Friday, June 29, 2012

The Adventures of Captain Negativity

There is this woman that I know that has been nicknamed Captain Negativity. She earned this name by being by far the most negative human I have ever met in my life. I swear I am not exaggerating. Little emo tweens have a better outlook on life than this woman does.

Now I am a pretty optimistic person; disgustingly so at times. When bad things happen my general response is to find the good in the situation and point it out. I know it is a totally obnoxious quality, and I try and reign it in when no one really wants to hear about silver linings, but it is still playing through my head. It is just how I work.

Admittedly I even have moments where I just can't seem to muster the happy shiny thoughts. I get discouraged like everyone else. I am only human after all. Typically though my pity parties are short and I try desperately to keep them contained to a small group of my closest friends. The general public shouldn't be subject to my outbursts.

Captain Negativity though can't find anything good about anything. Ever. In the nine months that I have known her I can not recall her saying one positive thing. She spins everything into something bad. Everything.

She gets her lunch and it is always wrong somehow. The other day they put a free pickle with her meal and she complained about it. She admitted that she loved pickles, but she didn't want a pickle that day so it was somehow a burden. Seriously if I get a free pickle I do a dance. If I don't want said pickle I can normally find someone who wants it, and if not, well I am not afraid to save it for later or just throw it away. It is a pickle.

I try desperately not to talk to her because all that negative energy just brings me down. Occasionally though she will corner me and my good southern upbringing won't allow me to just walk away from her when she starts talking at me. Damn me being raised to be polite.

Today she cornered me and asked nonchalantly how I was. I knew there was no correct answer that would get me out of a downer of a conversation with her. I tried to just give her a quick witty reply without making eye contact, but it failed as I knew it would. I simply said I was glad it was Friday, which in retrospect was a loaded statement for her, but it was the first thing that came to my head as it is stock polite conversation material.

I spent the next few minutes listening to her go on and on about how much she disliked Fridays because they led to the weekend which she dreaded because she always had to work. She told me all about how she could never get all of her work done, and take care of her toddler, and do the things that she can't normally do during the week, and could never relax or do anything fun.

Then she proceeded to tell me how she is taking a week long vacation in a few months. For one brief shining moment I thought I was going to at last hear a positive thing out of her. I thought she was going to say how she was looking forward to it and finally getting to relax. I expected her to say how good it would be to go back home and see her family. Perhaps she would tell me how much she was looking forward to spending quality time with her daughter or catching up on sleep.

The moment was fleeting.

She did nothing but lament that she was taking the trip. She told me how she dreaded it because she knew she would not be able to clean her house before the trip and would come home to a filthy mess and probably forget to take the trash out and come home to the smell of week old diapers. It sounded more like a looming punishment instead of a vacation.

Seriously she could find fault in a wet dream.

I find it exhausting just listening to her negative attitude, I can't imagine how exhausting it must be to live like that. She never smiles or really laughs. She has this strange nervous chortle that is accompanied by her baring her teeth at you. It is unsettling to say the least.

I wish there were some way to make her see the positive side of something. The optimist in me wants to smile and tell her it will all be alright and that there is good in most every situation. The realist in me however knows better than to even try such a thing. The realist in me tells me to just avoid her lest I get sucked into her negative world.

Bless her pea picking heart.


  1. "She could find fault in a wet dream" haha!! Oh negative nellies just bring everything down, don't they?

  2. Lys Childs-WileyJune 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Wow...that is some serious negative energy going on there.  I'm sorry that you have to be in proximity to such a soul-sucker!  I mean, we all have negative moments, but I can't imagine living life ENTIRELY in the negative.  That would be...horrific.

  3. Catherine ChambersJune 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    I hear you on the positivity thing... I feel disgustingly optimistic more often than not. Sorry you're dealing with her - at least makes for a good story? :)

  4. My suggestion would be to pick up a business card of a local therapist and give it to her.  She's obviously extremely unhappy.  She might as well be paying someone to listen to her bitch and moan who might have a small chance at doing some behavioral cognitive therapy. 

    If you're lucky, she might be so offended at the suggestion that she no longer speaks to you.  If you're REALLY lucky, she'll take you up on the offer and actually go to a therapist and lighten up a little bit!

  5. Hildred BillingsJune 29, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    I can't hate on her, because I've been through episodes exactly the same way, directly linked to depression. And although negative people can bring down the day, I have to say when I was through those depressive episodes the worst thing in the world was overly-optimistic telling me how happy I should be ;) (long story short, a string of abusive relationships, no job, basically had a huge breakdown for a year and lost a bunch of friends over it because I was too "negative". I've snapped out of most of it, but it took a long time. The triggers will always be there though so I still have days or even weeks where I can barely get out of bed not crying.)

    I consider myself a realist through and through, so I can't imagine living purely negatively or positively. Negatively is soul-sucking (I should know!) and positively just doesn't make sense to me. But as someone else pointed out, it sounds like it could be a sign of major depression in your friend. And if she is depressed, neither hounding her about therapy or just dumping her is going to help. (Well, dumping her might help YOU ;) ) But I do understand it's a drain on you. Do you two have any mutual friends? I'd talk to them first and see if they know of anything going on with her that may be a source of  her outlook.

  6.  She isn't actually my friend. She is a woman who works in my office, in a different department, that I only know her name because I hear her say it all the time (our cubes are close).

    If she were my friend I would express genuine concern over her attitude and try and help without being overly chipper. I have family and close friends who have suffered from severe depression and it is an issue that concerns me.

    As it is though I don't really know this woman at all, and I don't particularly wish to get involved honestly. That sounds really bad, but at the same time I can't imagine a basic stranger butting in is any more welcome than an over cheerful friend. I just try and be polite to her since we work together.

  7.  Everything makes a good story. There are worse things to deal with, I am good at avoiding people when I need to.

  8.  I just turn up my  music and dance the negative away, like you do.

  9.  She isn't my friend so I am not getting involved like that. Easier to avoid her.

  10. She turned a FREE PICKLE and a VACATION into negatives? Oh boy. Maybe her biggest pleasure in life is complaining? I hope so - because it would be so sad if she really sees life as a series of horrible occurrences.