We’re just curious.
We see some folks do the same negative repeating behaviors over and over again and we don’t understand it. Complaining about the same things. And not just addictive stuff.
Sometimes they group together and encourage others to wallow too so there’s a mutual complain and enable-fest. Sometimes they take turns. Sometimes they talk over each other. However they communicate though, it seems to encourage the misery rather than taking it away.
We don’t get it. When we complain we want to vent and then to find a solution after we’ve calmed down. We want to be happy.
We all get hit with bad things from time to time, some of us more than others. But some folks seem to be able to manufacture their own bad luck, or to react incredibly strongly to things most of us are just mildly annoyed by. How people react to negative events seems really important.
We want to be around people who want to be happy. We like people who have growth mind-sets.
We understand that sometimes people have chemical depression, and we’re all for therapy and FDA-approved (and psychiatrist-monitored) pharmaceuticals as needed. Please get professional help if you need it!
#2 would like to note that there is a time and place for shared misery, particularly in grad school and in the early tenure-track. But there are ALSO times to stop moaning and do your writing. Structured groups are good for this: first hour bitch-n-moan, second hour hard work, then break for snack, more work, a closing few minutes of social time, etc. Commiseration is useful sometimes, but it must be backed up with productivity if you’re going to survive. My good friend in grad school pointed out that we had “a culture of stress” and that it wasn’t necessarily the most helpful.
We gotta wonder though, if you’re hanging out with people who seem to enjoy being miserable, and seem to enjoy encouraging you when you’re making bad choices (that will cause misery down the road) or just being miserable (and discourage you from making choices that could reduce the misery)… why are you doing that? And can you explain it to us?