Help someone else take a more positive view.

In the average gladiatorial bout between politicians and media interviewers, the latter are invariably set on drawing out the grim negatives, while the former fight to portray everything in the rosiest of lights.

Where one sees chalk, the other sees cheese.

Simplistically it’s the interviewer’s job, it seems, to dig up dirt. The politician’s goal on the other hand is to make themselves look good.


It goes without saying that conversations between friends shouldn’t follow this format, but sometimes they can inadvertently slip into a gear that isn’t the neutral one which normally makes friendships run smoothly.

Given half a chance for instance, some people need little encouragement to spill out their tales of woe. They’ll tell you about everything that’s gone wrong, often in excruciating detail.

Maybe this is something that should be gently discouraged, however. Listening to someone’s misfortunes can dent your own mood. It’s probably not doing much for the other person either.

The TV interviewer fights to drag out the bad stuff in the assumption that this makes good viewing. But in real life, and in the presence of someone with gloomy tendencies, perhaps it makes more sense to ask them what’s gone right rather than what’s gone wrong?

It’s worth a try, and surely better than unleashing yet another torrent of discontent.

2 thoughts on “Help someone else take a more positive view.

  1. Yes I occasionally try to upgrade others outlook on life, however it could sometimes
    appear judgemental ? Sometimes when a comment I make maybe be a little negative , ( because maybe I’m ‘ fishing ‘ for a little sympathy ) I do feel slightly rebuffed
    if I get a ‘correcting ‘ reply. Still ne’re mind – there’s always hope round the corner ! ?

  2. How do you find it best to word it when you’re asking about the positive things? For example, saying “What has gone right?” almost comes off as sarcastic or rude.

    One day when my husband was complaining about his work day I listened very patiently and when he was finished I asked, “Did anything good happen today?” and he paused for a second and then said a definite “no.” I’m sure /something/ at least half way decent had to have happened that day, but how do we find the best way to get people to talk about it?

    On a slightly different note, I’ve also noticed that when I focus on talking about the positive or good things that have happened to me (to try to stay out of a negative mindset), some people seem to think that I’m super lucky and only good things happen to me, and it just makes them jealous or makes them feel like their life is even worse, which isn’t my intention at all. How do you focus on the good without making it come across like your life is all rainbows and butterflies?

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