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.