Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can't We All Just Get Along and Be Happy?

Being human teaches us that certain emotions---jealousy, pride, insecurity, as a few examples---are inevitable. Many times they serve as reflections into our own selves, indicating what is lacking in our lives.

The most interesting thing about them is the number of ways they can be manifested. Some people retract into shells while others just become bullies.

So, I have had a couple of friends throughout the years who seem to love taking the "snide comment" route. Sometimes indirect, sometimes not. And the comments will apply to anything, even things that I did not think were bad.

"Oh, people who write aren't really doing anything."
"You know, your problem is that you get so close to people. You just become friends with everyone."
"Nobody really has a good relationship. If you say you do, you're just trying to cover up how terrible it is."

I used to react to these comments by shrinking myself down
. Anything to not open the door to more comments. If a person complimented me around this type of friend, I would cringe and silently beg, "Please stop. PLEASE!" and rushed to change the subject.

Why didn't I ever say anything back? Maybe I should have. I always told myself that someone would only behave that way if they were experiencing their own avalanche of internal negativity. That psycho-analysis and consistent excuse of the root cause kept me quiet and only empowered those comments.

And I'd wonder why this person felt the need to sneakily criticize every aspect of my life, especially when I was happy. Why, why why? Eventually, I reacted with fear and shame.

But lately, I've made a promise to myself. To not shrink. To not be so sensitive. To let it go but not let it go.
Because nobody is being helped by my fear and isn't it almost insane to be ashamed of your own happiness?

And with the positive environment of the blogosphere, I ask you, have you ever been in a similar situation? Do you think this is more common among women? Have you ever had a toxic friendship?

(I don't want to gender the issue but am simply stating the context I've heard this in the most.)


  1. Many times I have come across people like the ones you have mentioned, initially, when i was of your age I used to react very strongly to such comments, but once i was a little older i realized it is not worth convincing such people, and it is not worth even giving them importance by listening to what they have to say, I do my thing and keep moving, and i also make it a point of moving away from such people.
    Once we do that these people also realize that their comments have no effect on us and they too move away from us and find some other weak person to torment.
    I also realized it not our duty to change these people, the change in them has to come from within themselves. Also I think it doesn't matter whether it is a man or a woman it can happen to anybody.

  2. I haven’t experienced writing-related snide comments, to be honest. But that’s probably because a majority of my writing friends are online! In ordinary day-to-day life, though, snide comments have been par for the course. Though I agree we shouldn’t make it a gender issue, but I’ve only heard such remarks from women and rarely, if ever, from the men.

  3. People who go through life behaving this way are compensating for their own insecurities by making you feel insecure. The best thing to do is simply decouple them from your life and surround yourself with positive-minded and supportive people. The people you are friends with should make you happy and confident, not fearful or ashamed.

    For me, people like that are not worth my time. Like rama noted, this behavior can manifest in men or women, and I've experienced it in both.

  4. I absolutely agree with Liz P. Those people are toxic and you need to get away from them. They manifest their insecurities on you. They are JEALOUS. And true friends aren't jealous of friends.

    Let them go, they do no good.

  5. Completely agree with all of you! Jealousy is natural but how we handle it shows more than its actual presence.

  6. Real friends are genuinely happy for you and do not give you back-handed compliments! They encourage you even when they believe you to be just a little more than halfway gone with your ideas.

    The people you described are not your friends.

  7. A real life experience... not sure how much it relates to what you said in your post but this is one of my toxic relations.

    My so-called best friend would always crack jokes at someone's expense. To be honest she comes from a community that is famous for that. But it used to hurt me to no end when I was in school. Making me think that a guy was interested in me and then making fun of me in front of a group of all girls (who I was never close to), convincing me to do something and then backing off and just say that she was toying with me etc... these were just some of the things.

    Now we are both married and one would think people would change. But nope.

    Anytime I have a simple conversation with her on gchat, I feel sucked out of energy, sometimes bitter. The best way for me was to avoid but now I speak up. I prevents sleepless tossing and turning at nights. Just remember that they don't have anything better going on... :)

  8. Yes, I have experienced a toxic friendship in college. Initially all her snide comments bugged me, but when I came to know the reason for it (she was ill treated by her family and was an insecure person) I tried to ignore it and started avoiding her.

  9. Oh dear I just ran into an old friend last night that has (still has) a tendency to negativity... I think I react a lot like you. I just get quiet, not knowing what to say.

  10. YES--good for you!!!! Also, I have begun walking away or clicking unfollow (on-line that is) if I feel the negativity!

  11. "isn't it almost insane to be ashamed of your own happiness?" ABSOLUTELY. Well said. I believe in claiming happiness every chance you get. Great post. So glad I found your blog :)


  12. People treat other people like's just the way life seems to be. I get treated like crap all the time from people that think they are smarter and better. I just shrug it off and go into my cave.

  13. People treat each other badly because they're unhappy in their own life. When someone criticizes you, it's a reflection on her not on you! It's her problem and has nothing to do with you. She has issues of her own to deal with that are coming out as meanness to you. It's kind of sad. I feel sorry for people who feel the need to be brutally critical.

    I hope you don't take what she says seriously. She's probably resenting your happiness because she's unhappy in her own life. You're beautiful and wonderful, Saumya!