I’ve had this little theory for a while, one I’m fairly sure everyone already knows, that somewhere in time we programmed ourselves to automatically reply with simple phrases to avoid uncomfortable situations. “Go-to” phrases include:
- I hate school/work.
- I’m so bored.
- I’m tired.
- I’m hungry.
- I wanna go home.
That list pretty much goes on forever.
Countless times, I’ve been sitting in class, and have overheard a conversation that’s had all of these phrases casually thrown in instead of saying something truthful, or even nothing at all. I’m guilty of it, too. By saying something that’s a guaranteed hit with everyone, I can avoid an awkward silence. Or maybe, you really want to become friends with someone. No friendship starts in deep conversation, so you say something super surface level, a “go-to” phrase. Maybe the kid who sits behind you in Spanish class just wasn’t feeling all that enthusiastic, so he says “I hate this class” and you nod in agreement because really, what else is there to say?
In an article titled Why It’s So Easy to be Negative (And What to do About It), Renee Jain simply says, “Negative events are sticky.” Because everyone can relate to the negative stuff, we flock to it in short statements that are supposed to encompass what’s going on.
I’ve heard some people talk in only these sentences, and that’s, like, the only way they ever talk. It bothers the life out of me because I know everyone has thoughts that can still be surface-level, silence-filling, friendship-starting words. Those thoughts don’t have to be solely negative, either.
Maybe you mean them, though. Maybe you really are tired, or you really do hate school, or whatever the case may be. How you express your feelings is usually different than how they are perceived. If you “boy-who-cried-wolf” it, then no one will understand when it comes down it.
I’m doing my best to get rid of the “go-to” that always pop into my mind. I’d like to be able to talk to people I sit next to about movies we’ve seen or music we like instead of trashing a class that I won’t be able to get out of, even if I complain about it.
There’s a way to sum this up, but I’m just not sure how to phrase it, cause it’s pretty long. I guess I would have to go with:
I hate being negative.