We have all heard or been told that misery love company. And I am willing to wager the majority of us have found that to be true. But why is it? Could it be that every now and then we step into a magnetic pool of misery, and from that point forward every person we encounter are attracted to it; leading to an ever growing ball of the miserable. Ya know, if this were the case, the truth of misery loving company would be more acceptable, because it would seem more random; just a result of bad luck. But unfortunately, most of the time that isn’t the case. What usually happens is that well-balanced or positively contented individuals will come into contact with a miserable person, and they can’t wait to rain on someone’s parade. And the entire goal is to make others around them, as miserable as they are.
Have you ever known someone, that as soon as they walk into a room, you can feel the joy being sucked out the atmosphere? Or they walk in and there is a cloud of negativity orbiting their body that sucks all sentient lifeforms into it. These are the ones that I deem the miserable. Now, I am not talking about those who are sad, those who are having a bad day or those who are depressed. Those are all different phenomena all together. What I am describing are people, who lie, are overly aggressive concerning basic communication, passive aggressive in every situation or otherwise attempt to insult or embarrass anyone they can at every turn.
Absolutely, Positively, Miserable People. These are people who cannot find joy, whether large or small, in their own lives, so they attempt to spread their downtrodden melancholy to everyone they meet, whether face to face or digitally. The list includes suck ups, internet trolls, sympathy seekers and tattle tells. I know I’ve excluded many other applicable labels, but I don’t want this post to be ridiculously long.
So. This explanation leads to the question that I often find myself facing when I am writing a post; what does one do about these people? Well, my first thought and the most altruistic option is to be warm, compromising and personable yourself and try to get to know these miserable people. Maybe you can discover a source to their misery and help them with it. The problem is, that for this method to work, the person in question will have to open up to you; and that most likely won’t happen, because anyone with so much misery to spread around; also carries healthy helpings of fear, shame and pride. They need to make you miserable, so that they feel better. Taking this option may be like beating one’s head up against a brick wall. You’ll end up miserable with a headache.
My second thought is to run. Run as fast and as far as you can to avoid this person and their misery. When they come into the office, go back to your cubicle. If you run into one online, log off. If they call on the phone, ignore the call. This is a method, but maybe not the most viable one, because this extreme level of avoidance may create a fair amount of anxiety for yourself and inevitably, they have succeeded in making you miserable without even having contact with you.
My third thought is to confront the source of your misery. I am less than hopeful that his option would work either. First of all, confronting them will make everything even more tense for you; feeding their misery machine. Second of all, unless they have an incredible amount of respect for you, they are not likely to alter their behavior. And hell, if they did respect you, they wouldn’t want to make you miserable.
My fourth thought may be the hardest, but the most rewarding. Don’t let them make you miserable. Counter their misery. When they come in armed with a polearm of misery and thrust it at your throat, parry with a shield of understanding, and attack with genuine harmony, right in the heart. Violent sounding, I know, but effective. If the downtrodden enter with their orb of misery, counter it with your own force of good. Garner comradery and teamwork among your coworkers, and you will always have that to fall back on when misery rears its ugly head. If an internet troll is trying to make a fool out of you for no reason other than their own amusement and glorification, stay the course. Argue your point soundly and the sound minded will respond to you in kind; sapping all of the anonymous strength of the troll. And of course, if the miserable darken your cell phone, talk to them. Talk about things that are uplifting and positive; things that bring laughter and hope, and eventually, they’ll abandon their endeavor, whether conscious or unconscious, and end the call.
Now, I know these methods will not work 100% percent of the time, but giving it the best try possible is well worth the effort, for your own mental and spiritual health. If misery does love company, then make sure that love is unrequited.