Live Through This

The Power of Negative Thinking

What’s so terrible about being critical?

Paying attention to and respecting my critical side—my judgment and discrimination—gave me the confidence to actually speak up. It wasn’t easy, though. When you spout some opinion that the people around you are wont to disagree with, you run a risk of getting super defensive, or super argumentative, or apologizing. It took me a while to figure out how to express my contrarian ideas without giving in or succumbing to anyone’s off-topic bait. A few things that really helped were:

1. Clarifying my statements, even if they’re not agreeable.
In one class, we were having a discussion about feminism, and I, of course, had something to say. One of my classmates immediately tried to “translate” for me: “I think she meant to say that feminism is not as powerful now as it was in the 1960s.” Excuse me? If I’d meant that, I would have said that. I didn’t let the misunderstanding go. “No, actually,” I said, “what I meant was what I said: that we have some new territory to cover, but feminism is adapting rather than giving up.” Don’t let someone railroad you or twist your words around. Repeat your thoughts; clarify them if need be. Stand your ground.

2. Practicing shouting, not because you will need to actually shout at people, but because it’s nice to know what your voice is capable of.
It’s weird at first when you notice you’re starting to form an argument or make a criticism; if you’ve never practiced, it can be scary to sound powerful. I find that singing out loud to any of your favorite songs (particularly heavy metal or Robyn) will help you flex your lungs.

3. Learning how to listen.
Part of being pessimistic is that I mostly don’t want to hear what other people have to say. It’s so much easier to just know that I’m right and they’re wrong! Um, obviously this is rude and disrespectful to people. It’s also dangerous—you might be missing out on something really new or important or genius just because you’ve already made your mind up about where the conversation is going. A conversation—even a friendly argument—is not a contest. Don’t try to win. Instead, try to listen; maybe you’ll find yourself being introduced to an exciting new way of thinking, even if you disagree with the main idea that’s being presented to you. If nothing else, you’ll at least have a good conversation, and probably learn a thing or two.

4. Finding some common ground.
Is there something in this conversation that you both agree about? You may be Timberlakian in a sea of Beliebers, but maybe you all like to dance. Or you might disagree about the candidates running for local office, but everyone hates the budget cuts that killed your school’s art and music programs. Find something you can agree on to take the heat off your talk, and work from there.

5. Killing them with kindness.
I pull this trick out of my arsenal when I’m arguing with someone who’s being really aggressive and attacking me. It’s tricky and borderline magical, but being as nice as possible when you feel like ripping someone’s hair out both calms you down and makes them look like a frothing, seething jerk in comparison. Here’s how it works: If you’re in a conversation with someone who is trying to make you cry, just smile and let them finish talking. Then maybe wait a beat before talking again, and start with “Were you finished?” or something that just shines a light on how calm and normal you are right now. As a Professional Feminist©, I’m not trying to silence you or order you to “be nice,” but to put you in a place where you can make the most rational and amazing defense possible. It is ridiculous how well the psychology of this works, but it does, so go with it.

After I dissed that food blog (POACHED EGGS EVERYWHERE WHYYYYY??), the friend who sent it to me told me, sweetly, that she just wanted to be able to share stuff she liked without my tearing it apart. That was a wake-up call. I didn’t want to die alone, spitting criticisms at the TV and my 20 or so cats. So I learned to tone down my disapproval. There’s no reason to give myself a stroke over someone’s talking during a movie or texting in front of me when I’m walking (even though they’re both at least two demerits). The world isn’t going to end because someone on the bus is wearing WAY TOO MUCH Axe Body Spray. And I know that when someone tells me they like something, they’re not asking for a rebuttal from me.

So now I temper my natural negativity a little (which cushions the blow when things turn out for the worse) with a little forced positivity, which lets me at least hope for the best. I’ve trained myself to recognize silver linings: If I go apoplectic over being forced to slow down on the sidewalk, that might be a message that I need to relax a little (maybe yoga’s not the worst idea). If I’m bothered by your perfume on the bus, I can walk to class instead, and then I get to be in the sunshine for a little while.

And a funny side effect comes from this fake optimism: it starts to become real. Or at least thinking positive starts to come more easily. After I’d done it a few times, I found myself worrying less about inconsequential things—like how every design blog assumes I live in a 5,000-square-foot home and not an apartment with a landlord who refuses to let us paint the walls GRRR—and realized that personalities can be just as malleable as moods. You can be critical sometimes, when it serves you (like when you’re making an important decision or speaking up about an issue that you really care about); the rest of the time you can let things roll off your back, without feeling like you’re betraying your true, curmudgeonly self.

When you learn how to be critical in a way that feels good to you, you often also learn how to take criticism, which is pretty crucial to getting by in the world. You’re going to get unexpectedly low grades sometimes, your boss is going to tell you that you’re not working hard enough, or maybe you’re going to put a piece of artwork online that anonymous commenters will rip to shreds. No one is immune from criticism, but it doesn’t have to destroy you. You can see if there’s something about it that’s fair, and work on improving in that area, and ignore the stuff that feels petty and mean.

Eventually I not only read, but made a recipe from, that food blog (minus the poached egg). I watched Girls and thought it was funny, and came to realize that what I was mad about in the first place wasn’t this one funny show by this one smart young woman; I was angry at an industry that doesn’t give funny, smart young minorities the same opportunities.

At its best, being critical will help you hone your taste and focus your limited time on the things you truly love, instead of wasting it on stuff you don’t really care about. But if you’re not careful, your negativism can easily become reflexive, automatic—and that’ll end up closing more doors for you than it opens. Don’t let your good taste deprive you of new experiences and pleasures and ideas just because you’ve found a few things in the world that you know really suck. Stick with your convictions, and be strong in what you say, but keep your ears and heart open for the rest of your life. If nothing else, you’ll just find more things to rail against later. ♦

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51 Comments

  • oleander October 29th, 2012 11:37 PM

    found myself sort of disagreeing with this in the first few paragraphs, but then it turned out to essentially be about letting go of negativity – which made more sense to me. i’ve been feeling kinda negative lately due to total uncertainty about the future (just graduated university – no jobs in sight) and i find it kills my confidence my life feels way shittier.

    the critical thinking paragraphs in the middle totally make sense, but to me that’s separate from negativity.

    • Uthilda October 30th, 2012 8:22 AM

      I agree. I think the thing is that people who struggle with negativity sometimes justify it claiming that it’s simply ‘critical thinking’. But it’s definitely not the same.

      What have you graduated in? There are so many possibilities out there, it can be overwhelming. Try thinking outside the box and don’t just look for job adverts :-)

      • Danielle October 30th, 2012 1:26 PM

        Agree – especially since we live in an age where “snark” is valued as a legit form of communication, making it easier for people to think they’re adding a critical layer to the conversation when they’re maybe just being a bummer. And when I say “they” I’m including myself here, because that’s the exact sort of behavior I want to stop enacting.

        Plus, thinking so negatively starts to eat away at you over time, you know? It’s never that you’re just being negative about TV or a song – sometimes you start to internalize it and your interior monologue becomes pretty negative, too. I just wanted to work through some thoughts on how to remain critical (which I think is helpful to overall development as a healthy person) but not become an A-hole.

  • Christi October 29th, 2012 11:45 PM

    Amen!!! I used to be just like this, but now I’m learning how to simultaneously be more positive and outspoken! It’s tougher than it seems, but I’ve made alot of improvement :)

    • clairedh October 30th, 2012 1:50 AM

      Me too! This article is basically my life the last two months. My problem was that I always agreed with everyone or didn’t have anything to say at all. Now I’m learning how to be assertive with my opinions and at the same time understand and accept other peoples. I have become about a zillion times more confident since I worked it out :)

    • Danielle October 30th, 2012 1:30 PM

      Christi and clairedh, YOU ARE SO SMART. It’s definitely more about how to be outspoken but open-minded, to stand your ground without closing yourself off. I struggle with negativity so much, and just wanted to reflect on where it comes from and what it actually means to try to change it. One way is totally to focus on the outcome, like the stuff you’ve mentioned – to be more outspoken, to have better conversations or meet different types of people.

  • Maggie October 29th, 2012 11:52 PM

    I always love Danielle’s posts. I wish I had one of those demerit notepads! I hate letting people get away with behavior I deem to be rude or UNACCEPTABLE. But this can be problematic (choose your battles, etc). This is such a helpful guide for how to express yourself without becoming everyone’s most hated person.

    • Danielle October 30th, 2012 1:31 PM

      Maggie, I’m going to make a set of demerit notepads JUST FOR YOU. (❤)

      • Maggie October 30th, 2012 2:28 PM

        I hope they will have a big cartoon of your face, and some catchphrase like, “WE DO NOT APPROVE.” We should sell them in the Rookie store.

  • oleander October 29th, 2012 11:57 PM

    also, i would LOVE to see a post on mindfulness! it made such a big difference to my anxiety and was one of the main things that cured my IBS which i thought would never go away. its such a cool thing and i wish everyone knew about it.
    this is a little introduction http://vimeo.com/24884903

  • Adeline Ania October 30th, 2012 12:12 AM

    I tend to be the same way but I’m trying to improve. This was really helpful and eye-opening.

  • puffling October 30th, 2012 12:17 AM

    Everyone who writes for Rookie seems to have a husband!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p4Btf3X49c

  • cherrycola27 October 30th, 2012 12:23 AM

    I really liked this. I find myself being really negative too and didn’t realize it until semi-recently when a friend told me that it’s hard to talk to me because almost everything I say is negative. I really had no clue I sounded like that. I’ve really been trying to be (at least outwardly) positive and cheerier.
    But just last night my friend’s brother was like “Geez, is there anything you DO like?” after I was hanging out/joking around with them for a while. I guess I still sound that way?

  • llamalina October 30th, 2012 12:49 AM

    There is a big difference between expressing your opinion and slamming everything you disagree with. While the beginning of this article left a sour taste in my mouth, the end began to look up. I just don’t like the idea of devalidating someone else’s opinion because it’s not the same as your own.

  • giov October 30th, 2012 1:42 AM

    I’m very happy to read this on Rookie, as it’s something that I struggle with everyday and with this website in particular.

    See, I read a lot of blogs written by people from seriously oppressed background as a way to check my privilege (that sounds pretty cocky of me already).

    According to them Lena Dunham is a Terrible Person, Amanda Palmer is a Terrible Person and even Lana Wachowski is a Terrible Person. Before reading about why they are Terrible People, I thought they were pretty cool. I still do, but I’m also able to see the Things That Are Wrong with what they do.

    Maybe the lesson here is to hear both sides and never stop at the first impression?

    Don’t just like something because Rookie says OMG LENA DUNHAM IS SUPER COOL. Read around why OMG LENA DUNHAM IS A TERRIBLE PERSON, and form your own opinion about it?

    I fuck up because of my privilege, just as much as Lena Dunham does. We can learn from our collective mistakes and maybe become better people?

    • Elizabete October 30th, 2012 5:26 AM

      I feel like this too, especially on Rookie!

      I don’t understand/see the most of stuff people are offended by here. Maybe because i am not American, i just don’t get offended by anything, i don’t know! Before going on American sites online i considered myself a true feminist and anti-racist and my classmates thought i’m pretty “hardcore” with that, but when comparing to people online i’m a total brat :D

      I also absolutely hate that when there is a great photo shoot on Rookie with only one girl who happens to be white there’s always someone complaining about how Rookie only features white girls even though the last shoot was only Asians and Latinas for example! Like everyone is beautiful and needs to be featured!

      http://melodyfairitale.wordpress.com/

    • Danielle October 30th, 2012 10:33 AM

      Giov, I feel you, and I love this comment. Overall, positive or negative, I’m always searching for the most information that allows me to form my own opinion.

  • Elle October 30th, 2012 2:31 AM

    I love your story, I probably don’t have anything new to say about it that hasn’t just been said in the above comments, but I think you just described me (negative person who doesn’t want to die alone).
    I don’t know though, I pretend to be optimistic whenever I can, but it just feels wrong mostly. It just makes everything I say sound ironic. It makes me feel even worse sometimes, like I always have to pretend when I’m not with my best friends (I am in high school). Did the same thing happen to you? Did it go away?

    • Danielle October 30th, 2012 9:08 AM

      Elle! Hello.

      I think it depends on your situation, you know? I think I started this sort of negative thinking in high school, when I was surrounded by people who I literally could find nothing we had in common except geography, so it was pretty hard to wake up and be thrilled every day that I had to go to school and spend time with them. Be a little easy on yourself in this respect, since there’s not much you can do to change where you are right now. It DOES go away when you get to choose where you want to be and who you want to be with, so that should give a little hope?

      I think you’re doing the exact right thing by having some friends you can be yourself around, and reveling in that as much as possible. I think what I wish someone had told me, though, is that the hard part of your thoughts, the part that helps you get through the times you’re NOT with your friends, doesn’t have to define you completely.

  • paige.xo October 30th, 2012 3:36 AM

    I showed this to my mom because this is me. I am so negative all the time and everyone at school calls me a bitch. A+

  • lylsoy October 30th, 2012 4:55 AM

    I am like you, Danielle. If I ever come to the states, let’s spend a day together talking about how terrible everything and everyone is!
    In year 6 I had a teacher who treated me unfair and when I told him so, he just made me feel stupid and told me to see him after class, which made me (an over-emotional 6th grader who knew everything better) cry. So after class, I told him (screaming/sobbing) that he was treating me unfair with no reason, that I had a right of expressing my opinion and that he didn’t even say sorry after making me a fool infront of class. After my speech I left the room- which is probably the bravest thing I ever did!
    This teacher never messed with me again, and at the end of the year I had an A in his class. So- it is worth to speak up and be negative sometimes. *note-> sometimes* because people will respect you:)

  • Sorcha M October 30th, 2012 5:10 AM

    Oh god, this. I tend to have the most sour expression on my face the minute anyone says something that fits into one of those categories just to silently convey YOU ARE WRONG AND BIGOTED. Then, inevitably, because I live in the UK, men will screech into my face, ‘Cheer up love, it might never happen!’. WHAT MIGHT NEVER HAPPEN, RANDOM MEN WHO FEEL THE NEED TO COMMENT ON AN UNKNOWN REASON I LOOK UNHAPPY. WHAT? Ugh.

    • Claudia October 30th, 2012 2:02 PM

      Oh my god, “Cheer up love, it might never happen” is the most annoying thing ever. Aside from the fact that this kind of just how my face looks and it is none of your business anyway, sometimes people are upset about things that have ALREADY HAPPENED! YOUR COMMENT MAKES NO SENSE!

      • molly-ann October 30th, 2012 5:29 PM

        THIS IS MY LIFE the other day a man stopped me on my way out of work and told me to smile because i ‘was making it rain outside’ YOU DON’T KNOW ME

        • Danielle October 30th, 2012 6:10 PM

          My mouth’s natural shape is a frown; whenever someone tells me to smile I look horrified and say, “I WAS BORN THIS WAY!” and then pretend to cry and run away. Okay, I’ve only done this, like, three times, but not I’m reminded to start doing it again.

  • Uthilda October 30th, 2012 8:16 AM

    I used to be like that and it was down to my insecurity and fear of change. Now I don’t care wether I’m right or wrong and feel much happier. I focus on the things I like and that make me happy. If you focus on negative stuff, you deplete yourself of your own energy. You will never live in a world where everything goes your way and everyone agrees with you, no matter how ‘right’ you are.

  • ai-ai October 30th, 2012 11:39 AM

    Great article! Today at psychology we talked about how positive thinking increases success. On the other hand happy mood and positivity decrease critical thinking… I’m generally very optimistic so I try to tone it down a bit when I need to make decisions. :)

  • wallflower152 October 30th, 2012 12:05 PM

    How do I deal with blatant racism/sexism? Especially if the conversation is not one that I’m involved in. Example: I live in rural south central Texas so everyone is pretty narrowminded. The other day my boss was talking to a customer about his recent trip to Georgia. He said, and I quote “man, it’s 90% niggers over there.” To which the other guy replied “yeah it’s the same as it is over here with the…” He was going to say Mexicans but he stopped when he realized a “Mexican” was sitting 10 feet away. I acted like I was doing work, typing and staring at the screen but inside I was fuming. It still makes my blood boil just thinking about it. What can I say/do in a situation like that? I wanted to say, “If you don’t like Mexicans get the fuck out of south Texas! This used to be Mexico anyway!” It just makes me so mad that people still think this way and I have to deal with it a lot because most people here are ignorant, uneducated and stuck in the 1800′s. : (

    • Anna F. October 30th, 2012 12:23 PM

      Ugh ugh ugh. I am so sorry you have to deal with that shit.

      My big thing is that I never call anybody out when I’m in a situation that I’d feel physically unsafe to do so. If I’m alone in a group full of men or white people who start spewing shit and I’m not sure how they’d react if I’d call them out, my first thought is “Can I get myself out of this situation?” and “How soon can I be with people I trust/feel safe around so I can rant with them?” One of the most infuriating things about racism is how easy it is to feel powerless when confronted with it. Sometimes I just have a mantra that I repeat over to myself when I’m stuck in a scenario like that – “I’mBetterThanThesePeopleI’mBetterThanThesePeople,” repeat ad infinitum.

      Of course, there is no “right” way to deal with this. It’s something we tried to hash out over a year ago in that “perks of being a killjoy” post Anaheed linked to above. But I want to reiterate that you are NEVER wrong for feeling furious in situations like that.

    • Danielle October 30th, 2012 1:13 PM

      I’m so, so sorry you have to be around this sort of terrible behavior. I 100% agree with Anna – you never want to be in a situation where you’ll be unsafe, and the examples you gave sound like there’s no clear way to combat it yourself.

      BUT.

      Since one of these people is your boss, you CAN TOTALLY REPORT HIM TO HUMAN RESOURCES. Every company has an HR office, and it’s their job to handle this. If they refuse, you can sue or contact the ACLU. There is no reason for you to work under such hateful conditions.

      As a black woman who routinely experiences racism, I’m still amazed by how often I hear this sort of hateful language. I still hear people where I live (Madison WI) say the word “colored” like it’s 1945. It’s painful to deal with because you feel like you have to completely teach someone how to be a human in order to make it stop, and is that even your job?

      Thinking that this stuff sucks does not make you negative – it makes you an empathetic human. Go to HR, find someone in your company who can fight against this with you. You have no obligation to remain silent, but protecting yourself should be your #1 goal.

  • yourenotfunny October 30th, 2012 1:05 PM

    Man, this article came to me just as I’ve been thinking about my mom’s ultra-conspiracy theorist boyfriend. Can’t even enjoy my Big Ang without him going off on how the satan-worshipping media is deliberately dumbing us down so we’re ripe for the enslaving or w/e. I am not exactly an optimist or a super-cheery person, but I just am not that angry of a person in general, and other people’s differing opinions and annoying quirks don’t typically bother me for more than a few seconds. So I guess I’m saying… you don’t have to be super smiley and all that, just consider whether the situation benefits from your input (such as calling out a bully or racist, or saying no, I prefer we do this instead) rather than using every given opportunity to express your not-that-relevant criticisms. Or shooting down other people’s respectful opinions.

    I hope that didn’t come out as an incoherent rant!

  • Mary the freak October 30th, 2012 1:54 PM

    This article was so helpful! I shout out my opinon about feminism waaay too less. I am always afraid of negative response. However, it is so important to tell them what you think about some stuff.
    Also, I HATE those teachers which are like ” no, stop talking, your opinion is wrong (seriously we had a teacher which wrote those words under an essay!)or it doesn’t matter anyways! ” I mean, you actually are in school in order to discuss and learn.
    I am so glad I can talk with my fiends about those topics . and I will definitely try to shout out my opinion more, especially in school!

    Thank you so mch for writing this.

    http://birdiewearsatie.blogspot.com/

  • wallflower152 October 30th, 2012 1:57 PM

    Anna and Danielle, thank you for responding. That instance that I mentioned was just one of the things I’ve had to deal with. I’ve seen grown ass men burst out laughing after two gay men walked out of the office. I’ve had a guy say that my boyfriend must have a huge penis because right now he is unemployed and I pay for our dates. I hear this same guy talk to his fiancee on the phone and his tone, most of the time, is so condescending and disrespectful. Anna, I usually do what you said and repeat something along the lines of “I’mBetterThanThesePeopleI’mBetterThanThesePeople” But it’s more like “You ignorant, uneducated, narrowminded, misogynistic fucks.” I don’t feel unsafe to speak out, but I’m a quiet/introverted person so I just don’t know what to say. Danielle, I can’t report him to HR cuz it’s a small business and he is owner/manager/everything. However, thank you Rookie for letting me vent and sympathizing with me. Makes a huge difference just having yall listen. : ) <3

  • Yani October 30th, 2012 4:33 PM

    ahhhh! i was drawn to this article because I saw the words critical thinking though today that combination of words isn’t as clearly seen as yesterday. anyway… I realised that critical was used in the thinking critically/with criticism sense, not the critical thinking/reasonable sense. critical thinking -rocks- it will solve all the problems with anything in your life along with instinct. thinking with wayward negative criticism … won’t.
    <3

    • cancercowboy October 31st, 2012 9:01 AM

      that confused me as well. kept thinking “since when is critical thinking married to this ‘negativism’?
      besides, there’s this awesome thing called ‘optimism bias’. nowadays everything seems to come with a bias. one could argue that the postmodern era has a bias towards meta levels ^___^
      you know the saying: optimism is just lack of information and unduly extrapolation of one’s own hopes. ;)
      anyway, thanks for clarifying this nuance of the english language for me.

      • Yani November 3rd, 2012 2:38 AM

        you seem to have a good grip on philosophical jargon enough to get it yourself but yes, no problem :)

        maybe people just are. positive/negative bias relates to environment. I know that in australia, people are just generally happier or bias-less (more levelheaded). whereas in russia, the bias, if you will, is very negative or I could say, realistic. relates to environment, community, exposure to all kinds of things to change your mind et cetera.

        at the end of the day, I adore critical thinking, along with intuitive feelers type of perception of reality. tmi?

  • Little Red October 30th, 2012 5:53 PM

    This really must be a coincidence. My mother has just tried to get me a ‘life coach’ so there is somebody I can speak to about being so negative and help me be more ‘positive’. This article has really helped. Thanks.

  • taste test October 30th, 2012 6:09 PM

    it made me so happy to see “know you can yell” on this list. I was pretty much mute outside of my house in my freshman year of high school and I seriously did not think I was capable of yelling. I would listen to punk songs and think “wow, I wish I could sound angry like that.” I was so excited when I realized that I could yell too… god, that sounds so pathetic, but it seriously does help you feel more powerful and all that.

    • litchick October 30th, 2012 6:40 PM

      I totally feel the same way about punk music! :)
      “The Hunger” by The Distillers amazes me every time I listen to it- it’s not necessarily ANGRY, but it’s just sooo powerful.

  • thisisausername October 30th, 2012 7:08 PM

    YES! I needed this today.

    This jerk in my chemistry class decided it would be fun to profess to everyone why the holocaust was actually a plot by the jews to make everyone hate the Germans.

    I always used to get accused of being overly critical so i’ve gotten used to keeping my comments to myself, but sometime (i realize) its important to speak out. Otherwise, like today, i go home with the awfullist feeling that I could have siad something but didn’t.

  • giov October 30th, 2012 7:28 PM

    I used to be SUPER critical when I was younger, and then I learned to bite my tongue, which doesn’t mean I stopped being outspoken. I simply learnt to WAIT for the right moment to express my opinion, giving myself time to decide if it was worth expressing.

    These three question can be good ones to ask yourself: 1) Does it need to be said? 2) Does it need to be said now? and 3) Does it need to be said by me?

  • wissycosh October 30th, 2012 10:12 PM

    Cool man’

    I hated GIRLS it really just was a bunch of hotch potch! I shall maybe even give it another go hey.

    Cheeeeeeeeeeeerrrrs.

  • astrorice October 31st, 2012 1:03 AM

    As a cynical girl trying to be a little nicer without losing my negativity entirely (because seriously, I could never be a super positive thinker, ever), I want to thank you for writing this. I NEEDED TO HEAR THIS.

  • victoria October 31st, 2012 9:02 AM

    “Practicing shouting, not because you will need to actually shout at people, but because it’s nice to know what your voice is capable of.”

    Wow. I know you meant this literally but it really rings with power. Thank you!

  • purrr October 31st, 2012 2:11 PM

    thanks so much for this post, but what are you to do when it seems like EVERYONE around you is “racist, homophobic, trans*phobic, sexist, misogynist, ableist, ageist, or otherwise bigoted about groups of people” in some way? I try to softly call out people, but usually they get all defensive, and sometimes I start thinking myself that saying “faggot” and “nigger” isn’t much of a sin, and that fat-phobia is just a stimulus to lose weight and feel better and that trans*women are actually men. but I know none of this bullshit is true and it’s extremely hard for me to talk to people when I know they are homophobic or sexist deep down. A classmate of mine (we don’t have many similar interests but we sometimes have coffee) turned out to be a homophobe and now because of that I have reduced his whole persona to just that – a homophobe. I do this with a lot of people, but I believe it’s right to stop this marginalisation of minorities. I live in Moscow, Russia, and I feel like it’s only okay to be a white cis hetero male here, and otherwise you WILL be marginalized. I have been seeing more poc around and my queer friends are slowly coming out, but it’s still hard around here, and it gets lonely – everyone seems to conform to the rules and to the standards, the gay kids throw “faggot” around themselves (probably to stay safe and closeted) and girls play along with the fedora boys so they “have a chance to get laid”. I don’t want to be lonely, but I don’t want to be friends with assholes, either.

  • purrr October 31st, 2012 2:14 PM

    I’m moving to LA in a few months, maybe I should just suck it up and wait for the future. I’m afraid there is no way to change Russia, and I’m sorry for thinking that, but it seems like nothing I do, no blog posts I write have any effect on people that spew hate all around themselves

  • Maudie27 October 31st, 2012 3:41 PM

    It’s socially unacceptable simply because it makes people feel like dirt.

  • Pureun November 1st, 2012 11:38 AM

    I am pessimistic as well. I have negative thoughts especially when I don’t agree to things or just have no interest. I think the best way to do things is to have your own opinions but also accept opinions from others. That way- you may view things in differently from before. Different views may even bring changes to your existing thought :)

  • Ben November 1st, 2012 10:08 PM

    I hate being told to smile! i will smile if i want to. Someone at church told me to smile and “that i never smile” and i was thinking “i do smile, but not at church cuz i’m not happy and don’t want to be here” but i just kinda did a fake smile instead. also people talking during movies really bothers me. but generaly i’m a positive accepting person.
    also recently this one guy has come up to me and aplogized because he said he used to make fun of me (for how i dress) but now he realizes it dosen’t matter and he won’t do it again. it was wierd tho cuz i thought he was cool and he didn’t seem like he would be mean about me and then my friend was like “if you do that again i’ll kill you and your family (not literaly)” and i was like “he just said he was sorry and wouldn’t do it again! the end

  • Jemila December 19th, 2012 5:15 AM

    great article. :)

  • serinaparis December 19th, 2012 3:32 PM

    I love that they did an article on negativity because I’ve been trying to shape my negativity over the past year into something that is not detrimental for me. It made me feel really good to hear someone else dealing with this challenge, and that having the natural ability to be negative/critical can be a benefit in many situations, though perhaps not all.