Thursday, August 26, 2010

Don't Be a Hater, By Jamie Nacht Farrell

I love being cynical. I think it adds flavor to situations, conversations, and when stuck in a boring meeting - makes me laugh. What I've realized is that there is an art form to being cynical so that you can 'get away' with witty sarcasm without coming off as someone who's constantly negative.

Negativity, on its own, is wasted breathe. Sure, there is value in 'venting' once in a while - at least psychologists claim there is, but being a negative person not only brings you down, but everyone else around you. Well timed cynicism, on the other hand, can prove to spice up conversations - but in order to be seen and recognized as a humorous 'cynic', one must have other traits about them that will allow them to get away with this type of satire. Nobody likes a plain old "hater".

Have you ever asked yourself if you're a "positive" person? Probably not. I hadn't until someone recently told me I was a "positive" person. I actually looked at the individual and said, "No, I'm actually a bitch". The response I received was as follows: "You may be a bitch, but you're a funny bitch so you can get away with it. You have an infectious personality, so when you're 'on' and motivated, everyone around you feels the same way. That's why you get away with the snide, bitchy comments".

I'm still unsure whether that was an insult, a compliment, or a back handed compliment, but regardless - it made sense to me. Looking back on my day, there are two things that I always keep in focus: 1) Treat EVERYONE in your life as if they're you're most important client 2) Listen to all views and try not to judge.

Now, item 1 is really just saying, "be nice to people because everyone is important". In managing 100s of people as well as in numerous relationships / friendships, it is clear that if you make people feel important, they will respond to you. On item 2, I strongly believe being open minded allows you to learn and grow - even though you may not always agree with what people are saying.

By making the two items above my 'philosophy', I'm still a cynical bitch at times, but people see me as a "positive person". It's an interesting paradox.

Jamie is a Marketing professional and the author of Bizrelationships, a blog about her views and goals in the worlds of business as well as education.


sadya said...

wow Jamie finally we get to hear whats really on ur mind! and hey i've been told by so many that im the most cynical person they've ever met, so that makes us fellow-cynics. And really we have nothing to lose, maybe we wont ever win the Miss Congeniality contest yeah but we can live with that.

Jen Gresham said...


I think there's a big difference between being cynical, negative, sarcastic and a bitch. Oddly enough, I don't really see any of those traits in you online.

I do see you as an independent thinker who's not afraid to share a frank opinion. Does that make you cynical? Or a bitch? I don't think so.

What's behind those terms is usually the motivation behind what's said, not just how you say it. Cynics like status quo, so their motivation is usually to try and talk people out of change by throwing up road blocks. Negative people can't help be see how things will go wrong or won't work as planned. Bitches just like to ruin your day.

I doubt those descriptions apply to you or Sadya. That's my frank opinion, anyway. :)


Ty Unglebower said...

Maybe it's just that in this society we view those who are honest and candid as being bitchy. That we actually punish those who are frank with the stigma of being a bitch?

Jake P said...

That's a fantastic, funny response; I don't think most people would have the guts to say it in that forum. I also suspect that you friend is correct that your personality is what lets you get away with it.

It is unfortunate that, somehow, being hard-nosed or contrarian gets a bad rap. I don't like hanging around with people who are always a little too makes me suspicious.

Jake P said...

Just came across a quote that seemed applicable here: "A cynic is an optimist with a lot of experience."

Sounds about right to me!