Monday, May 23, 2011

Happiness Squashers

There are some people in my life who I call "happiness squashers." These are otherwise good people who just don't want to let others get above a certain level of happiness. Namely, their level of happiness.

If they sense you're getting happier than they are, they say whatever it takes to squash your happiness.

Here are some examples of ways in which they do this. Maybe you'll recognize one of the happiness squashers as someone in your own life. Or you'll recognize yourself in one of them.*

Me: I'm thinking about trying to sell some of my photographs.
HS: A friend of mine tried to do that and it didn't work out well for her. She was really disappointed and lost a lot of money. But it'll probably work out for you! Good luck!

Me: Guess what? Matt asked me on a date!
HS: He used to like Alison but she turned him down. I think he liked me too but I didn't like him because he has that twitch. But good for you!

Me: I lost three pounds!
HS: It's probably mostly water weight, but it's still a good feeling. Keep it up!

Me: Maybe I'll move to California where it's more sunshiny.
HS: It's expensive there. Plus, the mudslides.

Me: I was so nervous about giving that talk. I'm so glad it's done!
HS: It was a little short, but you did fine!

Happiness squashers can't just say "congratulations" or "you'll be great" or "of course he likes you!" or "you did a good job." They have to take you down one notch when you've accomplished something good or might accomplish something good or when something good might be coming your way.

I suppose their attitudes come from insecurity or jealousy. Or they're just disappointed with the way their lives are going and want to keep you at the same level as them. Either way, they are balloon poppers, and they bum me out.

The more I've become aware of these people, the more I've found that at times, I myself am guilty of trying to rob people of their full happiness potential. I'm trying to be more aware of this so that even if I feel a twinge of jealousy at someone else's successes, I will keep it to myself and be kind to them. Why not let people be more happy? Why should it take away from my happiness?

Do you have happiness squashers in your own life? How do you deal with them?

*All conversation examples are made up and not based on real incidents. Except one. But besides that one, any similarities to you or someone you know are coincidental.


Erin Harris said...

I thought this blog post was okay, but I'm sure other people will love it. Keep it up!

...tehehe. Love this.

Katherine said...

Ha! Erin... I love this, too! I definitely have people like that in my life, and try not to be that way myself. I've called people out on it - straight up asked them why they couldn't just be happy for me! I think it's just subconscious - they seemed surprised by my bluntness, but stopped squashing my happiness as much after that! :)

Savd said...

I'm with Katherine...I've called those people out on it when it showed up as as pattern, not just a one-time incident (ie: they themselves might have been having a bad day, etc.). Typically, they don't cease their squashing, so I phase them out. :(

movingluggage said...

On the internet message boards, it's called a thread crapper.

Heather said...

I have a coworker who is a lot like this. I avoid her at all costs. She is also a one upper.

I do try to be concious of being happy for people....even if I think there are headed for certain doom!

Elizabeth Downie said...

haha, certain doom!? Maybe you should warn them if that is the case!;)

One uppers are the worst!!!!!!

Sui Sin Far said...

That usually happens when I meet a new guy. Except the happiness squasher is either: "But, he isn't Mormon" OR "But, he's Mormon."

Liz said...

I totally recognized myself from all three examples. I thought our talks were private. Just kidding.
When I was in Mich I knew someone like that (I actually went on one date with him) I would refer to them as Debby Downer.