Miserable People Prefer Not to Be Cheered Up
You're only going to make them feel worse, say researchers
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 28, 2014 12:33 PM CDT
Those with low self-esteem get more of a lift from commiseration than from friends trying to lift their spirits, a study finds.   (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

(Newser) – If your friend is feeling down, your first thought might be to tell her things aren't so bad—but that may not be helpful. People with low self-esteem get a much bigger boost from "negative validation" than from "positive reframing," suggests a study in the American Psychological Association out of Canada's University of Waterloo. What does that mean? They'd prefer for you to tell them that you understand their feelings—and that those feelings "are normal and appropriate to the situation"—than for you to tell them to put on a happy face.

"People tend to be uncomfortable dealing with negative emotion, so we believe it’s best that everyone thinks positively, and we try to make them think that way," researcher Denise Marigold tells Pacific Standard. We might think we're helping, when in fact we're just making the other person feel alienated, she explains to Today. "They feel as if people don’t understand their issues and don’t accept their feelings." That doesn't mean you should agree with your friend's low self-opinion; instead, just show your empathy. A teddy bear might help, too.

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Veritas
Jun 29, 2014 8:30 AM CDT
Everyone gets miserable but its those that wallow in it that, who need to move on to something more positive, ya maybe life kicked ya in the ass...but ya got to get back up eventually. It is good to be left alone for awhile to recharge which is better than some sanctimonious pep speech.
JERZJOE
Jun 29, 2014 8:16 AM CDT
We have been Miserable People since JAN 2009!!:( well... We will all be Cheered UP:) & NOT be Miserable People Again.... When the DUMOCRATS LOSE & the REP WIN BIG on NOV 4, 2014!!!! CAUSE THESE LEGAL REGISTERED RESIDENT VOTERS KNOWS THAT..... America's is worth fighting for, to ensure future generations enjoy the same opportunities we’ve had to gain an education, **, start a family and live in peace, get a good job **UNHARRASSED BY A MEDDLING,CENTRALIZED MONOLITHIC GOVERNMENT IN TODAY'S USA***!!! ALSO.. Then in Nov. 08, 2016 Gov. Christie will be prez!!!! And everything will be AOK in the USA on Jan 20, 2017!! Now that's being CHEERED UP:)!! There ya go!!
floridavet
Jun 29, 2014 7:50 AM CDT
The article seems to reinforce the adage, "misery loves company." People who are "miserable" don't want to get better, they just want you to join them in their "misery." It would be like singing a duet of "Oh, woe is me!"