A friend once recommended that I connect with a colleague of hers who she believed had much in common with me—similar career background etc. Always looking to make new personal and professional connections, I eagerly got in touch with the gal and we arranged to meet for breakfast. As soon as we sat down and introduced ourselves, this new “contact” asked me, “So when are you moving?” Thinking she must have me confused with someone else since I had no plans of moving, I replied, “I’m not moving. What are you referring to?” She stated, “NJ is such a toxic state. I can’t wait to get out of it. What about you?” I was so startled by her statement and her assumption that I, like her, was looking to ‘get out’ I told her that I was a life-long NJ resident (she was not), loved the state, and had no plans of moving. I asked her why, if she thought the state was so ‘toxic’ wasn’t she herself moving? She rattled off a litany of excuses about why she couldn’t go and was “stuck” here. She also told me of a failed business she had (no surprise there) and how “no one succeeds in business anymore.” I assured her that I and many others were successful in business but that if she believed what she just said she certainly would never succeed in business.
Let’s just say that the conversation deteriorated after that as she continued to spew her negativity about just about everything in life you can think of. I couldn’t wait to get out of that restaurant and was so sorry I had spent any time with her at all. After we parted company, her negativity clung to me like tar. Hard as I tried, I couldn’t shake it for the remainder of the day. This individual simply chose to see or “create” a down side to everything; a true Debbie Downer. When we convince ourselves that everyone and everything is defective, then we don’t have to take responsibility for our own part in our unhappy life and can use that as an excuse not to take positive action. But even worse than that, our negativity impacts those around us—coworkers, family and friends. If our brief time together had such a negative impact on me for an entire day, I can’t even imagine how she lives with herself never mind anyone else.
What does all this mean for you? If you spend even short periods of time with Dan or Debbie Downer, you will be unwittingly dragged down into their dark den. If you are a Debbie Downer yourself consider how you are affecting those around you and how your outlook impacts your own ability to be happy and successful.