Polly wanna smack her?

February 16, 2013

A friend and fellow reporter in another town recently wrote a column in response to what she felt was a swipe at her by a competing news organization.

The dueling columns dealt with what constitutes being a positive person as opposed to being a negative person.

It’s possible that the woman who wrote the initial column – I’ll call her Positive Polly (I’ll refrain from calling her Pollyanna) – may not have intended to target her former-colleague-turned-competitor, who has never shied away from reporting on the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll call that reporter Realistic Rita.

News reporting and one’s general outlook toward life are different things, though, and this column is more about basic human nature.

I personally have a difficult time differentiating between negativity and realism. For example, if a person’s car is 10 years old, has not seen regular maintenance and has bald tires, is its owner being negative if he says: “I just know I’m not going to make it to Austin.”

Seems to me, he’s being realistic.

Some of you may remember the Debbie Downer routines from Saturday Night Live. Her depressing outlook would make even the most upbeat of those around her eventually want to open a vein. Who can forget the classic line: “Well, it’s official. I can’t have children.”

While it may be easy to make fun of the Positive Pollys, there is something to be said for looking on the sunny side of life and just generally being a pleasant person to be around. Some day I intend to try it.

If you know anyone who has a cheerful, upbeat nature, start paying attention to how you feel when you’re around them.

Is there anyone in your life who is so kind to others that you just know they’ll say something nice – or at the very least, nothing at all – if your name comes up in office gossip?

If you know such a person, you’re lucky. They’re an endangered species.

A question we probably should all ask of ourselves is: Am I that kind of person?

I will admit I am not that kind of person as much as I would like to be.

That’s not being negative. That’s being realistic.

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