Misery loves company

September 9, 2014


Misery loves company?

I don’t buy it.

I can’t thing of anything less appealing than spending time talking about the various things that go wrong in our lives.

If I’m suffering, the last thing I want to do is have someone else suffer alongside of me.


On the rare occasions that my girlfriends and I talk about our ailments–some are the normal things that occur with aging and others more serious–we do end up laughing at ourselves:

“We sound like our mothers!” one will say to the other, and it’s true.

But here’s what we get that our moms’ generation might not have:

Words give things power.

When we focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right, we’re seeding the negative and allowing it to grow. And like weeds, the negative stuff can choke out the beauty of life.

So it’s up to us to determine if we want to give negative stuff that kind of power.

Do we want to keep company with misery?

I don’t know about you, but i know my answer.

There’s no doubt that by this age either we –or people we know and love– are facing some daunting challenges. And I’m not suggesting we ignore those things.  What I do believe, though, is that the more we focus on the negative, the worse we’ll feel.

For me, it’s helpful to acknowledge the issue and then move on to the real business of life:

finding joy in the world around us.

Because no matter how bad our circumstances might be, it’s there.

All we have to do is look.

52 comments on “Misery loves company
  1. You are so right, Carol. Life can give us challenges, but we must stay positive and focus on what is good in our lives. Joy is far more rewarding than anything else. No, no, no. Misery certainly does not enjoy company!

  2. This is perfect and 100% right. I prefer to be left alone when miserable or dealing with issues. I don’t share much when in that state. I love and appreciate kind words and such at such times, of course, but company? Ah, no thank you. I prefer to put on my blinders and seek out the positive.

  3. You are absolutely right…better to always “head for the light” and drag our friends toward it kicking and screaming if needed.

  4. Our bodies hear every word we say. And those who are miserable do want to bring others with them into misery land. I had to put serious boundaries on a woman in my fitness classes who wants to complain to me about others every time she sees me.

  5. Mary says:

    You hit the nail on the head my friend! “Words give things power” is such a true statement and I, like you, want to find the joy around us.

  6. I think that everyone deals with issues differently and even deals with different issues differently. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about it and just withdraw. But other times, other issues, I just cant work it through without really talking it out, feeling and expressing the negative and getting it out.

  7. Risa says:

    My aunt has a name for those “what ails you discussions”: she calls them organ recitals. We do care about friends and what’s going on with them, but it’s a slippery slope to give too much time and attention to the negative. I’m with you on this–accentuate the positive!

  8. Linda Roy says:

    You’re right Carol. Although I understand the concept of the phrase, I always found it an unfortunate sentiment. It just seems to imply that we want others to be down with us and that’s horrible. None of us wants to feel alone, but what a terrible way to commiserate!

  9. When my friends start talking about ailments and woes I try to change the subject as soon as I can – there’s so much more to think about and focus on than what’s wrong.

  10. Karen says:

    So true. I’m not interested in other people’s organ recitals, and I can’t see why they’d be interested in mine.

  11. Boy I’m with you. It’s only a tiny step from dwelling on the negative to expecting it.

  12. I’m always on the ‘look-out’ for this kind of company. I never invite them back.

  13. Ruth Curran says:

    I agree with every word you said and sentiment you expressed in this piece. I will not give my power away to anyone or anything and sharing what ails me does exactly that!

  14. Barbara says:

    I’m working right now part time in an RV office and I often have to bluntly tell people, “If you don’t have something positive to tell me, please keep it to yourself.” My God!!! They can go on and on about their physical ailments, surgeries, etc. If I listen – by the end of the day I feel six inches shorter. If I convince them to refocus – they often have to think a minute or two of something positive in their life or day – which surprises me they have to reach to find that focus. I think I’m an energy empathy – it REALLY affects me.

  15. I agree wholeheartedly, Carol. I think that misery loving company is just an excuse for getting your “issues” validated and feeling you don’t really have a choice. It’s tempting to do but just leads to more of the same and a dead end in one’s direction. Sticking with those who just “suffer” and play the game with us just sabotages both of us from moving forward.

  16. Diane says:

    Oh, you are so right, Carol! Just the message I needed to day! 🙂

  17. Totally agree. “Words give things power.” I try to stick to positive words!

  18. I think this is something we learn as we get older. Negativity is like a cancer, it gets in and spreads. But one of my new goals in life is to avoid people who make me feel bad.

  19. Hello Miss Carol — love your attitude. I have been in a particularly kvetchy place during the last week (my boding is coming loose, I just had another period when I thought I was done, ack). So this is a great reminder to put my chin up!

    • This, too, shall pass. I have to admit that for me, having a friend with a serious cancer has been a leveler. I am still missing some hearing in one ear, a month now, but I always say, “hey, it’s not cancer, I’m good with it.”. The prednisone I was on made me always hungry so i put on weight. Still, it’s not cancer, I’m good with it. That mantra helps put my stuff in perspective.

  20. Lana says:

    I don’t like to share ailments because you inevitably get the person who wants to one up you -and nobody wants to hear about that!

  21. Lux says:

    Love this! so encouraging.

  22. I see this so clearly right now, as I am exploring an ending, I am revisiting just how much was. Thanks Carol, your reminder is valuable.

  23. Donna says:

    I honestly did not understand the energy and positive and negative….I am getting better at it, I really am. I know that being positive no matter how difficult gives us energy, that energy provides light, which helps us “see” solutions. the solutions are there…the “universe” wants us to succeed, the solutions are there.
    And you are right, talking about aches and pains is stupid….unless you are talking about a cure you found!

  24. WendysHat says:

    Good question. I don’t know because I would much rather be happy. I try to stay away from miserable people!

  25. Lisa Froman says:

    Yes, yes, yes. I think it’s important to spend time with people who make you feel hopeful…even when times are a little rough. I hope I am that kind of friend, too. Thanks!

  26. I guess the part I love about it (talking about my misery with others) is the bond and understanding I receive, the simple feeling that I’m not alone. Somehow, that feeling alone makes it better already. And one important thing for me is the fact that I’m choosy when it comes to selecting company. You always want to choose those who are either equally wise or wiser than yourself, to make sure you get something positive from the experience. Otherwise, you’ll all just slit your wrists together! Eeeek! 😉

  27. So true! I have to stay positive to keep mom positive. No negativity allowed around here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.