Thursday, May 29, 2008

toxic people?

In the comments of my "don't be this person" and "what to say" posts, I got a lot of talk about toxic people. I understand the idea, and there are some people that I do my best to avoid -- or wish I could, in the case of someone it's not that easy to cut loose. But mostly, I think inappropriate responses to other people's news is usually well-intentioned. Witness the responses to PastaQueen's unfortunate headache problems -- people want to help her with their 9,000 suggestions, but it becomes a little overwhelming. Plus, there is probably the suspicion that the person who "wins" and figures it out gets to be Jennette's BFF. I think that's the case for most of my, er, "well-wishers" too -- they want to make me happy, even against my will. I was just a little bitter about it because I reserve the right to make my own decisions, no matter how wrong they may seem.

I think there is a reason that recovery programs of various stripes have "no advice" rules. Giving advice tends to turn the attention off the person with the problem and onto you and how much you know. It also suggests that if the person doesn't try what you are advising that further problems are due to their lack of listening to you. I say this as someone who loves to give advice, because, really, I am so smart. I'm sure I've been the annoying person who didn't respond appropriately on many occasions.

Anyway, no new news to report. Everything is just sort of stuck, except that my nephew continues to do well and get stronger.


  1. I want you to be happy but I don't want to make you happy. I can't anyway so I'm not even going to try - although my spritely personality I'm sure is a pick me up :) Glad you're home in between trips and that the little one is doing well.

  2. "Giving advice tends to turn the attention off the person with the problem and onto you and how much you know." OH you are so on the money jen :)

  3. I think you also have to take into account the average age of Jennette's readers and Jennette's own age. My guess would be that many people feel very protective and motherly toward her.

    And - you suggested long ago - that I put on earrings on a down day - and I want to thank you for that. I had to get my ears re-pierced to do it. and I had to get earrings (didn't have any). but it was all well worth the lift I get from a cute skirt and a great pair of dangly earrings on a not quite EVEN kind of day. thank you.

  4. I'm so happy to have found your blog. I to am a lefty working in education although my writing does not necessarily reflect any education on my part. I have over 100 lbs to lose in addition to the 60 I've already lost. I need all the support I can get. I read several of your posting and enjoyed them all. Glad your nephew is doing well. I look forward to checking back from time to time.

  5. When you make your blog open for comments, it stops being an "all me all the time" place. You are no longer in a monologue. When you post about a problem, people might comment with something more than a "oh, pity for you xoxo." They might even--gasp--comment on your problem by offering what they think is a solution.

    PastaQueen begged people not to try to diagnose her, and people still did that. Of course that's rude. But barring that sort of situation, it's no more rude to make a well-intentioned but self-centered comment than it is to make a well-intentioned but self-centered post. It is, however, sort of shocking to think that you can indulge yourself by venting about your problem and then offer the people who try to help nothing more than your pop psychology opinion that they are rude and ultimately self-centered.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07