Self destructive attitudes, personal and political

No one would ever accuse me of being a relationship expert. But this article makes a lot of sense to me: one of its conclusion is that a negative remark (spoken or unspoken) can damage a relationship much more that positive deed can every help it.

Also: relationships can start off with a bang, and the key to keeping them going is to avoid declining too much.

What mattered was the bad stuff, as the psychologists concluded: “It is not so much the good, constructive things that partners do or do not do for one another that determines whether a relationship ‘works’ as it is the destructive things that they do or do not do in reaction to the problems.” When you quietly hang in there for your partner, your loyalty often isn’t even noticed. But when you silently withdraw from your partner or issue angry threats, you can start a disastrous spiral of retaliation.

“The reason long‑term relationships are so difficult,” says Caryl Rusbult, who led the couples study, “is that sooner or later one person is liable to be negative for so long that the other one starts to respond negatively too. When that happens, it’s hard to save the relationship.” Negativity is a tough disease to shake—and it’s highly contagious. Other researchers have found that when partners are separately asked to ponder aspects of their relationship, they spend much more time contemplating the bad than the good. To get through the bad stuff, you need to stop the negative spiral before it begins.


Most people don’t recognize the negativity effect in their relationships. When Roy Baumeister, one of the authors of this piece, asks his students why they think they would be a good partner, they list positive things: being friendly, understanding, good in bed, loyal, smart, funny. These things do make a difference, but what’s crucial is avoiding the negative. Being able to hold your tongue rather than say something nasty or spiteful will do much more for your relationship than a good word or deed.

A companion to that: Consider this meme, which was posted by a local running group:

I see this as illogical: it starts with “no approval needed” followed by a list of “is it ok…” questions…that is…seeking approval.
And THAT is where the “trouble” is: I think the issue isn’t “not racing” or “being slow” but rather expecting others to applaud your efforts. Applause is earned and really can’t be demanded. The winner of the race will always get more praise than I will, and IMHO, that is the way things should be.

We are free to be mediocre and even underachieve (if this isn’t our job) but we have no right to expect applause for it. And if our feelings get hurt when we don’t get it, THAT IS ON US.

People are naturally attracted to success and if we don’t have any, well, we are apt to be starved for attention and be resentful.

As our basketball coach says:

And this brings me to politics
Yes, I am a liberal but I often get sick of liberals and wonder if they keep us from winning politically.

Here is why I say this: yes, Republicans run on anger all of the time. But they direct their anger at “the other”; the ones wagging their fingers at them, calling them “backwards, stupid, bigots,”, etc.

Yes, the rank and file are getting conned..but they are being told: “vote for us and we’ll protect you from those overbearing liberals and lazy moochers.”

Now the liberals use anger too..but the anger is directed at..well, people who don’t want to support those who have less, those who, say, decline to “admit” that a “woman can have a penis”, “gender is a social construct”, etc. And the problem here is that the Democratic “tent” is a wider one, ideologically speaking, and every subgroup has different views and interests than the other subgroup, and when the sanctimonious liberal pontificates, they end up attacking would be political allies.

I see a little of this when I go to our local Democratic dinner. Local Democrats are mostly a coalition of African Americans and Labor; the people I see online or on college campuses tend to be more of the “feminist/LGBT rights” and “science and reason” types. And the latter groups often unintentionally insult the former.

Unless we have a very charismatic candidate that can being at least a modicum of unity (Bill Clinton, Barack Obama) we are in trouble and may well screw ourselves in the upcoming election.

I have not resigned myself to a loss yet..but I see a loss as likely.

What the world wants from you (this post is for closers! just kidding but…)

Ah. What would I tell my new class of students, IF I didn’t have a real fear of being called on the carpet by my dean…ok…that doesn’t bother me, but the complaints that my speech would generate would cause a lot of work for my colleagues and I really would hate that…

But I’d give a PG version of this speech:

Key idea: “if you want to work here, CLOSE.” Whether you are a nice guy or a good parent matters not at all, IN THIS JOB.

Here is the idea applied in this setting: I am here to teach you mathematics. I’ll evaluate how well you learned the math by your work (tests, projects, etc.) Period. I do not care how woke/not woke you are. I do not care if you are religious nor not, tall, short, fat, skinny, athletic, couch potato, white, black, etc.

If you want to make the grade, you need to do work worthy of that grade. And if you want to learn the material, you have to do the work necessary for YOU to learn the stuff. It doesn’t matter if your genius friend does not have to study. It really doesn’t matter if you are working outside of school. It is like running a marathon: if you don’t do the training, you won’t run your best, no matter the reason for not training properly…your fault OR not.

If this seems harsh or unfair: this is how YOU see things …when you want something.

At the big game: what matters? The kicker has to make the kick, the receiver has to catch the ball, the player make the shot. the batter has to get a hit. Do you really care what that athlete did in their personal life, at the time you are watching the game? Does one make an NFL team because they are a “nice guy?”

You are flying in an airplane. What matters? Do you worry if the pilot is “sufficiently woke?” Nope: they have to be able to fly the plane, period.

You are being operated on. Do you choose a woke surgeon that sucks or a surgeon that might not be woke but is good at doing the operation?

You buy a car: you expect the car to be engineered well and to run well.
You drive across a bridge: you expect the bridge to be engineered properly. As they say: “no partial credit” in engineering.

And that is what it is about, IN MY CLASS. You want the grade? Perform. You want to learn the material? Study at the level you need to. Period.

As an aside: I got to this Alex Baldwin video via here. The idea: people have needs and those who meet those needs are the ones who are popular. a sense, winning matters…that is: be good at something; good enough so that others want you to rub off on them. Thinking that you are a “nice, caring person” really doesn’t matter when it comes to having people drawn to you. It CAN make you feel better about yourself and it can help you keep the companionship you find, but it won’t really help you get that companionship.