In today’s world, it’s easy to let cynicism take hold and keep your mind hostage. While you try your best to remain upbeat and happy, there’s always something that comes along to ruin your mood. How can you remain confident in a world filled with cynical people?
Ten Common Behaviors of Cynical People
When you recognize the signs of cynicism, you can do something to change your overall attitude. Not only does a negative attitude affect you, but it also affects those around you. Here are ten behaviors of cynical people that you should observe and how to overcome these common adverse feelings.
1. They Believe the World Is Evil
Cynical people often feed off the dismal headlines that dominate the media. Even if they hear a positive story, it doesn’t impress them. These folks are convinced that the world is inherently evil.
According to an article published by the Psychology Bulletin, this common perception is called negativity bias. It’s when you can overlook all the good happenings around you and focus on the few bad ones. The article further suggests that this mindset usually develops early in childhood.
2. When Good Happens, It’s a Bad Omen
Even when cynical people are blessed, their joy is short-lived. They are often sure that it’s the calm before the storm. Their minds are so blocked with pessimism that they can’t enjoy a celebration because it means something bad will happen.
While everyone in their circle is rejoicing, they are overwhelmed with anxiety, as they fear that there’s impending doom.
3. They Have to Be Motivated to Be Nice
Cynical people may be grumbly and unpleasant at times, but it doesn’t mean they are heartless. They love their family and friends but usually have difficulty showing it. Paying compliments doesn’t come easy to them, and they are notorious for paying backhanded ones.
Since they naturally have trust issues, pessimists aren’t always quick to do favors. If they see a benefit from helping others, they may do so, but not with a smile. When they happen to do something kind for you, be assured they won’t let you forget it.
4. They Are Suspicious of Everybody
You may never get emotionally close to a cynical person. An article published by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin states that these people don’t view others positively. According to the report, they often believe that even moral people have ulterior motives for doing good deeds.
Do you know someone who second-guesses nearly everything you say or do? For example, you buy this person a beautiful book as a gift. After a half-hearted thanks, they may ask you if you think they need to read more to get smarter.
They often think that others are trying to take advantage of them. Even though you’re doing something kind for them, they aren’t convinced that your motives are pure. Such a mindset can lead to social isolation, paranoia, and depression.
5. Cynical People Usually Don’t Have a Lot of Friends
If you are suspicious of everyone, your circle will be quite limited. Cynics aren’t known for their upbeat personalities or as social butterflies. While most are highly intelligent, they don’t always have the best people skills.
They probably have strained relationships within their family. Most pessimists have those few people who “get” them. These folks have known them for years and are used to fending off their biting criticisms.
6. The Shift the Blame to Others
Another typical behavior of cynical people is that they often view themselves as superior. Everybody else in the world are hypocrites and incompetent. They may exhibit narcissistic behaviors and act condescending to other people.
In their warped view of superiority, these folks can’t stand to be wrong. If you call them on the carpet for an offense, they quickly shift the blame to others. Such attitudes can be toxic in their personal and professional relationships.
7. They Consider the Worst Possible Scenario
Pessimistic personalities make worrying an artform. It’s often challenging for them to make decisions because all options look bleak. Instead of considering a positive outcome, they anticipate the worst possible scenario.
They may refuse to take a plane for vacation because they’ve already envisioned a crash. A long-term relationship may be out of the question because they’re sure it won’t last. Consequently, they lose out on many potential blessings because they won’t take risks.
8. Most Cynical People Live in the Past
Almost nothing in a cynical individual’s life is pleasant and fulfilling. They long for the “good old days,” which they view as better than the present. However, their memories are sometimes exaggerated, which furthers their frustration.
You’ve probably heard them begin a series of gripes with, “Well, back in my day….” People were always nicer, children were better behaved, and the sun was much brighter. It’s sad to see them wasting the present by living in the past.
9. Their Negativity Affects Those Around Them
The law of attraction isn’t biased and will work by either polarity. Cynical folks believe that nothing good ever works out for them. By sending these negative affirmations into the Universe, they attract more of the same.
Meanwhile, they bring the same storm cloud with them to any gathering. While you and others are laughing and trying to have a good time, they find fault with everything.
10. Cynical People Hold Grudges
If you ever offend cynical people, you’ll rarely get back into their good graces. In fact, they may view your transgression as inevitable. However, they are often petty and easy to offend, even if your words or actions were completely innocent.
They’ll contemplate on this slight and may re-interpret everything in your past relationship. Maybe you were never their friend or partner, and you were waiting for the right moment. They’ll become even more suspicious of others and may never give you a chance to apologize.
If they accept your apology, be ready for a tongue lashing. They keep score, and they won’t let you forget all the wrong you’ve done to them. Should they be the offender, don’t expect apologies anytime soon.
Are You One of These Cynical People?
Do you see some of these negative traits in yourself? While it’s wise to be cynical sometimes, you don’t want the mindset to control you. Here are some ways to get a handle on this destructive mindset so that you can live a happy life.
1. Admit You Have a Negative Attitude
The first step in most recovery programs is to admit you have a problem. It’s not shameful to admit to yourself that you’re too cynical. Maybe you’ve lived with the attitude for so long that you don’t realize how it’s affecting your life.
Now, you have a chance to change that woeful attitude. Whenever pessimism sneaks into your thoughts, acknowledge it and rethink the situation. You’ll get into the habit of thinking more positively.
2. Cynical People Must Work to Make Positivity a Habit
No, you don’t need a pair of rose-colored glasses to change your attitude. You need to concentrate on the many good things surrounding you. Chances are they outweigh any of the bad ones.
Make a habit of trying to find the good in people. You may find that people aren’t as evil as you think. You’ll also be surprised at how your circle of friends will expand.
3. Be Grateful
One of the reasons you may have a bleak outlook is that you don’t count your blessings. How often have you griped about what you don’t have and neglected to be grateful for the things you have? If you didn’t have these things, how would you feel then?
Practicing gratitude revives your energy and helps you have a brighter attitude. You’re more apt to smile and say “thank you” to all who bless you. Faithful to the law of attraction, your gratitude will attract more things that will make you grateful.
4. Cynical People Should Take a Media Fast
If you’re looking for something to nix your cynical attitude, the media isn’t your answer. Consider limiting yourself on how much news you listen to and read. The dismal headlines are enough to make the happiest person depressed.
5. Re-evaluate Your Circle
Remember the old saying that misery loves company? It’s no surprise that cynical individuals are drawn to others with the same mindset. It creates a perfect storm of despair, disappointment, and hopelessness.
Try to avoid being around such people as much as possible. Instead, surround yourself with folks who have a positive outlook and encourage you.
6. Have Fun
It’s easy to be gloomy when you don’t do anything fun and exciting. Stop taking yourself so seriously and learn how to laugh again. Of course, there’s a time for seriousness, but it shouldn’t be every waking moment.
Try to do something spontaneous every day. Buy a bottle of bubbles and enjoy them with your kids in the park. See one of your favorite comedies and giggle until your sides ache.
If you don’t have a hobby, consider starting something you’ve always wanted. Spend time with a loving pet and notice how they live in the moment. The more you smile and laugh, the more beautiful your world can be.
Final Thoughts on Identifying the Behaviors of Cynical People
Life is too short to find fault with everyone and everything. If you’re one of the cynics who isn’t enjoying life, it’s never too late to make a change. Learn how to cultivate joy in your heart and emerge from the shadows of despair.