Why being overly-cynical hurts you
By Mercedes Deutscher, Staff Writer
Too many people have confused being critical and being cynical.
To be a critical person is to be well-informed and skeptical. A critical person questions the world around them and doesn’t accept everything blindly. They may disagree with a popular opinion after taking the time and effort to become (not necessarily formally) educated about the issue. Being critical can save a person from getting into something they shouldn’t have gotten into. Critical thinking can be the key to success.
That being said, there is a difference between being critical and being That Guy. That Guy is cynical. To be cynical is to be negative. Not negative as in having a negative opinion, but being negative about everything. It’s important to be critical of the world around us, yet to be distrustful of everything will get you nowhere.
It only takes clicking on a Facebook page to see cynicism at its finest. People spouting an overtly stubborn opinion, who refuse to back down even when proven wrong.
Someone with a cynical attitude is not fun to be around, because people don’t enjoy having everything around them tainted. Are you That Guy? Can you not see the good in anything?
Maybe That Guy is cynical because of a bad decision they made in the past. No one is immune to making the wrong choice. But rather than use that to justify being overly cynical, use that to help make better informed decisions in the future.
That Guy may be so cynical that they will resort to ad hominem attacks when people don’t agree with their consistent negativity. It is important to realize that these people are cynical about most things. Try not to take these attacks so personally, and don’t give them the satisfaction by replying to their insults. Just because That Guy is negative doesn’t mean you have to be.
These are the people who will claim that all politicians are sleazy and evil. They claim that the entire system is flawed and broken. Maybe some of what they say could be true. Nevertheless, it is not negativity that will solve the problem, but engaged discussions about potential solutions.
Remember to be aware of when you are being critical and when you may just be cynical. It will make things much easier for you and others in the long run.