November 21, 2017
If I'm an Introvert, Does that Mean I Will be Less Happy and Healthy?
Study after study shows that socializing is healthy, that people who have social activities in their lives tend to be happier and have greater well-being (Sin and Lyubomirsky, 2009). What does this mean if you prefer quiet activities alone? Does it mean you are less healthy and more likely to be depressed?
To answer this question it is important to understand how research is done. The public often mistakenly believes that the outcome of scientific research applies to everyone. So if research indicates that those who socialize frequently are happier, then they believe that is true for all people. This is a common error because that is often how the media presents the results of research.
However, research examines group differences which means that it looks at the average across a group of people. Think of it this way. Just because the average IQ is 100, it doesn't mean that everyone has an IQ of 100. The same is true of other research. In the case of social activities and well-being, the average person may be happier and healthier having more friends and opportunities for socializing but that doesn't mean everyone is.
November 9, 2017
Passive-Aggressive Example: The Perfect Backhanded Compliment
Question:How can I respond to "I wish I could be like you and not care about the latest fashion trends."
Although I've addressed backhanded compliments before, this one is particularly difficult. A backhanded compliment is an insult disguised as a compliment. Often, the "compliment" is delivered with a
sarcastic tone and can be easily identified as an insult: "You're making a fashion statement today." Or, the word choice gives it away: "You're fashionably dressed for a change." In such cases, the
insult can be ignored by focusing on the compliment. A simple "thank you" can prevent the PA person from obtaining satisfaction. Or, in some circumstances, the insult can be more directly addressed.
See my response to Handling a Backhanded Compliment
But the statement "I wish I could be like you and not care about the latest fashion trends" delivered with a tone of sincerity can be a perfect backhanded compliment. The reason that I consider it "perfect" is because unless it is a pattern of behavior it can be very difficult to determine whether it is a genuine compliment indicating that the person admires your nonconformity and individuality or if it is a backhanded compliment. In such a circumstance, simply saying "thank you"
may be inadvertently agreeing with an insult. So, we need to have a better way when a statement is so ambiguous.
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