Are You Annoyed by Excessively Cheery People? Or Extremely Gloomy People? Part II.

The Happiness Project Blog Logo

I’ve been thinking a lot about the post from two weeks ago—about people’s reactions to each other’s pronounced positivity or negativity. In some cases, the very upbeat, cheerful Tigger and the very gloomy, downbeat Eeyore resist, annoy, and exhaust each other, in a kind of emotional tug-of-war, as each tries to make the other adopt the proper point of view.

In the post’s reader comments (which were fascinating), several people argued that they were annoyed by the “fakeness” of a Tigger’s cheer. “No one can be that cheerful all the time,” “It’s unrealistic,” “It’s just a mask,” etc. Often, they acknowledged that some people were genuinely upbeat all the time, which was fine; what they disliked was the falseness of the artificial Tigger. It wasn’t the attitude, it was the “fakeness” of the Tiggerish attitude.

When I think back on people in my own life who seemed to force themselves to be upbeat, who might be considered “fake Tiggers,” I noticed a common thread: many of them were facing a major happiness challenge in their lives. Sometimes this challenge was very apparent, sometimes it wasn’t widely known.

I suspect that, just as Tiggers and Eeyores try to counter-balance each other, and sometimes polarize and irritate and exhaust each other, as discussed in that previous post, perhaps Tiggers who seem “fake”—that is, who seem to be trying very hard to stay positive, no matter what—are trying to offset some source of major unhappiness in their lives.

So, if someone’s stubborn, “fake” refusal to acknowledge the dark side of life is annoying you, consider whether he or she might be struggling to stay afloat, to resist being dragged down completely by someone or something. We think we know people, but really, we usually know very little.

(I know, my use of “Tigger” and “Eeyore” is a bit twee, but I can’t think of another pair of well-known characters who represents this distinction so well. Any suggestions?)

From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.




Like what you see? Explore more about this topic.

Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter “5 things making me happy”.

Subscribe to Gretchen’s newsletter.

Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.