"Mike," whose name I have changed to prevent World War III, is a tennis buff. Okay, he's not really a tennis buff, because I am changing the sport, too, but the principle is the same. Mike plays tennis every chance he gets and knows all there is to know about a proper serve, how to stand, brands of rackets, which court surface is the best and so on, to the point where I wonder if anyone has ever played a game of tennis that lived up to his standards. I actually do care about Mike, but I cringe when the subject of tennis comes up, because I know there will be a painful yet brief lecture laced with sarcasm and negativity.
What worries me is that Mike seems unaware of how he sounds when he does this. If I am put off by his negativity--and I really care about him!--how must others respond? It's not my place to tell him or correct his behavior, but sometimes I wish I could gently let him know that he is turning away the positive responses he might get from others if he were to convey positive thoughts to begin with.
In contrast, I had a wonderful exchange with someone in an email the other day. She radiates happiness, charm and optimism. She shared with me her joy of crafting. Like attracts like. I found a kindred spirit in her. I basked in the glow of her creativity and she basked in mine. I want to foster this in others, but if I don't always succeed, I at least want to share what I feel and connect at some level. If someone sneers at my weaving (or my tennis serve), I back away and do not let them daunt me.
But just as I am somewhat impervious to negativity, so is Mike somewhat impervious to positive vibes. He lives in an unhappy universe, I'm afraid, unless he decides there is another way to be.