Gretchen Rubin, Happier At Home, has hit the nail on the head when she described a pattern I witness in my own life. People who exhibit extreme emotions cause others to polarize. Viola! That was a revelation. I do that and wonder sometimes why I am fighting so hard to combat the other person's point of view. It could be called the Eeyore and Tigger syndrome.
"When Tiggers and Eeyores meet, Tiggers become ever more insistently cheery, and Eeyores become more negative, to resist each other’s influence. In a frustrating cycle, they oppose and exhaust each other. As Tiggers insist, “Hey, it’s not that bad,” or “Look on the bright side!” Eeyores insist even more emphatically on the correctness of their gloomier attitudes. The more Eeyores say, “It’s best to be prepared for the worst,” and “You’re not facing reality,” the more frantically Tiggers act as cheerleaders."
This explains so many encounters with my daughters and friends. And, I have played both roles, so I can't say I favor one point of view. I think it is a gut response to extreme emotion. How can I stop?
"Acknowledging someone else’s point of view, without trying to correct or deny it, slackens the tension, and in any event, it’s rare for either side to make a convert. Tiggers and Eeyores alike are proud of their identities; they aren’t going to be talked out of their positions."
Here is a second insight, which I kind of knew and I find that I react to this position often.
"I noticed something further. Eeyore types often criticize the “fakeness” of extreme Tiggers, and they’re exasperated by this Panglossian refusal to acknowledge the dark side of life (to mix literary metaphors). But when I reflected about people I’ve known who might be considered extreme Tiggers, I saw a common thread: Many of them were facing a major happiness challenge in their lives."
So, therefore, what? I am going to be more sensitive to this syndrome and try harder to let people be.
Rubin, Gretchen (2012-09-04). Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life.