Psychology of a Party Pooper

“Friends and family who suffer the lack of abundance, joy, love, fulfillment and prosperity in their own lives really have no business imposing their self-limiting beliefs on your reality experience.”

• Anthon St. Maarten

How to spot a party pooper

A party pooper can’t wait to walk all over your dreams like a four-year-old tracking mud all over your freshly mopped kitchen floor. They just can’t resist the urge to kill your ambition.

Have you ever told someone about your dreams or ambitions and almost immediately regretted doing it? You might have been hoping for excitement and support but all you got was a laundry list of ‘reasons’ why your dreams can never come true, or how insane and unrealistic your goals are.

A party pooper usually arms themselves with anecdotal examples of some person they know personally, or maybe read about on Facebook, who tried doing the very same thing you are attempting and it didn’t work out for them. Surely, you don’t want to end up like that guy. Just quit while you’re ahead. Save yourself the heartbreak.

Sometimes a party pooper will subtly attack your self-confidence. “Are you sure this is the right decision?” They will mention how hard it’s going to be. “It’s gonna take a really long time to reach that goal”. “For that kind of money, they’re going to expect a lot out of you”.

Then there’s the party pooper who reminds you why your dream is not worth pursuing. “You won’t make any money doing that”. They might suggest you take a more ‘practical’ or ‘sensible’ route. After all, a dream is not worth pursuing unless it’s practical, right?

Then there’s the old, reliable party pooper fallback argument: normalcy. Apparently, there’s this group of ‘normal’ / mediocre people that we should all aspire to emulate. “Why don’t you just get a normal job like normal people do?” The problem is, the world is not changed by ‘normal’ people. It’s the ambitious dreamers who change and create the future.

Why they do what they do

A party pooper is a broken person. Past failures have broken their ability to dream. They are like a child who got burned by a hot stove once and now they’re forever scared to venture into the kitchen again. Sometimes this fear is not based on past experience but on believing the naysayers in their life. These individuals have been taught to fear change or anything that falls beyond the realm of what society considers ‘normal’. They have substituted inspiration with fear as their guide.

A party pooper allows fear to stifle their own dreams and then project their own fears on others. They consider their ‘rational’ fear a sign of wisdom and think it’s wise to forego a potentially fulfilling life while clinging to their ‘righteous’, ‘rational’ life of fear.

  • Fear of loss. As the saying goes; once bitten, twice shy. Sometimes the experience of a great loss causes some people to withdraw from life. They become so averse to failure or loss that they completely avoid any undertaking that carries a risk of failure. These people usually project their fear of loss on others who attempt to accomplish great things. When naysayers rain on your parade, sometimes they deeply believe they are doing it for your own good. They feel they are protecting you from the heartbreak of loss or failure.
  • Fear of being alone. Close friends of the suddenly ambitious and inspired individual may feel like they are losing a friend/ spouse/ colleague. Their ambitious friend will soon no longer travel in the same circles because successful people tend to hang out with other successful people. This creates a feeling of resentment and rejection.
  • Fear of being judged. Mediocrity and failure is made more bearable by the knowledge that you are not alone in your failure. When everyone around you sucks, there is less pressure to work harder or excel. The is comfort in the anonymity of mass failure. However, when one person begins to ascend the ladder of success, it puts a spotlight on the failures of the rest. Your success, despite coming from a similar background to your peers, highlights their comparable inability to achieve the same status and success.
  • Fear of death or injury. Sometimes a party pooper has genuine concern for your safety. A good example is when one plans on joining the military, the police force or becoming a firefighter. These are dangerous professions and it is understandable that friends and family may be genuinely concerned for your safety.

How to deal with a party pooper

When faced with naysayers and dream killers, the first thing to do is sit down with them and have an honest, non-judgmental, calm talk. Be careful not to fly off the handle and start accusing every one of being against you. Find out what their real concerns are. If they are genuine, try to allay their fears by explaining your line of reasoning. Try to find a compromise where possible.

If you still don’t see eye to eye with the party pooper after a heartfelt talk, and you still strongly feel you should pursue your dream, you may choose to ignore your naysayers and carry on. You can’t win every battle and you can’t please everyone. At the end of the day, no one can chase your dreams for you. You have only one life to live. Live it to the fullest potential.

Sometimes the party pooper doesn’t really have a genuine concern for you. Some people are just jealous and hateful. It’s okay to completely cut these people out of your life. If you can’t do that, at the very least resolve not to share your plans and ideas with them. Don’t serve your dreams to a jealous naysayer on a silver platter so they can stomp all over them.

Then go out and be great!

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