Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Is Optimism Contagious?

My dad, who informed me the other day that he's been religiously reading this blog (hi, Dad), also informed me that in his world, the business world, he thinks both optimists and pessimists are necessary to balance one another out. No business can be successful, he said, unless there's an optimist to dream big and a pessimist to be the voice of reality.

So that got me thinking about something similar: if any good business partnership needs some kind of negative/positive balance, then is this also true of a personal relationship, a marriage?

I've mentioned before how my husband has been my "optimism" police through this journey, and also, how he himself can be quite guilty of flagrant pessimism, quite often in the form of sarcasm. So what does this mean for our relationship, now that I'm being more optimistic? Can an optimist and a pessimist co-exist together in harmony? How about an optimist and an optimist or a pessimist and a pessimist?

My optimism is still new, but I have to say that being more positive has made me feel happier. And when I feel happier I think I'm a nicer person, and in turn, I think that's made my husband happier and thus also more optimistic. Yesterday morning, he even did something uncharacteristically positive -- He walked out of the house to leave for work, then turned around and came back in, just to tell me to have a good day. It was one tiny moment, a blip in my morning rush of getting the kids ready and out the door, but after he left, I actually felt that I was going to have a good day.

So maybe optimism is contagious and now we're both becoming fledgling optimists. How about you and your significant other? Do you think an optimist and a pessimist can co-exist in harmony?


  1. I love what your dad said about optimists and pessimists balancing each other out in the business world. It makes sense.
    On a personal, relationship level though - I don't know. I think it really depends on how optimistic/pessimistic the individuals really are. I've said before that I tend to be on the optimistic end of the spectrum. My ex-fiance is very much on the pessimistic end. I tried and tried to get him to cross over to my side and in the end, it turned out to be the other way around. His pessimism ended up bringing me down. I just couldn't take it anymore, and that is part of the reason things didn't work out between us.

  2. I think you're right -- that maybe there needs to be some middle ground. If either person is too far to one side, I could see how it would definitely be a problem.