How to Put a Plug in a Social Drain

We all know them, right? The Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys that high-jack conversations and take the passengers hostage. Sometimes they’re not even bad people, sometimes they’ve just had a bad day, or something has caused them pain and they’re leaking that shit all over the place, inflicting that pain on everyone else because they don’t want to be dragged down the black hole of misery all by themselves. Fuck these people.

Now, I believe in lending a hand whenever an opportunity arises, just as much as the next person that’s worth a shit does. In fact, I’ve just implemented a system with my own kids on how they should look for an opportunity every single day in where they can put a smile on someone else’s face. Kindness is an attribute of strength and courage and I would never believe otherwise. However, we need to be cognizant of the social drains in our lives that seem to require more lending hands than others.

These individuals are more often than not, in need of more love than others, but how they feel at any particular time is not our responsibility, and this is coming from an HSP! By no means do I believe we should kick these people to the curb but we shouldn’t be catering to them either. In writing, it is best to show, don’t tell; this allows the reader to paint a picture in their minds rather than having their hand held through a story. When we do things for ourselves, it has a way being digested on a more profound level. Basically, I can tell my son to be careful around the hot stove a thousand times but one day he’ll get careless and get burnt. Once this happens, something much more profound than my droning voice will click in his head and he will truly understand, “be careful around the hot stove.” With social drains, we can tell them to put a plug in it, but it’ll never change their attitude until they can paint their own picture and digest the message on a profound level.

So, what do we do? These are steps we could use for plugging the social drains we encounter:

1: Stab them

with our eyes and listen to what their saying. Yes, I know, it’s a dark shitty place to be but if we do it right, it won’t last long, so we need to shut up and listen intently. Pessimists and depression are intelligent and they’ll sniff out an inauthentic conversation in a heartbeat. We must listen with the intent to understand, not to respond. Bathe in their misery for just a moment. This will allow us to deliver killing blows that address the root of the problem rather than swinging at the branches of gloom and doom.

2: Starve them

from additional pessimism. We shouldn’t attempt to side with or even against social drains; there is no winning side. And no matter how tempting, or true, we shouldn’t contribute to the negative talk. We need to stay on your boat of optimism riding the waves of negativity and so long as we don’t let it in, we can ride the waves all day. Once we let even a smidge of it in, though, we’re fucked. Our boat will capsize and we’ll just be another reassurance of the negativity in Debbie’s life.

3: Drown them

in optimism. These people marinate in their negativity all day, we need to dilute that shit in sparkly rainbow juice to ripple across their pouting pond of poop. By applying step number one, we should be able to give relevant positive responses. If they say the weather is raining, we’ll tell them it’s about time, the streets were due for a cleaning. If they say it’s another damn Monday, we’ll tell them it’s great to have somewhere to be! We need to be snappy about our responses and immediately move on from the subject. This allows them to have a conversation subject completed on a positive note. We’re planting seeds of optimism in the the barren wasteland of their soul!

4: Kick them

from the conversation. We’ve listened without confirming nor denying their claims and we’ve implanted positive thoughts. We’re done. We’ve got our own lives to live and we’ve done more for this person than some jack wagon telling Nancy to, “just be happy,” or “calm down and relax.” By ending the conversation, we’ve added a positive experience to their memory and robbed them of the opportunity to turn it around.

And that’s it! Social drains are people, too, and they deserve love just like the rest of us. But in our everyday lives, we don’t need to be dragged down in other people’s misery. It’d be nice if everyone helped everyone out as soon as they needed it but that breeds a dependent mentality that inevitably leads to people taking advantage of others. And really, ain’t nobody got time for that!

Originally published at on May 1, 2017.