Battling Brunch: How Do You Respond To Negativity?

One of my favourite things to do on the weekend is to go out for brunch, especially with family members or friends. It often becomes the perfect time to connect with people. After my subitizing learning focus over a year ago now, brunch outings also offer new opportunities to add pictures to my growing subitizing presentation. 🙂

I go out for brunch with a few different people, but this blog post is about one of them.

I’m not sure that I would call this person a friend. For the number of times that I see her, you would think that she would be one, but I think that “acquaintance” is a better word to describe her. We could be friends, but for a true friendship to happen, she would need to be more positive. I’m not going to pretend that I’m always a positive person. Sometimes, we all need to vent.

  • Maybe we’ve had a bad day.
  • Maybe we’re frustrated by a decision or a situation.
  • Maybe we’re overwhelmed with things to do, and the time to do it.
  • Maybe we’re angry or upset by the actions of another individual.

I can’t help but think of Stuart Shanker‘s questions of, “Why?” and “Why now?,” and how these negative experiences often come with answers to these two important questions. Friends are the kind of people with which we can share these experiences. A good friend of mine often spoke about a “garage group,” and the need to have people with whom we can park all of our questions, concerns, and comments, and know that it’s safe to share so openly. After numerous brunches out with this acquaintance of mine, I’m wondering if I may be part of her “garage group.”

The problems here are two-fold here though.

  • She only seems to be negative.
  • She cannot see her own negativity.

She sees herself as positive, and she often views everyone else as the source of the problem. When I first started learning about Self-Reg, I kind of thought that these brunches were a way for me to apply what I learned through Foundations 1.

  • Could I be a stress detective?
  • Could I co-regulate her?
  • Could I help her find things that changed her outlook?
  • Could I learn how to better empathize with her?
  • Could I maybe lend her my calm?

I don’t want to give up on her, as I’m afraid that this will just increase her negativity and add to the problem. What impact might this have on her other interactions throughout the week? Do I need to just stress detect some more? But I’m struggling here. Week after week, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to help make things better … or even if I can. And I leave these brunches, drained by the negative comments and eager to find some positivity. Is this good for my own mental health? I want to surround myself with positive people, but I also don’t want to give up on someone, who may very well need a friend. What would you do? I feel as though the answer lies in Self-Reg, but these brunch meetings are testing my limits and making me wonder if I need a new favourite thing to do on the weekend.

Aviva Dunsiger has been the Portal Plus Moderator for close to a year now and just finished the Foundations Certification Program. She has taught everything from Kindergarten to Grade 6 and enjoys blogging about her teaching and learning experiences. She blogs professionally on her blog, Living Avivaloca. Aviva is excited to contribute a monthly post on The MEHRIT Centre Blog.
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