Debbie Downer Meets Negative Nancy

I met her during the summer of 1972. From the beginning, it was clear we were opposites in every way possible. Nicole is petite, athletic, dominant, and competitive. I am tall, clumsy, overly sensitive, and am satisfied with the ribbon given out for simply showing up. Our relationship has not been an easy one. However, I am happy to report that these days we share a healthy friendship. We speak to each other every single day, and have grown to respect and appreciate our differences.


Lately, I recognized that Nicole and I had gotten into a bit of a rut. Our conversations consist of one “woe is me” story after another. No real listening or offering of advice is necessary. Negative Nancy and Debbie Downer are stuck in a cycle of perpetual complaining. We each have one particular grievance that seems to dominate our discussions. As soon as she brings up that topic, I tune out knowing that there is nothing I can say to move her forward. I am almost certain that she has grown sick of hearing me drone on about the same old, same old.


Nicole and I love the show New Girl. One of the characters has to put a dollar in a jar every single time he says something jerky. I texted Nicole and asked if she would be willing to enter a little challenge with me. I don’t think I have to tell you that she was more than ready to beat me in yet another competition. If either of us grumbled about our “go to” topics verbally or through texts, we had to put money in the jar. This was her response…”Yes. Totally. We could take that Christmas cruise in no time. Let’s do it!”


We all have that go-to person that we rely on when things are coming undone. I am in no way suggesting we adopt a Pollyanna view of the world, and never share our burdens. However, sometimes we need to hear the truth, adopt a different perspective, and focus on the positive aspects of our lives. As much as I want to go on a cruise next December, I would rather that Nicole and I adopt a much-needed sense of optimism… and allow the money jar to remain empty.