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Is It Good To Be Cynical

Is is good to be cynical?

See that puzzled look on that face? That’s exactly how I feel about this question

The word has two meanings:

cynical: adj:  disapproving
1.  believing that people are only interested in themselves and are not sincere.
2. describes a tendency to use someone’s feelings or emotions to your own advantage.
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

For the purpose of this post, I’m sticking with the first meaning of being skeptical of the motives of others.

The older we grow and the more we interact with people, the more we seem to meet up with people who are insincere or take you for granted. For example:
1. The ‘friend’ who borrowed a largish sum of money from you to buy a car. Then goes on to buy a house and  establish herself with no sign of returning your money. When asked  for the money, saying that she now  seems to be quite well off, she turns on you with a ‘Oh, you’re just jealous of my good fortune.” Phew!
2. The ex-colleague who calls only when she needed a favor. She prefaces her request with some inane niceties. After about five such calls, you ask her,  “What do you want now?” She’s ‘offended’ and then goes on to ask for a favor anyway!
3. ‘Friend’ A who keeps conveying all the nasty things ‘Friend’ B says about you, as well as all the stuff  she does to him. Suddenly, ‘Friend’ A stops taking your calls for no reason – instead you get long, convoluted SMS messages from him explain his busyness (doesn’t it take longer to text?). A month later, you learn that ‘Friend’ A is setting off for a holiday to visit Friend ‘B’  and that’s the reason he was avoiding you! Phew, again!!
These experiences and many such others, make you a bit distrustful of people’s motives.
Cynicism, while not being a classic defense mechanism, is a means by which we protect ourselves from getting hurt. We don’t want to face a similar situation or person, so the moment we meet someone whose behavior (or looks even) reminds us of the person who hurt us or took advantage of us, we avoid them.
If we get cynical to avoid getting hurt ….what’s wrong with that? 
I asked José and a friend if it was a good idea to be cynical. They both said it was, because not being aware of the motives of other people would be too naive…..Hmmmm…..
My confusion about whether cynicism is good or bad stems from the fact that I’m afraid that if I get cynical, I’ll lose out on a lot of my personality. By nature, I’m open and trusting of people. I easily warm up to people and vice-versa. So if I get cynical, I would, in a sense, be changing who I am.  …Do I want to be defined by the behavior of others?  

More on this topic in Part 2 of this post.

May you be inspired – everyday!


  1. Indyeah Indyeah March 29, 2010

    I was so waiting for this post Corinne. And what a thought provoking post it is.
    You made me smile.:)
    I was getting worried about my increasingly cynical mind( I think.)

    The line that Vidya loved is my fav too.:)
    No. I def dont want to be defined by the behavior of others.
    At the same time when hurts start occurring once too often, its too painful to bear.

    I too easily warm up to people and think the best of them until they prove me otherwise.
    But then its been happening often. And that's why I was getting worried(still am to an extent)
    Wrapping myself in a cocoon wont work.

    Waiting for part two.:)

  2. Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues March 25, 2010

    @ Vidz – Thanks – worth carrying in mine too -wonder where that came from? 🙂

  3. Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues March 25, 2010

    @ Priya – Thanks for the award – I'm honored 🙂

  4. Simply Me Simply Me March 25, 2010

    Hey C , i just tagged you for an award come and check it out ..hope you have a lovely day !!

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