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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Why so cynical?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30553points) December 18th, 2012

Why are you or those you know well cynical?


Here’s a good definition of cynicism from “Wikipedia: cynicism (contemporary)” : Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others’ apparent motives or ambitions, or a general lack of faith or hope in the human race or in individuals with desires, hopes, opinions, or personal tastes that a cynic perceives as unrealistic or inappropriate, therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. It is a form of jaded negativity, and other times, realistic criticism or skepticism.

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20 Answers

burntbonez's avatar

I am cynical about people’s ability to learn from mistakes and to improve their lot in the world.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I would probably be considered cynical by others. My husband says I’m “too realistic”, as if there is such a thing, because I often shoot down ideas I find naive or improbable.

I think expecting the worst from people and certain situations has decreased the amount if disappointment I’ve experienced.

I tell it like it is and I don’t sugarcoat the truth or apologize for saying it. People can love me for that or hate me for it – no skin off my ass.

I have no plans to change. As a wise one once said, “Little Mary Sunshine died; I’m Little Mary Go-F*ck-Yourself.” :)

glacial's avatar

I would not call myself cynical in the sense of distrusting others’ motives, but I think others often think me cynical because I tend to play devil’s advocate in conversation. It interests me to put myself in other people’s shoes, even if the other person isn’t present. But sometimes I can come off as being overly critical or even antagonistic, when in fact it is something that I do rather dispassionately.

wundayatta's avatar

Scratch a cynic and you’ll find an idealist.

I’m cynical because it is too painful to hope any more.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am only cynical when it comes to having high expectations for others. In my own life, I tend to always believe the best of everybody.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’m cynical because I pay attention to the world around me and notice the patterns. Some times I wish I could just be hopelessly optimistic but every time I try that approach the world just proves me wrong.

I’ve also found if you always expect the worst from situations you either turn out to be right or pleasantly surprise with the outcome, but never really let down. It’s quite nice :P

zenvelo's avatar

I get cynical at work because we get all these motivational things from the top management, but the management level right below it doesn’t model the “company behavior”. We’re suppose to be innovative, except when we propose an innovation we get told not to do it because the company can’t fit it in the tech schedule. Or work across departmental lines, but when you do you’re not respecting the structure.

jerv's avatar

I am cynical because experience shows that optimism needs to be guarded at all times.

Unbroken's avatar

I am cynical but not a cynic. Or maybe I’m a cynic who is not always cynical.

There is no specific timing to it. I respond to other peoples cynicism usually by being the opposite. Either because I find it unattractive or the burden is off of me.

Though on an occasion a shared cynical bashing can be thoroughlly enjoyable.

Sigh I don’t know it can be seeing recognizing patterns. Or a fear to believe in something better. It can be frustration. It can be self protection a gaurd. It could just be that I get zapped and need to recharge my acceptance and problem solving.

I have seen it spurred by anger frustration jealousy. There is a place for it no doubt. But I would not say it healthy or healthful to maintain a constant state.

jrpowell's avatar

Generally, I think conspiracy theories are hard to hide. Someone will get drunk and spill the 9/11.

rooeytoo's avatar

Cynical to me does not mean exactly as Wiki defines it. I think of it more as a “doubting Thomas” type attitude. I think I have been to so many meetings and heard so much BS from so many that my BS detector has now spread out to include encounters outside of meetings as well. It is not specific to one area but rather I just sometimes get that gut feeling that someone is spreading it on too thickly and then I begin to wonder.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I get cynical when I hear a failing company approaching bankruptcy is giving its top dogs retention bonuses to keep management talent and assure future shareholder value.

That is when I buy Put options on the stock.

bookish1's avatar

I have been cycling back and forth between cynicism and idealism since I came to political consciousness in high school. I guess because I’m a pessimistic idealist.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake because we live in a dog eat sh*t world. A lot of people might be thinking the bad outweighs the good, because it can feel so overwhelming at times. We are a civilization built on lies and deception, which became all the more apparent since the discovery of mass media. We know more, we understand less, we get frustrated.

(Makest me wanna write a protest song right about now.)

I pray to the great mud god Pikkiwoki – mud be upon His name – someday we discover a device that will allow us to instantly know what people are thinking. End deception, end lies, end sarcasm. At least until some natural disaster happens xD

filmfann's avatar


rojo's avatar

I vaccilate between cynicism and optimism.
I have an inherent belief in the goodness and intentions of mankind that is constantly being kicked in the balls by the reality of actually living and dealing with people.
Who was it that said “I love mankind, its’ people I can’t stand”?

Coloma's avatar

It is rare for me to be cynical, unless my very survival is at stake.
In my observations most people are cynical because their focus is extremely self centered and of a ” oooh, poor me ” mentality. I agree with @rojo , inspite of it all I still retain faith in the overall decency of humanity, but, some days I can be quite cynical.

phaedryx's avatar

I know people who are really good with photoshop.

yankeetooter's avatar

I’ve become much more cynical the past few years, mainly from having been hurt so much by those I thought cared about me. I haven’t lost all faith in humanity, but it’s a close thing…

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