Misery loves company is one of those strange occurrences in social psychology. It’s humanity’s way of admitting they are miserable, and therefore flawed and projecting it onto others. In any case, it turns out that loving company isn’t exclusive to misery. So why is the phrase misery loves company even a thing?
We’ve all been there. Feel lonely, isolated, and like we’re the only ones that feel this way. It’s a terrible feeling, and one that is often accompanied by feelings of sadness, self-pity, and even despair. But here’s the thing – you’re not alone. In fact, misery does love company. And it turns out that there are plenty of reasons why this is so. Read on to learn more about the psychology of loneliness and find out how you can start to break free from those negative feelings.
Meaning And Definition
When misery loves company, one person’s discomfort becomes much more tolerable and enjoyable because there’s somebody else to suffer alongside them. The misery can manifest many different things, such as loneliness, isolation, or low self-esteem.
While the phrase is often used to describe someone who is deliberately trying to make others feel as bad as they do, some simply enjoy commiserating with others. After all, it can be nice to know that you’re not alone. And sometimes, it’s just easier to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through.
Misery loves company and is rooted in the idea of social comparison theory. This theory posits that we evaluate our own lives by comparing ourselves to others. And when we see someone who is experiencing a similar situation—particularly if that person is worse off than we are—it makes us feel better about our own lives.
Of course, this is not always a healthy way of thinking. After all, just because someone else is experiencing a worse situation doesn’t mean that our problems are not valid. However, at the moment, focusing on someone else’s misfortune can help us to feel better about our own lives.
The Greeks believed that having good friends is one of the essential things in life; they thought only a friend who had shared suffering could be considered trustworthy and reliable. So people used to seek sympathy from their friends—especially before battle—to gain support and courage.
The phrase “misery loves company” is thought to have originated in the late 1600s. It was first recorded in print in 1692 in a book called The Compleatapache by English author Thomas Brown. In the book, a character named Misfortune says the following: “Misery loves company; but company loves not misery.”
According to a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science, people tend to seek out the company of others when they’re feeling bad because they believe that their misery will be more bearable if they’re not the only ones experiencing it.
In the study, participants were asked to recall a time when they were experiencing negative emotions like sadness, anger, or anxiety. They were then asked how likely they would be to seek out the company of others in that situation. The results showed that people were more likely to want the company of others when they were experiencing negative emotions.
Interestingly, though, the study also found that people’s beliefs about how their emotions would be affected by the company of others played a big role in whether or not they sought out social support.
Happiness Loves Company Too
A recent study found that people are more likely to be happy when surrounded by happy people. The study, published in Nature Human Behavior, examined data from over 3 million people in 164 countries. Researchers found that happiness is not only affected by personal experiences but also by the enjoyment of those around them.
If you’ve ever felt like no one understands what it feels like to be in your position, you are not alone. It can feel like misery loves company when surrounded by people who seem to have their lives together. The reality is that most of us go through periods where life seems unfair or complicated, and there will always be someone else feeling the same way. You may even be more grateful for all things that don’t bother other people because they remind you how good you have it.
With that said, we should focus on being positive and motivating others. You can’t beat yourself up, but you also can’t be too easy on yourself either.