3 min readSep 21, 2020

Reverse Engineering Misery Loves Company

There is this saying that most of us learn by the time we are in our early twenties — misery loves company. It’s fairly easy to understand what the meaning is and it makes sense; energy that is down, unhappy, cynical, pessimistic (you get it) will automatically seek out and be attracted to similar energy. Simply put, the phrase means one is comforted by the knowledge that others are also unhappy. It’s a universal truth.

Very similar to “misery loves company” is “The Law of Attraction”, which is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life.

Generally speaking, people with sunnier, happier, more optimistic dispositions seek out those with the same vibes, and those who tend to be more emotionally intense, cynical, even sadder, seek out the same — therefore, misery seeks out misery. We all have a natural tendency to seek out people that feel the same or have emotions in a similar realm in order to build connections. This is human nature at its core — the need to belong and the motivation and desire to connect with others, (no matter your disposition.)

Today, given the global circumstances that we have all been experiencing in 2020, feeling isolated, full of misery, anxious and lonely is a very common emotion. Loneliness is what we feel when our social needs, whether at work, with family, or friends go unmet. Due to the fact that most of us are working from home and seeing our work colleagues or friends on a screen, there is a vibe of universal loneliness these days and many and do not know how to find that connection when not face-to-face with other people. There is a lot of collective misery in the atmosphere.

Often when you are feeling sad/anxious/lonely, you don’t necessarily want to be around happy people, but rather others that can alleviate our pain/suffering a bit by truly ‘seeing’ us and acknowledging what we are experiencing. It helps even more if they are empathetic and are able to demonstrate an ability to meet us where we are and hold space for us to reflect and feel without judgment. That is the power of connection. And connection is the motivation for everything we do.

So, as I have been thinking a lot about the saying “misery loves company” and really examining it from all angles, I have thought about other interpretations and I believe there is actually a positive take away from it!

How about we focus on reverse engineering this saying; change the popular interpretation to one of positivity. Misery attracts misery, but, simultaneously, the right kind of company can help heal misery. The company you keep can become a remedy and antidote instead of an affliction. Sure, it takes honesty, guts and vulnerability to step up and share what you are going through, however in saying “Ok, argh, I’m having a really hard time these days. I’m seriously stressed and doing my best to get through it.” is the quickest way to connect and, ultimately, reach a better place.

So yes, misery loves company. That’s not going to change. However, we can overcome the weight of sadness with a sense of being solution-oriented with others, using gratitude and patience along the way and seeking out heart-centered leadership and people for guidance. So much can change if we just change our perspective.

This article was adapted from my conversation with the distilld


Heart Leader. First Chief Heart Officer. @VaynerMedia. Emotional Optimist! Always have a song in my head!