Fredonia is the worst place on earth

I was amused to see this tweet scroll through my feed on Sunday morning after Alumni Weekend:

“Fredonia is literally the worst place on this earth that I have ever been, and you’re telling me y’all ENJOY going back there after you’ve graduated? Do y’all not have dive bars, frat douches and scantily clad 17 year olds where y’all from?”

The tweet has since been deleted. Let’s ignore the poor sentence structure and just consider the language. Notice the first line:

Fredonia is literally the worst place on this earth that I have ever been. . .

Cognitive-behavioral therapists recognize 17 categories of distorted thinking, and this line is an example of several: Labeling (You assign global negative traits to yourself and others), Negative Filtering (You focus almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom notice the positives), Overgeneralizing (You perceive a global pattern of negatives on the basis of a single incident).

Now, the last line: “Do y’all not have dive bars, frat douches and scantily clad 17 year olds where y’all from?

This is an example of Blaming (You focus on the other person as the source of your negative feelings, and you refuse to take responsibility for changing yourself), Judgement Focus (You view yourself, others, and events in terms of evaluations as good-bad or superior-inferior, rather than simply describing, accepting, or understanding), and Shoulds (You interpret events in terms of how things should be, rather than simply focusing on what is).

It’s worth recognizing this kind of language when you read it, because sooner or later you’ll start thinking it too.

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