Why Peppy People Terrify Me

There is something about peppy people that I don’t trust.

I am not referring to the sincerely energetic people who are kind and disciplined. I mean the bouncy, perfectly coiffed, smiling-so-much-they-need-vaseline-on-their-teeth people.

Perhaps it’s because as a preacher’s kid I learned that the peppiest, sweetest people often were fashioning the gossip-guillotine that would eventually cause my dad a lot of pain.

Or because I have found that the flatterers who say things like, “I want to be you,” actually mean it. They don’t just admire you, or think you’re smart. They want to knock you down, drag you out, and take your place.

Maybe my discomfort started with clowns . . . 

I remember being taken to my first circus and become fixated on this large man dressed in a polka-dotted jumpsuit. I thought he was a really big baby at first which freaked me out. Then I looked at his face and realized that his smile was painted on. Painted on! I had no idea what was going on behind that fake smile. I didn’t understand the big red nose. I didn’t know the true size of his feet nestled in those big shoes. I didn’t understand the bright orange curly hair that looked like rotten cotton-candy.

[quote button_text=Tweet the Quote”]Peppy people are like clowns – they are not what they seem.[/quote]

So, how do you recognize peppy people?

  • They are the people who dress according to character. If they want to be known as a goddess, they were long, flowing robes. If they want to be known as a menopause expert, they are thin, wearing tight dresses to show that menopause weight gain didn’t get them. Whatever their costume, it is impeccable.
  • They are the people with cliches. “Turn your stars into scars,” “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” “You can be as amazing as me if you try hard enough.” Their answers to life’s problems are sugary and simple, but almost always about the amazing creature called them. Or they. You know what I mean.
  • They are extremely judgmental and cheap in a very nice way. “Well, I just think those homeless people, bless their hearts, could pull themselves up by their own bootstraps if they really wanted to, so there’s no need to give them a quarter and keep them in their drunken stupor.”
  • They are amazed by their own resilience. “You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I broke a toenail just last month and kept going. I stayed in aerobic classes, and kept running, and did whatever I could do to stay in this amazing shape. I can’t help it. I just believe in life.”
  • They compliment constantly, and are voracious carnivores – learners. “I love what you do – I think you are just so gifted.  I would love to learn about your business, and how you’ve moved up so effectively. I want you to mentor me so that I can destroy learn from you.”

These people are your self-proclaimed doppelganger, and they will have everything in your life if they can get it.

Don’t let peppy people change you . . .

So, be optimistic. Be generous. Compliment others. But make sure the motive behind it is sincere. Be real.

Otherwise, you could become one of the peppy people. And I will recognize you behind that new nose, and that cotton-candy hair, and those Jimmy Choo shoes. I will see you.

And you will scare the hell out of me.