The psychology of wishing for bad weather

Do you ever wonder what might go on in people’s brains (including your own) when it comes to actually wanting bad things to happen?

In this particular case – it’s any kind of bad weather event. Usually snowstorms in our area, or even hurricanes and other “extreme” events.

We bring this up – because we’re fairly interested in understanding the weather – and belong to various weather forums. For decades now.

One thing I’ve noticed over time is how some people really want the worst of any storm to actually happen where they live. And they may actually get angry they didn’t receive the brunt of a storm, and often even jealous of those who did.

So I have to put a little list together of possible reasons why someone would want this. All off the top of my head.

Why people wish for or want bad weather to happen for them

  • “Change.” When you think about it – most people’s lives are relatively ordinary and routine. Sure they do “fun” or different things from time to time, but rarely “extreme.” That is why some people can become “junkies” for extreme things (like sports or adventure). But a big storm throws some folks for a loop – and they kind of enjoy the somewhat frenetic nature of it. They get to explore different parts of their personality, etc.
  • “Snow days.” When I was a kid – I wanted nothing more than for school to be canceled. We hated school (compulsory learning) more than anything in life (even worse than jury duty). We’d wake up before the crack of dawn to call the School closing hotline! The same can be said for any bullshit salaried “job” we had. Many people love having those bonus days off. Although these days, they seem to cancel stuff a lot more frequently than they did 40 years ago.
  • “Winning.” The whole human mindset of having the “most” of something also comes into play. Like a competition. Or for bragging rights of some kind. While many people can be satisfied with “what they get,” some want to have the worst or most extreme parts of a storm. This is really part of the human condition – even if there are consequences to pay. Somehow the feeling of having that “badge” that you had it worse than anyone else trumps the fact that it may have caused damage or harm. Weird.
  • “Prepared.” This is another aspect. Some people live for these days because they are crazy about being ready for them. And might even get frustrated that their preparedness turns out moot for a longer period of time. They are begging to use the tools and equipment they purchased to tackle the conditions. They feel useful – like heroes. In reality, they probably are just looking forward to the recognition of a job well done.
  • The despair of others. This goes along with being prepared. But some folks take pleasure in the overall misery of the collective. We’ve even felt this way in the past. These extreme events would rarely have an impact on our lives – but threw many others for a loop. A kind of “haha” feeling that others are suffering while you’re whistling dixie. I am certain many people have felt this way as well. Except for today – you cannot openly take pleasure in it. Everyone has to “help out.” Virtue signaling.

You get what you get – but hope for the best

The last snowstorm we had in New Jersey – forecasts were all over the map. The final “call” was for between 12-20 inches in Central Jersey. We got right around six.

And we were perfectly fine with that.

The kids had fun, and clean up, while very strenuous, wasn’t nearly as bad as it would have been if it were two feet (snowblower broke!)

Part of us still wanted the high-end of the predictions just because of the spectacular nature of a relatively rare occurrence. But we were in no way disappointed that it didn’t come to fruition.

As you get older, you learn to rationalize better. I accepted the fact that I may have wanted something out of the ordinary to happen but knew that the consequences would have been much more challenging.

These days we have an almost Zen mindset of accepting what is. Each year gives you a different set of cards. Just having the ability to appreciate every hand is beautiful in its own right.

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About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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