Half empty or half full ?

Some folk use, as a test for whether someone is pessimistic or optimistic, a question about a glass whose contents are half air and half something more commonly valued and noticed when it's in a glass: do you consider the glass to be half empty or half full ? I consider the distinction trite—and a poor guide to attitude. The idea is that if you're thinking of the glass as only having half as much of the interesting stuff in it as it might have, that's pessimistic; whereas the optimist sees that it's got some of the interesting stuff in it, so that's good. For my part, the choices of phrasing being considered are equivalent and I really don't see the use of one or the other should be better construed as indicating the pessimistic or optimistic attitude. How you interpret my answer to such a test says more about you than about me.

Furthermore, I have my reservations about the association of it has nice stuff in it with optimism and it's less than full as pessimism. If the pint glass in front of me has half a pint of cider in it, that almost certainly means I've just drunk half a pint, so I'm quite happy about it being less than full, on account of where the difference is.

If someone says they've had a lousy day, do you think that indicates a pessimistic outlook ? Katie: I had a terrible day.  Ship: Then why are you smiling?
// K: Because the day is over and I'm still here…
// K: …and that means I won!  S: YAY!

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