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Is there a word for the situation when someone takes something said in the most negative possible way, basically stretching what is said to fit the negative meaning that they desire it to mean.

Example:

"Maybe we shouldn't hang out."

to mean:

"I never want to talk to you again, you are cut from my life."

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5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'd call it pessimism. Or even extreme pessimism.

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I think that "melodramatic" would work well here.

Characteristic of melodrama, esp. in being exaggerated, sensationalized, or overemotional.

For example:

Dave: I can't come with you on Friday.

Lynn: You never, ever want to see me!

Dave: Oh, don't be so melodramatic!

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In such a case, I'd say their given reaction is melodramatic, not their interpretation of the initial statement. –  Aesin Jul 4 '12 at 21:31
    
I disagree. For my money, a melodramatic person is one who makes a song and dance about something - not necessarily always negatively. I feel the etymology (Greek mélos = song + drame drama) supports that. –  FumbleFingers Jul 4 '12 at 23:47
    
@FumbleFingers I do agree but, to me, the OP's example screamed melodrama. –  Ste Jul 5 '12 at 17:27
    
@Ste: I understand that, which is why I didn't actually downvote your answer - it could fit OP's context. But it could also fit if the exchange had been "Maybe we should hang out together more." - "Oooh! Yes please! Maybe get married at the weekend if it's still going well by then!" –  FumbleFingers Jul 5 '12 at 17:57
1  
@FumbleFingers Absolutely. At least our dialogue is here for posterity. :) –  Ste Jul 5 '12 at 18:00

I feel the most appropriate description of this situation is over-reacting or over-reaction.

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A common way of describing someone who always exaggerates the downside of any situation and/or chooses to interpret everything pessimistically, is to say...

He/she is so negative.

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I would call it exaggeration. Though it doesn't have any negative connotations attached, but I feel this word fits in the most here.

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protected by RegDwigнt Jul 4 '12 at 18:53

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