(I am unsure if this picture represents me or you. Or us both. There weren't any appropriately depressing images of vortexes on the web.)
Second, have you thought about the possibility that you're just not interesting? I mean, every time you have buttonholed me and talked we have discussed the lack of progress you have on these two paragraphs of your dissertation, or the many ways your department is totally screwed up and will probably be shut down by the graduate division, or at least should be (I am not in your department and don't know any of the names you are dropping, so I don't really have any investment in this), or how student health has totally dicked you over by not paying for some health problem that has totally incapacitated you and which you proceed to describe in lurid, disgusting detail. (eww.)
I notice that whenever you ask me how I'm doing or what I'm up to, you take the start of my topic as a jumping-off point to bring up one of your own well-rehearsed problems. Perhaps if you turned some of that vituperation onto new topics you would foster a sense of variety? I hear that the President was giving a speech right while we were talking where he totally fucked over left principles by digging down deeper into that
I only know that you took a bit of advantage there because you knew I had to be at a certain place at a certain time, and trapped me outside the library listening to you for forty-five minutes. I'm sure you appreciated the social contact, but with forty-five free minutes I could have gotten a good start on that book I was holding. Or played online scrabble. Whatever. Do you think people are avoiding you and that is why you are so excited to pour out all your troubles to me? Do you think that, perhaps, they are avoiding you because they fear being sucked down into a whirlpool of negativity like the doomed crew of the Pequod, and they are frantically swimming away from you for dear life? I'm only asking because the mere sight of you on my horizon makes my heart sink a bit, and I feel bad about looking for ways to pass by without your notice. Notice I did not say that I don't do it.
I realize this may be a bit much coming from someone who has a blog that at times could be called the Amazing Crankypants Technicolor Bitchfest, especially when considering that griping with grad students is my preferred way of partying with them, but really I think that there is a line that can be crossed. In your case it's about four miles back behind you. And there is a major difference between going out for drinks or having people over for dinner and bonding with them about gossip and problems and doing funny impressions of people in your program, and then there is passing people in the hallways or corralling random vague acquaintances and subjecting them to interminable, endlessly repetitive rants.
Whatever you do, consider that I might have to make a cheerfulness intervention if things continue in this vein. And those motherfucking smileyface stickers make me break out in fucking hives.