The Flight is Half Empty (A Negative Plus a Negative Equals a Positive)

After one leg of a recent flight so jam packed I had to gate-check my tiny suitcase, the next leg gave me pause: The flight was half empty. Wahoo! Then I wondered – is being half empty sometimes more positive than looking at something as half full?

Half Full vs Half Empty

  • Your tummy being half full is good when you’re short on cash and long on hunger. Being half empty is good at an all you can eat buffet when denying your fullness will lead to ravaging through the dessert table’s glistening chocolate cake and 7-layer caramel brownie a la mode faster than you can say Tasmanian devil.
  • A theater being half empty is good when you want your pick of a seat. Now think about viewing this scarce resource as half full. A slight panic sets in as the ideal seating arrangements in the ideal location become more and more scarce. The same theater being half full is good when you’re in charge of tickets and it’s in your best interest to fill that baby up.
  • The swimming pool is half empty indicates a sort of warning to the diver about to land head first. Think about hearing a pool is half full. That might seem like just enough water when in reality danger lies ahead.

As I wrote, the Bloody Mary glass (a flight attendant gifted me to help me forget being transferred to a flight with 2 stops and checking my luggage) was one-third full.

Challenge yourself: The next time you use the phrases half empty or half full think about if there’s any positive or negative connotation, or possible consequences for using either phrase. (Here’s a piece Jane Brody at the New York Times wrote on glass half full thinking.)

milking goats
The goat is half empty. The jug is half full.