Every time you talk to another person, you’re affecting the way they feel. Try not to make them feel like shit.
Imagine you’re meeting two people for dinner. One sits down with a smile, making eye contact, sitting up straight, looking pretty happy; the other is despondent, flopped in his chair like a sack of laundry, and studying the palms of his hands.
Now ask about their days.
The schmoopy one says, “It’s been a rough day. I was late getting to work, and as soon as I showed up my boss dropped this giant project in my lap. And then — as if my day wasn’t already bad enough — it was raining after work so I couldn’t go to the park like I wanted to.”
The smiley one says, “Today was pretty good! I took an extra-long shower, which was great even though I had to rush to work afterward. I just got a new project at work that’s going to be a great challenge — I think if I do well, I might get a promotion. And since it was rainy after work I got a chance to write a letter to a friend I’ve been meaning to send.”
They’re Describing Exactly the Same Day
Whenever someone tells a story, they spin it. Their feelings and motives color the narrative, and we feel — to a certain extent, at least — what they feel.
Think about that. Because it’s huge: you have the ability to control the moods of the people around you.
Are You Fun to Be Around?
You have the ability to make me feel happy when I ask about your day. What were the good things that happened to you? What’s the bright side? What’s the best thing about today?
If you focus on the negative, I’m not going to feel great. And I’m going to associate that feeling with you. And if it happens frequently, I’m going to start avoiding you, because you’re a downer.
Back to Paulie and Bobbi
So, let’s assume you have the option to hang out with either Paulie Poopypants or Bobbi Brightside.
It’ll probably be a lot more fun hanging out with Bobbi; positivity is contagious, and optimism cures a lot of ills.
Think of all the people you look forward to spending time with. Are any of those people constantly bringing you down with stories about how hard, unfair, or hopeless things are?
Find Your Silver Lining
Everything has a bright side.1 It’s up to you to let the bright side give you hope instead of letting the challenge bring you down.
Whether you see your glass as half-empty or half-full, it’s still your glass. And you have to deal with that regardless of your attitude.
What you can control is how you frame your circumstances in conversation. Bringing a little sunshine to someone else’s day means they’ll look forward to your company. And you might even find that projecting positivity outward makes you more inwardly positive as well.
So ask yourself: Are you a source of positivity and happiness for other people? Or are you the Eeyore that shits on everyone else’s good time?
- Okay, okay, not everything. Some things are irredeemable. But if you have time to read a blog like mine, I’m willing to bet that you and I are talking better than 95% First World Problems, here. #realtalk↩
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