site stats WhizGidget Wonders...
Monday, December 04, 2006

...Have you ever given any thought to all the things that are contagious around us?

Colds are contagious. Laughter can be contagious. Happiness can be contagious. So can grumpiness.

I've worked with a number of personalities in my life, but none were ever so entertaining as being stuck between a person who exuded happiness all the time and another who seemed permanently grumpy. It was interesting to watch the two of them interacting with each other, but not much fun when they decided to snipe about each other to anyone who would care to listen.

I learned to stop listening. That was easy.

But what was really interesting was watching my reaction to everything if I'd spent a lot of time with each one on a project or in meetings. And watching other people and how they'd react as well. The one with the contagious sunny personality would turn my day around. Unless I was stubbornly ticked off about something, being around the happy person would influence how I looked at everything else that day. I couldn't help but feel good about things. And I would pass that on to other people because apparently I wear my emotions on my sleeve (so says one of the head guys around here, but I think I've pulled the wool over his eyes a couple of times).

Other people in meetings with the happy person would also be affected and generally leave the meeting feeling good about things, or otherwise be smiling for the rest of the day. All except the natural curmudgeons - you never see them change.

Then there was the grumpy one. You could walk into that individual's office space and feel the dark storm clouds hovering above. No matter what a happy mood you were in, you'd get sucked into the grumpy. Maybe you wouldn't go all the way over to being grumpy, but you sure wouldn't be on the happy high that you were on. I learned that if I had meetings with both of them on the same day to try and get the grumpy meetings over with as early in the day as possible and have happy's meetings aftewards.

Hey, it worked. I hate sucking up people's moods and making them my own. But it's interesting to note that someone could have such an effect on a person (or a group of people) that their mood would be altered simply by being around them even for a short period of time. An hour, maybe two, would be enough. Was it more that the people were receptive to being affected by people's moods, or was it the person's mood just being so invasive?

Probably a little bit of both.

So that's my 'something to think about' today - are you more of a contagious happy person or a contagious grumpy person... or are you neither and just pick up on other people's moods?