We are all familiar of being in a bad mood but we seldom know how to deal with other people when they are in a bad mood. Everyone wants to get out of a bad mood as soon as they can but if you are contributing to, or provoking someone’s bad mood, then you are not helping that person or yourself.
As an extension, your behavior and interaction with each other will also be disruptive to other people in the same environment. If you contribute to worsening a co-worker’s bad mood for example, and you both end up in a verbal argument, your other co-workers will be affected by the worsening mood too. So what can you do to avoid worsening another person’s bad mood and not get into a bad mood yourself?
Keep these 10 things in mind:
1. Learn to ignore the situation.
As much as possible, go about your work instead of engaging a co-worker or friend who is venting out. Wait for them to calm down before resuming normal conversation.
2. Keep a positive outlook.
Don’t fall into the trap of engaging somebody’s rant and getting into a bad mood yourself. You may sympathize with them for a bit but get out of the conversation or the same room as the moody person. If they follow you, help them ease of their dark mood by offering positive encouragement instead. Tell them you are sure they can get thru the day despite what happened instead of joining them and comparing bad experiences with them.
3. Be understanding.
You have tried avoiding the person and even avoid their office but they have come seeking you out to rant. What would you do? You can only listen least you want to provoke a confrontation or hurt the person’s feelings. While you listen, from time to time ask a question that might give them some light on why they feel negatively about the situation. Ask questions like: why did that make you feel bad?, how do you think the other party feels?
4. Don’t take things personally.
Some people want attention when they are in a bad mood and when they fail to get it from you, they might feel like you are being rude and unsympathetic, and worse, may even accuse you of being uncaring. While it is not your responsibility to get them out of their bad mood, let them rant about your lack of care or whatever they are accusing you of.
Remember that they are in a bad mood to start with so of course taking it out on you may just be their way of venting out. Hopefully, they will realize their mistake and apologize once they have overcome their bad mood.
5. Think of the bigger picture.
Keep in mind that while your friend or colleague may be acting like a dragon spouting flames, this transformation, or rather behavior, is temporary. Let them rant their heart out until they calm down and they transform back to the person you’ve always known.
6. Use a neutral tone.
In order to not aggravate somebody’s bad mood even more, use a neutral tone when talking with them. This way they won’t think that you are judging them unpleasantly because of their “bad mood” behavior. This will also force them back into their normal, calm self since they didn’t get any reaction from you.
7. Try reversing your reaction.
If you cannot help but react to a person’s bad mood, then at least react positively instead of negatively. Be cheerful when greeting them instead of sounding annoyed or irritated. Compliment something about them instead of engaging in their talk about the start of their bad day.
8. Stay calm.
If you cannot help but be entangled in a verbal argument for example, with a person who is in a bad mood; don’t be upset. Stay calm and try to distance yourself from the person or situation. Avoid falling into a bad mood yourself.
Breathe and focus your attention on something else instead of dwelling on your argument. The whole argument probably had nothing to do with you in the first place; you just got dragged into it. So wait for things to calm down and for the person to calm down as well. If you still feel upset then take the time to explain your side and discuss what happened.
9. Take a time out.
If you feel yourself being affected by your companion’s bad mood, give yourself a break and take a time out. Physically take yourself out of their presence by working in another room, taking a walk, or doing something else so you do not have to be in the same room as them.
10. Address the behavior.
Some people seem to have “chronic bad mood”. If this is affecting your work and productivity or your personal life, then take the time to address the behavior. Instead of always asking the person if they are ok each time they are in a bad mood, ask them directly why they are always in a bad mood?
The last thing a person in a “chronic bad mood” wants is for their bad mood to become the topic. However, confronting it is necessary if all of you in the household or office are being negatively affected. Asking this question also gives the person a chance to actually reflect on the situation.