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Moody People

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Relationship Communication Skills

What do you do when you are with a negative person? Have you ever tried to be overly joyful to compensate for someone in a bad mood? Do you feel drained after being with a moody person? How much do you value your life’s energy? What can you learn from difficult people?

It is understandable that children, young adults, or those with mood disorders can be moody. I am talking about healthy adults who choose to be negative or difficult on a regular basis.

4 Ways to Cope With Moody People

1) Acceptance is the first step. Accept the person is being difficult and deeply acknowledge to yourself that their mood is their mood, just like your mood is your mood. You did not do anything wrong. Their mood is their choice. It is not your responsibility to make people happy.

In the presence of moody people I often quietly repeat to myself: “Your mood is your mood. I am joyful.” I am not suggesting that we should ignore our true feelings, however, it is unkind for people to spray negative feelings over others. You deserve kindness. As shared in “Friends are Good for your Health”, the health of your friendships effects your overall health and wellness.

2) Have authentic compassion for moody people and support them if relationship is important and productive for you. If someone is being negative, you can step into the consciousness of service (“Volunteer Wellness Effect”).  You can ask open-ended questions (“Open-Ended Questions Build Relationships”). They may actually have something constructive to share when given the opportunity, however, do not move into over-responsibility (“Over-Responsibility”).

I believe most moody people are more angry and disappointed with themselves than with you, and the intensity of their mood is probably the intensity of their pain or fear.

3) Set positive and non-negotiable boundaries as long as it is safe to do so. Sometimes people consciously or unconsciously use moods to manipulate, intimidate, bully, and control. You do not want to be blown about by others. A positive way to set a boundary is to set an intention and share it with that person. For example, “It is my intention to support our time together by focusing on ways we want to better our lives.” You can ask them what their intention is. It is good to use “I” language with difficult people. (“I Language Series: Responsibility and Building Relationships”).

You may want to read “Intention Series: How to Create Powerful Intentions.”

4) Keep your cool and stay centered. Do not take on the moods of others and don’t engage in negative activity which disempowers you. If you need to be in contact a difficult person, you may want have other people with you or be in a public place. I have experienced that difficult people are less difficult in a group setting and/or when participating in physical activities like hiking (“Take a Hike…Really!”).

A Step Back ~ More About Acceptance
If we do not judge anything as “good”, “bad”, “right” or “wrong”, then there probably wouldn’t be negative moods. As shared in “Acceptance and Patience”, non-judgmental acceptance is a prerequisite for patience, calmness, happiness and successful personal and professional relationships. After all, isn’t a lack of complete acceptance and the formation of judgments the root of bad moods? Remember not to judge difficult people. You hurt yourself when you do that.

What Can You Learn from Difficult People?
Difficult people can help you to practice compassion, serve as a reminder to be grateful for your life, or they may prompt you to make self-honoring choices which may include speaking up for yourself or releasing a toxic relationship. A moody person might be placed in your life for a divine reason.

photo credit: esther simpson

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