In the movie "Steel Magnolias," Shirley MacLaine's character Ouiser Boudreaux says, "I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood 40 years!" Fortunately for you, the bad mood your guy is dealing with is unlikely to last nearly that long. In the meantime, though, it's a good idea to figure out how to support him while not giving into the temptation to join him in his misery.
1. Seek to Understand
If the guy you're with is upset about his car not starting, let him know you understand how inconvenient the situation is. If he's ranting about the ineptitude of public servants, listen and empathize with his long wait at the DMV. Whatever you do, don't take his grouchiness personally. Remind yourself that his mood isn't your fault, advises Dr. Alex Lickerman, author of "The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self," in a June 2013 article in "Psychology Today." This is a trap that is easy to fall into, but the resulting insecurity will only serve to make the situation worse.
2. Give it Time
Lickerman notes that all moods eventually pass. Even if your guy is devastated about not getting the job offer he wanted, his bad mood is unlikely to persist more than a few hours -- or at most, days. While you're waiting it out, cultivate compassion for the difficulty he is currently facing in his life. Meanwhile, seek to distance yourself from the situation so that you don't get pulled down into it. Reconcile yourself to the fact that he may not be as fun of a companion as you'd like until he's over the doldrums.
3. Keep Calm
Whatever you do, don't reflect his mood. It's aggravating when a guy is in a funk when you're on top of the world, but saying, "Lighten up! You're ruining our evening!" is likely to be counterproductive. Instead, take a few deep breaths and visualize a shield of white light protecting you from his negativity, advises Dr. Judith Orloff, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, in an article on Beliefnet.com. Avoiding the trap of being sucked into his bad mood will help him recover more quickly than if you both are feeling depressed.
4. Distance Yourself
Putting physical distance between you and a moody guy can help you to keep from catching his bad vibes, according to Orloff. She explains that people's energy fields can overlap when they are in close proximity to one another, making it possible to 'catch' a bad mood. Rather than walking on eggshells and worrying if you're going to inadvertently make his bad mood worse, take a walk or make plans with a friend. When you return, his bad mood may have passed.
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