Don't let a moody guy's bad mood become your bad mood.

How to Get Along With a Moody Guy

by Becky Swain

Women do not hold a monopoly on moody behavior, says Darlene Mininni, a clinical psychologist, counselor and author, appearing on the "Today" show and in the linked "Cosmopolitan" article “How to Deal With a Moody Man.” A guy may demonstrate feelings related to a bad mood and choose to cope with those feelings differently than a woman. You can’t control a moody guy’s behavior, but clearer insights about his moods can help to guide your responses to a guy’s vacillating moods.

1. Ask Him

Unless you’re psychic, you won’t know what’s bugging the unhappy guy unless you ask. Future historians may not compare you to Christopher Columbus, but your exploration efforts can meet with success. When a moody guy appears reticent to talk, set a positive tone and keep the lines of communication open. Give him an opportunity to talk, but don’t tolerate a verbally abusive tirade, cautions author Patricia Covalt in the "Cosmopolitan" article. Give the moody guy physical and personal space, and suggest that he alert you later when ready to talk.

2. Best Laid Plan

Look for patterns in a guy’s moodiness to plan your strategies, suggests Dr. Alex Lickerman in "Psychology Today." A guy’s moods may vary, but the triggers that precede the moodiness, and the guy’s responses to the triggers may be predictable. For example, when you observe that work-related stress exerts a negative influence on a guy’s mood, you know what to expect when the pressures abound at work. If experience indicates that the guy feels better when given some time alone to process the work pressures, give him the space he needs.

3. Displaced Discontent

When a moody guy decides to talk, understand that the verbalized object of his discontent may not be the true source of his unhappiness. Admitting that he can’t solve a problem can be as problematic as the original problem for a guy. A guy may displace his real emotions if he struggles to admit the source of his distress. For example, a guy may complain at length that you forget to pick up coffee, while he secretly fumes about a problem at work, writes Molly Fahner in “How to Deal With a Moody Man.” Avoid vague questions such as “What’s bothering you today?” A question such as “What was the outcome of your presentation today?” is more likely to target the problem.

4. Don't Catch the Vibe

Be aware that the tone of the guy’s mood, whether positive or negative, may be infectious, warns Lickerman. He explains that it’s common for your response to a person’s mood to mirror his mood. If a guy’s mood is agitated and sour, responding with unbridled contempt may compound your dilemma. It’s normal to feel annoyed. You can’t mandate the guy’s mood, but you can continue to control the overt expression of your feelings.

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