You’ve probably heard of social contagion, the idea that behaviors can spread through groups “through imitation or conformity,” according to The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. Simply, it means that if we hang around with people who eat a lot, complain constantly, or perform good deeds, we are more likely to do the same thing.
I suppose, in theory, positive and neutral behaviors should spread as quickly as negative ones. But, in my experience, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It takes very little time to turn a laughing cheerful group into a bunch of grumblers who feel that their lives are so horrible that people in war-torn countries are taking up collections for THEM.
So the message for this week is two-fold.
- When you’re in a good mood and find yourself surrounded by grumblers, run away as fast as you can.
- If you’re the grumbler in the midst of happy people, do the right thing, do the right thing. Stop talking. Or leave. Immediately.