negative people and their influence on you

13 10 2006

A famous blogger named Robert Scoble recently announced that he will moderate his blog comments as part of his new life plan to stay away from “people who were deeply unhappy”.  He’s received a lot of backlash on that, but you do want to consider who you are listening to.  I found an article on this situation, called Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain.  The author studies the issue more from a scientific perspective (such as neurons), but also talks about “emotional contagion”.  I hadn’t heard that term before, but I think attitudes are contagious to a degree.  Let me add that I think our spirit has a lot to do with how we perceive and receive circumstances, but the article still has a lot of good information.

From my experience and analyzing, it seems true that we are affected by those around us, whether we want to be or not.  You’ve probably heard your parents tell you to choose your friends carefully, and it turns out they knew what they were talking about.  The Bible also warns us of this, in 1 Corinthians 15:33 : “Bad company corrupts good character.”  Have you seen people whose attitude and character changed from hanging out with “the wrong crowd”?

When we’re around negative or pessimistic people, that attitude tends to “infect” us.  Likewise, being around people with a good attitude may help you have a good attitude.  Have you ever met people who made you want to become a better person?  I have, and I want to spend more time around them because I want to continue to grow as a person.  Sometimes those people don’t even have to try to help you grow — just being around them helps you.  You probably can also think of people you don’t like being around because their attitude brings you down.

Of course, there are times you have to be around negative people, particularly if some of your family is that way.  You may also choose to spend time with negative people so you can try to help them.  You have to be careful that you are helping them instead of them bringing you down.  Sometimes you can help people, and that is such a great feeling.  But sometimes people don’t want to change, so they keep falling deeper into despair and depression.  We should pray that God reveals to them what they are doing to themselves and the people around them.  Negativity will ruin your life if you don’t deal with it.

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