Women's Health

THE EMOTIONAL WAKE

Think of it as ‘catching’ someone else’s feelings— which our brains are wired to do.

At a bar recently, a friend and I ran into a woman I’ve known for years. I respect her; I think she’s talented and smart. And yet, whenever we interact, I depart under an anxiety cloud, thinking, Why do I feel crummy now? Does she not like me? As we talked, she gossiped about someone I didn’t know and seemed to vibrate with negative energy. I got confirmation that it wasn’t just me who felt that way. After we left her, my friend turned to me and said, “Why do I suddenly feel lousy?”

Every human interaction imparts some residual feelings for either side to process. While it’s obvious that you’ll walk away stung if someone insults or belittles you, conversations often pack more subtle undercurrents. It could be a matter of disconcerting words, an odd look, even an eyebrow-raising text—or just a mood that descends like a fog when a person

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