I’m fairly extroverted which means I gain energy from being around other people. That’s great for hanging out with others. I can be alert, energetic, and funny because the more I’m around people having a good time, the more I’m having a good time. I usually don’t even realize that I’ve gained a great mood in a group, it just happens. When I’m around people who have even a little energy themselves then I gain that same energy just from being around them.
That is until someone is not in a good mood. Extroversion is all about how other people feel, honestly. We don’t feel just our own emotions, we feel the overall mood of a group. We pull from that and essentially feed off it. So if we’re in a decent mood and the group is in a good mood then our mood improves. But if we’re in a good mood and the group is in a bad mood then our mood will deteriorate.
I think most people, introvert or extrovert, feel this to some extent. (I can only speculate at how an introvert would truly describe this for themselves and I’m actually not going to do that. Instead I’ll pass that question off to all my introverted friends.) You can easily get caught up in the moment with a group of friends. That’s how mobs can form and it’s how things can either get wildly out of hand or get really hilariously fun. To some extent, everyone has a feel for the overall group mood.
Not that the group mood ALWAYS dictates how I feel, but it does play a decently large roll. Unless I really make an effort to choose my own mood I tend towards whatever the overall group is feeling. Whether that group is a dozen people or just one other person, I still feel what they’re feeling and I become an amplifier.
That mood being bad can really affect me, too. I know introverts can become exhausted from interacting with people and they need space and time alone to recharge emotionally and physically. When I’m around people in a good mood I feel energized and happy and when I leave that group I still feel energized emotionally. But when I’m around people in a bad mood I not only feel that when I’m with them but I feel it when I leave too. I’m emotionally drained or irritated or just moody. It can follow me for the rest of the day and into the next sometimes. I can’t always recover from that just by being on my own like an introvert (although I will often go off by myself to spare others my moodiness).
Eventually I’ll get over it. I’m not carrying a bad mood from two weeks ago or anything like that. But I think that there’s a lot of talk about giving introverts their space when they need it but not as much about how to help extroverts when they need it. Extroverts are often seen as completely self-sufficient. We can often be the most lively in any group setting and enjoy making sure everyone is having a good time. But we need self care and space sometimes too.
So what should you do with an extrovert friend in a bad mood? Just, be in an okay mood. You don’t have to be super energetic or fake being particularly happy for them. They might need a little time to sit quietly with you. Try talking about something not related to the bad mood. Extroverts need the energy raised but that doesn’t mean music or dancing or flashing lights. It just means that you have good conversation or watch a funny movie or read a book out loud together or literally anything that involves spending time with them and not feeling completely miserable. I always feel better when I can be distracted by a good friend hanging out with me. It’s infinitely better than sitting alone in my room binging on Youtube videos which usually leaves me more exhausted.
I know I have introverts reading this post and I want to hear from you! How do you describe your feelings about a group mood? Do you feel like you become part of it or because you’re introverted you stay a bit more reserved about it? Have you ever thought about extroverts needing time to recoup from a bad group mood?
(I think I’m most interested in that last question since it wasn’t even something I had considered until I sat down to write this!)