Something is wrong with my sister. Yesterday I yelled at her. Are you just going to keep sulking around and ignoring us? Can’t you even say hello?
She told me she didn’t know what I was talking about. She went into her room and I spent the rest of the time home feeling like I was back in college – that awkward tension with a dormmate after one of us brought a guy back or said something while wasted or didn’t clean up our side of the room. The house felt uncomfortable. I was anxious yet I had nothing to be anxious about.
It reminded me of that time my fiancé told me that I gave him anxiety. Anxiety isn’t contagious!
I yelled at him. How dare you say something so mean? I can’t just give you anxiety.
Now I see what he meant.
This seems to come at a time when I’ve been especially perceptive to the energies around me. Maybe it’s because I don’t leave the apartment much, but I realize when I do one or two things occurs – the world seems with me or against me.
The strangers on the street are either assholes or my people. The women are complimenting my clothes or telling me to get the fuck out of their way. But the whole world can’t just wake up in a bad mood. People don’t just decide one day to be nice and one day to be mean.
I’ve always believed in the law of attraction - something my fiancé does not believe in. He believes in science. Which is why this study he found is so powerful. It is science explaining the law of attraction. Reasoning behind why people like you, remember you, want to give you things and why they don’t.
Vanessa Van Edwards is a behavioral investigator who spent years conducting studies on people, emotions and behaviors. Her findings concluded that we catch emotions
. And the emotions we catch from people make us either like that person or dislike that person. And the reactions of those people is the energy we feel around us.
“Whether we like to admit it or not, we decide if we like someone, if we trust someone, and if we want a relationship with someone within the first few seconds of meeting them.”
Vanessa found that everything from our micro expressions (real smiles vs fake smiles, looks of fear, stress, anxiety) induce the same feelings in others. We know this though. But do we actually use this knowledge?
Do we realize that smiling at someone, like the person on the train next to you, will make them move over quicker than scowling at the? Do we realize that the way we answer our phones when our spouses call can either make their day or create feelings of hostility and tension from a simple hello?
Facial expressions cause our emotions
When we show up to an event we don't want to be at, we become less memorable. You can't fake your way through like you think you can. Humans pick up on fake smiles and unconsciously react negatively towards you or don't remember you. So if you're showing up somewhere just to 'save face' don't bother because no one will remember your face and you may as well have saved yourself the trouble.
What about on the phone? Could people hear happiness, sadness, anger?
The most interesting insight into Vanessa’s research were the ways we react to people during a conversation. Our energy is directly reflected by the questions we ask, not just the way we’re answering.
She did a study with over 500 people at a networking event. Imagine a cocktail party. They had cameras all over and looked for cues such as laughter, body language and smiles.
Most chit chat at social events feel the same. We ask questions like : So what do you do? Where do you live? It turns out that the worst ranked conversation starters (got most leans away) were:
-what do you do
-how are you
-where are you from?
From a physiological perspective these questions have no effect - no pleasure. What they did was ask the brain to look for negative things or uninteresting things. For example, if you say ‘been busy lately?” the brain looks for all the times you were busy and stressed – bad moments in your life.
If you ask someone ‘working on anything exciting recently?’ their brain immediately begins to looks for hits of excitement. They begin to think of all the good and happy and exciting things in their life. It creates happiness and excitement for them and bring it into the situation you’re in. And it makes you more memorable.
Dopamine when triggered in verbal conversation makes a positive note. The happy side effect is you become more memorable.