It’s funny how we let others affect us. Our moods are surprisingly contagious. And if they are not contagious per se, then they are at least strong conductors of rather incendiary or equally intense changes in those of others. Moods travel through us and between us, kind of like electric tentacles that grasp every person we interact with. Just coming across someone who opens the door for you with a sincere smile on their face tends to render you just a little more content. In that same way, encountering a curt waiter who barely deigns to look in your general direction — or worse, who manages to engulf every word that comes out of his mouth with disdain and disrespect — will probably put you in a crappier mood than before. Chances are his effrontery will consume most of your thoughts, mostly because of the sheer rudeness of it all, to the point where your previous optimistic outlook on life will recede to one characterized by the demise of human morality where we should all cease to procreate. You know, the idea that if we truly care about humanity we’ll let it wither into nonexistence.

The fact that we are so easily affected emotionally by those who surround us establishes the importance of the people who comprise our general social fabric. We are composed of energy, and there are people who seem to suck energy from us like a dark hole, while there are others who replenish us with their mere presence. Just thinking about how interconnected we are says a lot about the people with whom we surround ourselves. Of course, waiters and other service workers whose presence we cannot exactly foresee, nor extend (if we don’t so choose) are internal actors with whom interactions are beyond our control. In those cases, we can let strangers’ sheer good nature pervade our pores and actively ignore or not give much thought to other strangers’ exhausting, gnawing bitterness. As for the people that compose the social structure that is our everyday lives, it would be rather redundant to ascertain that they are energy fuelers as opposed to emotional vacuums — you know, people whose mere presence seems to scourge a bottomless hole in your poor soul.

The thing is, though, some of us are more susceptible to other people’s moods. Some of us confront a derisive counter attendant and our whole day suddenly topples into lackluster debris. Some of us contemplate that utter lack of decency and let our shock and discontent travel briefly through our veins like oxygen. After a whole two seconds we’ll just shrug it off after it leaves our system completely and dissipates into the air like carbon dioxide. And yet, we are not all so lucky. What’s important is that those of us who are easily affected by caustic moods of mere strangers are aware of it and try to actively reduce their effect. Because we only succeed in embittering ourselves and no one else. And as for our general friends, it seems redundant to exhort people to spend time with people who do not wreak havoc or negatively affect your mood and mental state. But some people are drawn to “self-destructive” friendships or amorous relationships, like those that plague romance novels with flesh and flower-ridden covers. Whatever makes you happy. But in all seriousness, happy.