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I really do believe I'm protecting people I've bailed on. It may seem like a stretch to say that bad moods are contagious. They are.

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Psychologists call the process of “catching” a bad mood "emotional contagion," a very nice and fancy way of saying, "I don't want you to catch my bad mood." Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

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I’ve stopped making plans, at least for the next little while. Why? I can’t be counted on these days.

I’ve learned this about myself, over the last couple of months, after making plans with people and then continually bailing on plans, sometimes only a couple hours before we were supposed to meet and sometimes after bailing and rescheduling two or three times, before I actually force myself to meet whomever, only because I feel so incredibly guilty and how can one bail on meeting someone three times, without them thinking you’re either a complete flake, or take it personally that I really don’t want to meet them.

So why have I been bailing so much? Because I’m in a shit mood, that’s why. No more. No less. Most of the time I have no idea why I’m in a shit mood.

But cancelling plans for being in shit mood, I think, is now a perfectly valid reason to bail on plans that you’ve RSVP’d for or made with friends and family. 

Candidly? I Kvetch that I have no idea what mood I’m going to wake up in anymore.

Some days I’m just fine. Other days? I wake up in a terrible mood. There’s no rhyme or reason as to the days I wake up feeling okay and the days I wake up in a funk. I started bailing and cancelling more and more, telling people the truth: “I’m in a really bad mood today. Can we reschedule?”

Half the time, as mentioned, I have no idea why I’ve woken up in a bad mood, but I do know that, for most, the pandemic has made so many of us grumpy. Sometimes, when I venture out in the public, it seems everyone is also in a shit mood, so much so it seems bad moods are really contagious. So I started this self-imposed ban to not committing to anyone or anything.

I noticed, more often than not, that I would cancel on people, because I’m in a shit mood, only to find myself, a week later, cancelling plans with the same person, yet again because I’m in a shit mood.

I wish there was a rhyme and reason for what mood I will wake up in. At least that way I could look at my calendar and say, “Um, next Wednesday? Sorry, no can do! I’ll be waking up in a shit mood that day. But next Friday? It looks like I’m going to be in a good mood. Does Friday work?”

Interestingly, when I tell the truth of why I’m cancelling – I am in a bad mood, that’s it! – people are generally really understanding. Pre-Pandemic, I don’t think others would like it, if I cancelled because I was in a bad mood. My friends would insist, “You’re not bailing. Get your ass out of bed, brush your hair. We are going out!” But now?

I’m not the only one who is bailing for this reason. A couple of weeks ago, I had plans with someone who I hadn’t seen in a long time, our schedules never seemed to match, and I was really looking forward to seeing this person.

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I woke up that morning in a good mood. I took a shower, I put on real clothes (a.k.a jeans instead of sweat pants) and was just about to leave the house, when I got The “I’m-In-A-Shit-Mood-So-I’m-Bailing-Last-Minute” text.

As I was reading the text, the person called, obviously wanting to make sure I saw that they were cancelling.

“Honestly? I’m just in a really, really bad mood. You’re not going to get me at my best,” this person said. I totally understood. I gave this person a free pass. I cut them slack.

I couldn’t even muster enough enthusiasm to pep-talk this person out of their funk to come meet me, because I had just cancelled on someone mere days before for the same reason. Plus, I appreciated their honesty. I rather hear that as a reason to bail than a half-hearted lie that your kid has a dentist appointment you forgot about or a vet appointment for your hamster.

Also, I really do believe I’m protecting people I’ve bailed on. It may seem like a stretch to say that bad moods are contagious. They are.

Because we tend to put labels on everything, psychologists call the process of “catching” a bad mood “emotional contagion,” which I think is a very nice and fancy way of saying, “I don’t want you to catch my bad mood.” In fact, I wish I had known this, before all the times I’ve bailed, because saying, “I’m sorry to bail last minute. But I really don’t want you to catch emotional contagion from me. I could never forgive myself!” sounds good.

Studies do show that others’ moods may be as easy to catch as their germs.

Not everyone understands this reason to bail. I feel terrible when I make plans to take my children to my parents for the afternoon, only to text my mother that morning, “Can you pick up the kids? I’m not feeling well,” to which I do get the standard guilt trip that goes something like, “Oh, you’re going to miss a really special dinner,” to which I really want to say, “Listen! I’m in a shit mood! I don’t want to have to explain myself.” 

We can't get too upset these days, when people bail, especially if they are honest. Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Even if I wanted to explain myself I can’t. How do you explain a bad mood, for no reason, aside from the pandemic, the economic insecurity, the health of my children and family, and I might as well throw in Trump.

I know I’m disappointing my parents but I truly don’t think they’d understand me saying, “I don’t want you to catch my emotional contagion. I’m just in a shit mood. No, I don’t know why. But I do know I want to be alone to wallow in my bad mood, okay?”

I think it’s okay to wallow in your bad mood all day, getting up to see the children off, and getting back into bed, usually also with a little, um, self-medication, otherwise known as cannabis, is also occasionally acceptable.

I love my parents. I love my friends. I don’t want to be told that “exercise helps” or that “meditation helps,” or that getting a “pandemic puppy helps,” or that, “Writing in a journal helps.” I know all of this, thank you.

But I think we can’t get too upset these days, when people bail, especially if they are honest. And to my family? Please don’t take it personally when I say, “I’m not feeling well,” and bail on dinner. Please understand that I don’t like being in a bad mood, nor do I like cancelling. But what can I say? Every night before I go to bed, I wonder; “Will I wake up okay tomorrow? Or am I going to wake up in a bad mood?”

Honestly, it’s a total mystery. 

So friends, loved ones, and especially my parents, please don’t take me bailing personally. Please cut me some slack. I haven’t made plans with my parents even recently, not because I’m a horrible daughter, but I don’t want to feel the guilt on top of wallowing, if I wake up in my bad mood and bail.

That being said, it looks like I can pencil my parents in a week next Sunday since my calendar says I’ll be in a good mood.

I’m kidding. But, for the first time, when bailing, I can honestly say, “It’s not you! It’s me!”

Rebecca Eckler’s latest memoir is called Blissfully Blended Bullshit.

Rebecca Eckler’s latest memoir is called Blissfully Blended Bullshit.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

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