If bad luck and annoying problems seem to follow wherever you go, it might be a sign you're giving off negative energy. Whether it's ongoing issues at work, relationship woes, or other toxic situations, these things are often due to — or, at the very least, made worse by — negativity and pessimism.
But the good news is, being aware of it can turn things around for the better. "If someone is noticing a pattern of negativity in their relationships and interactions with others, it is most likely because of their own attitude and actions," Dr. Sal Raichbach, PsyD, LCSW, of Ambrosia Treatment Center, tells Bustle. "Being aware of a problem within yourself is a crucial step to changing it."
That awareness can also help you uncover the cause of your negative energy — because there's always a cause. "If a person is aware that their negativity is causing problems, they should try to identify the root of that negativity, whether it be self-esteem issues, depression, or misdirected anger," Dr. Raichbach says. "Self-care tools, like meditation, journaling, or reciting positive affirmations are always beneficial, but if the negativity is deep-seeded or caused by an underlying mental health issue, therapy is the best option."
Here are a few problems that might happen more often for someone who's negative, pessimistic, or giving off "bad vibes," according to experts.
1. Hating Your Job, No Matter What
While everyone's allowed to dislike their job, if you can't seem to find one you like — despite switching offices, switching careers, etc. — it might have more to do with your attitude than the work itself.
"If someone is bringing a toxic attitude to a team ... many jobs may seem great at first then quickly become contentious," Christina Rowe, MSOL, a career leadership coach, tells Bustle. You might feel like you simply can't get along with coworkers, you might be stressed 24/7, and so on.
But by changing the way you think, these problems will start to go away. "The first step is slowing down and listening to yourself," Rowe says. "Do you put a negative spin on the challenges that come along? Or do you take the time to look at challenges and moments of friction and discomfort as an opportunity to change your approach? The biggest opportunities lay in the moments that are not comfortable. So listen carefully to the language you use, [and] the story you tell yourself and others in each situation."
By adopting a positive outlook, you can make even the most mundane or stressful jobs more exciting and fulfilling.
2. Feeling Lonely & Isolated
If you feel lonely, or you feel like you've never a part of a group, it may be a good idea to rethink the energy you're putting out into the world.
"Negative energy and continued pessimism easily leads to being isolated from your peer group, or really anyone for that matter," Kailee Place, LPC, owner of Shifting Tides Therapeutic Solutions, tells Bustle. "We are connective creatures and we feed off one another. If a group of people ... has a goal of being positive, upbeat, or empowering, that negative vibe ... will keep people far away from you. Invites will fade away and your input won't be asked for."
By addressing any underlying issues that are leading you to feel negative — such as depression or anxiety — it will be possible to project a more positive vibe, and create healthier friendships.
3. Having Constant Bad Luck
If it seems like a dark cloud follows wherever you go, take a minute to reassess your vibes. "Pessimistic people seem to have all the 'bad luck,'" Emmanuella Grace, a voice coach and performance expert, tells Bustle. "If you are pessimistic ... you are more likely to be 'unlucky' or find people dismissive or unhelpful."
You'll also be more likely to interact with other negative folks, Grace says. And they aren't likely to be the best match when you're trying to attract good things into your life.
4. Sabotaging Your Own Success
If you can't seem to hold onto good things — like exciting new jobs, or healthy new relationships — take note. "You might actually subconsciously or consciously drive these good situations away," Dr. Judy Ho, clinical psychologist and panelist on Face The Truth, tells Bustle.
You might show up late to work, Dr. Ho says, or pick a fight with a really great partner — as a way of causing it all to implode. "You then use this as evidence that things aren’t going to work out for you ever, so you might as well just give up on a great career, a good relationship, etc." And on and on the cycle goes — until you choose to break it.
5. Seeing The Negative Side Of Everyone You Meet
When you're in a negative place, you're far more "likely to point out mistakes or character flaws in others quicker than you are to appreciate their thoughtful actions or positive personality traits," Dr. Ho says. "When something bad happens you’re quick to blame them for messing things up and you write people off very easily, taking a black and white approach to judging whether someone is good or bad." And this does not lead to a healthy life.
But there is good news. Once you decide to address the underlying cause of your negativity, you won't be as likely to spot it in others. And your relationships will greatly improve as a result.
6. Feeling Like The World Is A Terrible Place
There are definitely bad things going on in the world. But for someone who lives in a perpetually pessimistic state, it'll be easier to focus on the negatives — while totally overlooking the positives.
"Negative energy changes your perception," Candice Thomas, an intuitive coach, tells Bustle. "It doesn’t matter what you actually experience; in your mind you will constantly perceive that everything sucks."
By addressing the underlying cause of the negativity, however, you'll be better equipped to see positives, deals with negatives, and maybe even do something to make the world a better place.
7. Experiencing Setbacks On The Regular
Even the most positive people experience setbacks in life. But when negativity has got you in its clutches, it can feel like everything's an uphill battle.
"Whenever you try to do something better your life blows up," Thomas says. "You finally make the decision to pursue your dreams and suddenly you have a major financial crisis or your relationships suddenly end ... It can feel like the universe is conspiring against you."
But again, this is all a matter of perception. So, as Thomas says, "don’t give up when this happens, [but instead] double down on your truth and get ready for your success."
8. Missing Out On Great Opportunities
If it seems like you're never in the right place at the right time, it may be another sign of underlying negativity. "If your mindset is negative, that is the way [you] will interact with the world," Aleya Littleton, MA, TAP, owner of Wild and Wonderful Life Counseling, tells Bustle. So even if good opportunities come your way, it won't feel like you're in a good place to receive them, she says.
Not to mention, "others will feel your pessimism, making it difficult for you to connect, [and] leaving you feeling isolated," Littleton says. But remember — it doesn't have to be this way forever. Often all it takes is an adjustment in your attitude.
9. Getting Caught Up In Toxic Friendships
There's definitely some truth to the saying "like attracts like." If you're giving off a negative or pessimistic energy, there's a greater chance you'll attract those who also are negative and pessimistic. And that's when toxic friendships can ensue.
"Very often negative people attract other negative people into their lives," Heidi McBain, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "This can become a big problem as the time they are spending with their pessimistic friends will often be spent focused on all the negative in their lives. This can turn into a vicious cycle where people feed off of each other's negativity, and it can be very hard to break free of this pattern."
By being aware of this tendency, and shifting your energy towards something more positive, you might notice that your friendships improve as you begin to attract happier, more well-adjusted people into your life.
10. Losing Friends Quickly
Regardless of whether or not your friends are toxic, negativity can also repel people rather than attract them. So if you can't seem to hold onto friends, take note.
"People who give off negative energy often feel like bad things are happening to them and that the world is out to get them in some way," Dr. Raichbach says. "They will often treat people negatively because they think that the world is treating them that way ... Overly negative people tend to lose friends quickly. If someone notices that they used to have friends, but these relationships are ending with conflict or fading away, it could be a result of their negative attitude."
11. Attracting Toxic Relationships
Similarly, it's not uncommon for negative folks to date people who are equally negative — and have super toxic relationships as a result. "With relationships, people often attract partners who are similar to themselves," McBain says. "So, if you’re in a bad space and you’re giving off negative energy, then you may very well end up attracting someone who is also in a bad space giving off negative energy. You can then end up in a relationship that is stuck in a cycle of pessimism and negativity.”
Of course, it's important not to blame yourself if you've been feeling negative, or if these types of negative things keep happening to you. If you're dealing with underlying issues, such as depression or low self-esteem, be sure to reach out for help.
By seeing a therapist, you can become more aware of your negative tendencies, and work to replace them with something more positive. And from there, issues like these will be less likely to follow you around.