20 Subtle Signs You Give Off Negative Energy
While you shouldn't become too hung up on what others think, it never hurts to evaluate the kind of energy you might be giving off, and adjust your vibes accordingly. If it seems like you might be giving off negative energy, for example, it may be time to make a few positive changes, as a way of having better interactions with others, and attracting more positivity your way.
"Energy isn’t something we can see or truly define, but it has a big impact on who we are drawn to and how we relate to the world around us," Kaitlyn Noble, a health and wellness coach at Thumbtack, tells Bustle. "If your energy is negative it can impact your relationships, self worth, and overall life satisfaction"
So it's important to pay attention to how you feel, and how others respond to you. "Negative energy is simply verbal and non-verbal signs that you are not in a good mood, pessimistic, [and] doubtful," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "Because of these verbal and non-verbal actions, the world sees you and interprets your thoughts, feelings, and actions as negative." And when it becomes the norm, these vibes can start to push others away.
The good thing is, once you're aware that you might be giving off negative energy, it becomes easier to adjust it. Usually, that means taking time to self-reflect in order to figure out why you're feeling negative. Are you depressed? Has your self-esteem taken a hit? Only by getting to the bottom of your own emotions, can you then make changes to be more optimistic, and see all sorts of positive changes as a result. Here are a few signs experts say it may be time to do just that.
1. It's Difficult To Make New Friends
While everyone goes through dry spells when it comes to friendships, those who give off negative energy might notice they have a tougher time in this department.
"If your friends all seem to come and go it may be a sign that your energy is pushing them away," says Noble. "Most people tire of negativity quickly and will focus their energy on the positive people in their life." Of course this may not always be the case, but if negative vibes are to blame, by adjusting the vibes you give off, you can affectively attract lovely people into your life.
2. Negative People Pop Up Wherever You Go
Ever look around and notice that everyone you encounter is super negative? If so, it may be a case of negativity attracting negativity.
"Many times, people react negatively when they are faced with negativity," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness coach at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "If people around you are being negative to you but not to others, take a look at yourself. You may be able to do something about it."
3. You Are Having A Lot Of Arguments
It's fine to get into the occasional disagreement with a friend or partner, or have an off day where you feel kind of cranky. But it may be time to do a little self-reflection if your days seem to be chock full of arguments and negativity.
"If you’re fighting with your partner, friends, or colleagues regularly it’s a sign that your energy is causing relationship issues," Noble says. Don't panic, though. This is something that can be improved once you're aware of it.
4. Friends Are Always "Busy"
If friends are always "busy" each and every time you try to hang out, check in with yourself to see if your negative energy might be partially to blame.
As Backe says, "It's not that you're not allowed to have bad days; but if everything coming out of you is negative, people will slowly but surely start moving in the other direction."
5. Others Rarely Make Eye Contact
People are sensitive to the vibes others give off, so they may react to negativity by looking away, or acting uncomfortable. "When people are warm, positive, and happy, others want to engage with them," Noble says. "If you’re giving off negative energy, others may avoid contact with you by looking away or physically turning their body from you."
6. Most People Have Closed Off Body Language
It can also help to be on the lookout for closed off body language, since this can also signal discomfort. "Crossing your arms in front of your chest, crossing your legs away from the person you are speaking to, or looking off to the side or in the distance when others are speaking to you suggest that you don’t want to interact and engage in what others have to say, and tell the world that you want to be left alone," Dr. Judy Ho, a licensed and double board-certified clinical and forensic psychologist, tells Bustle. And these are things you can look for in other people as a reaction to your vibes, as well.
7. People Have Started To Pull Away
It's perfectly fine to vent to friends when something truly stressful is happening. But once it becomes a habit, people might start to rescind their support due to the onslaught of negativity.
When that happens, "people [might] tell you that they are sick of hearing about your problems," therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle, which is often a sign they're burnt out.
If this is the case, it's important to seek outside help, possibly by seeing a therapist. That way you can address your stress, without compromising your relationships.
8. Others Always Ask What's Wrong
If folks are constantly wondering if you're OK — even when you're in perfectly good mood — it may be worth it to consider why they might be asking. It might be that the way you're holding yourself, or the way you're communicating, is throwing them off.
"How you say things matters," Dr. Klapow says. "Does your voice drop off at the end of sentences? Do you sigh? Do you cut people off to convey your point? All of these convey a negative experience, even if you are not feeling negative."
9. Friends Don't Turn To You For Help
While it's fine to be the friend who offers realistic advice, people often turn to their more positive friends when they're feeling down and need support.
So if others have started turning away, it may be due to the fact you say "pessimistic statements," Dr. Klapow says. "Even if these statements are totally true they convey a negativity."
By adopting a more positive outlook — and positive language — you can totally change how others feel around you, and be that friend they turn to for advice.
10. Animals Tend To Shy Away
This one might sound strange, but a lot can be said for how animals and children react to you. "If you find you don't get along with kids or dogs, that can be another sign that your energy is bad," Lori Bryant Woolridge, a certified life and spiritual life coach, tells Bustle. "Children have a keen sense of who's 'nice' and who's not. Pets have the same instinct."
Of course, if a dog runs away when you try to pet it, that doesn't mean you're a bad person. If it keeps happening, however, it may be an interesting reminder to check your energy levels, and make sure you're feeling OK.
11. Exhaustion Has Taken Over Your Life
It definitely takes a lot of work to be positive, but sometimes even more work to be negative. Which is why, if you feel exhausted 24/7, it may be time to evaluate the vibes you're giving off.
"Giving off negative energy puts a lot of physical stress on the body," relationship coach and expert Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI-MP, tells Bustle. "You’ll find yourself tired and unmotivated." That is, until, you start to make an effort to be more positive.
12. You Can't Seem To Get Organized
If your life is super messy, it might mean your schedule is jam-packed and you literally have no time to clean up. Or maybe you just aren't that tidy of a person. And that's fine.
But if you want to organize your life and just can't seem to do it, tune into your energy. "People with negative energy have a lot of mind-clutter," Ponaman says. "Mind-clutter is often reflected onto their physical surroundings, such as their room, cars, office space, etc. Messy room [equals] messy life."
Once you do a little work on yourself — possibly with the help of a therapist — you might notice that your surroundings are suddenly so much neater.
13. Promotions Are Passing You By
"If you’re putting out negative energy you could be energetically repelling the things you desire, such as financial success or love," Ponaman says. So if you've been passed up for promotions at work, take note.
If negative things keep happening to you, it might help to counteract it all by making positive mantras and gratitude journals a part of your life. By focusing your mind on positive things, that energy will be more likely to come back around.
14. Your Skin Is Breaking Out
"Negative energy leads to stress," Ponaman says. "Stress leads to acne." So if you've been super pessimistic as of late, it's possible acne will begin to crop up.
But by adopting a healthier routine — one with plenty of sleep, exercise, meditation, etc. — you can better handle stress, be more positive, and possibly have clearer skin as a result.
15. You Keep Attracting The Same Kind Of Partner
If you keep attracting the same type of negative, toxic partner "then you may be giving off the wrong energy," professional counselor Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT tells Buslte. "So, maybe you want to be dating a certain type of person, but if you don’t feel worthy of that person deep down, then you might be giving off signs that you’re not really interested." It's definitely something to think about.
16. People Often Change The Subject
When someone's sharing a negative story, it's common that others will change the topic to something more positive or neutral — like the weather — as a way of protecting themselves from pessimism.
"Watch for these subtle cues," Nancy Cramer, a leadership consultant and coach, tells Bustle. "Is there a trend? If so ... check the thoughts that occupy your mind. What you focus on and the meaning you assign to things determines the direction and weight of your energy."
17. Most Of Your Convos Are Complaints Or Gossip
Remember, negativity attracts negativity. So take note if your collection of friends — both in work and out — are the type who gossip and complain.
"Whether you’re complaining about people or circumstances, if you tend to focus conversations and relationships on commiserating, it’s likely that your negative energy is on the high side," Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, tells Bustle.
To make a positive change, it can help to keep "complaints to five to 10 minutes at the end of the day," Dr. O'Reilly says. "You can vent to your partner, a friend, or even in your journal/diary. Be openly negative and let it flow within censorship for this set period of time and then ban complaints for the rest of the day/night."
18. You Always Feel Impatient
Hardly anybody enjoys waiting in line, but there are definitely people who handle it better than others. And how you handle it can say a lot about your internal energy.
"If you get impatient when you have to wait in line, or have a high level of anxiety, people can sense it," psychic and spiritual coach Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "That type of energy may come across as negative or off-putting."
19. All Your Debates Dissolve Into Arguments
While it's obviously good to stick to your beliefs, having a healthy and positive conversation often means being open to the ideas and opinions of others. So take note if you can't seem to have a discussion without it turning into an argument.
"If you become a bit more flexible and adaptable, people will want to be around you and won’t mind your strong beliefs," Rappaport says. "If being flexible is not easy for you, start with practicing tolerance; accept the fact that others have their own beliefs or way of doing things and agree to disagree."
20. Your Partner Shuts Down
If you tend to give off a negative energy, your "partner may steel themselves when they know [you are] coming home," intuitive coach Caroline E. Zani, MEd, tells Bustle. "They may wait for [you] with crossed arms and downward pointed chin to buffer the effects of the negativity that will soon enter."
This is another body language signal that may mean you're giving off negative energy. (Maybe you're one to come home from work and vent?) By being aware of it, however, you can make a change.
Improving your energy not only makes you feel better, but also everyone around you — and that can help to attract good things your way. It may take some work to adjust negative vibes, and swap them out for something more positive, but it can be done. And it's definitely worth it.