Emotions Are Contagious: Stay Away From Frustrating People

Leena just came back from honeymoon vacation. She enters her workplace happy and excited upon seeing her colleagues preparing a welcome party for her!

She greets everyone and receives some gifts and congratulations then goes to her office, which she shared with 2 other female colleagues.

They are curious to listen to their newly-wed friend talking about her new life and –maybe- complaining about anything so that they would advise her on how to deal with it. At least she is their lovely, quiet friend who doesn’t have enough experience in dealing with men and they would absolutely love to help her.

To their surprise, Leena’s talk comes almost positive. No single word is uttered about anything disturbing. The girl seems to be really happy!

At this moment, the two ladies refuse to surrender. No, they have to say something. They should warn her not to be deceived because marriage is not about happiness; yes, it is that simple..

The first lady, a 45-year-old, who looks a bit wise, takes the lead and starts narrating the story of her first marriage, which she has never told before. She recalls how she and her husband loved each other dearly at the beginning and how happy their life used to be during the first year of marriage.

However, things have changed rapidly and she found herself struggling to make this marriage work, especially that she was pregnant with her first child. Two years later, she opted for divorce.

The second lady, a 30-years-old and not married, picks it from here and advises Leena to wait for a while before judging her experience. “I know you’ll find this a bit silly but you have to be careful from the beginning. Honeymoon is not the best time for a wife to judge her marriage coz time changes everything!” She said.

“You know, I’m not trying to frustrate you, but honeymoon passion won’t last long and you better consider postponing pregnancy till you are sure about the stability of your marriage.” She continues.

Leena sits on her chair with a pale look and a confused mind.

Emotions Are Contagious: Stay Away From Frustrating People - About Islam

Selma arrives at home after a doctor’s appointment. She is extremely happy to know about her pregnancy, now she is expectant mother !

She can’t wait to see how the baby would look like, feeling eager to touch the lovely  skin and hold  tiny hands of the baby.
Her husband was over the moon to hear  this news as the couple had been  waiting for this moment for 3 years since they got married.

The first one who comes to Selma’s mind in such moments of excitement is her old friend Fatimah. She picks the phone quickly and calls her friend.

Upon hearing the news, Fatimah feels happy for her friend. She makes du’a for her and the baby and congratulates her. However, Fatimah can’t stop herself from giving some important piece of advice to her dear friend.

“I’m really happy for you Selma, but I have to warn you, being a mother is not that easy. Kids will consume your time and effort to the most. There would be days when you can’t find just one hour to spend with your husband or even on your own. Try to enjoy your life as much as you can before the baby arrives because you won’t have this precious chance again.”

“You know well how my life has changed since I became a mother; it’s really a tough job and I’m literally 24 hours on duty” Fatimah continued complaining about her life and she seemed to have forgotten about the good news of her friend.

Selma thanks her friend for the advice and ends the call. She is still happy, but not like before…

Why do people frustrate each other?

In the 2 previous cases, it’s very likely that the friends of Leena and Selma really love them and feel happy for them. However, deep inside, they are frustrated persons and they can’t help but transfer their feeling of frustration to other people around them.

Sherrie Bourg Carter writes the following on Psychologytoday:

For centuries, researchers have studied the tendency for people to unconsciously and automatically mimic the emotional expressions of others, and in many cases actually feel the same feelings simply by exposure to emotions in social interactions.

Studies have found that the mimicry of a frown or a smile or other kinds of emotional expression trigger reactions in our brains that cause us to interpret those expressions as our own feelings. Simply put, as a species, we are innately vulnerable to “catching” other people’s emotions.

In the literature, this process in which a person or a group influences the emotions and affective behavior of another person or group through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotions is referred to as emotional contagion (EC). And although study after study has demonstrated what a powerful impact it can have on our relationships—domestic partnerships, friendships, teams, business relationships, and groups of all kinds—interestingly, we often don’t realize how much our own emotions are influenced by the emotional states of others.[1]


Knowing that such bad emotions are contagious, we should wisely choose our company and surround ourselves with positive people and avoid those who emit negativity. However, that is easier said than done.

So what if those people who negatively affect us are important parts of our lives, i.e. husband, wife, intimate friend etc? Well, then we should think of some strategies to deal with them and even help them get rid of their negative emotions.
Here are some ways that can help:

Being grateful

Even in crisis times and when we feel the world is becoming so dark, we need to think of the good things we have and the blessings that Allah (SWT) bestowed upon us. The feeling of gratefulness would absolutely help us fight negative emotions and develop positive attitudes.

Looking at the bigger picture

It’s important for the person who suffers from frustration to try hard not to get stuck in this dark corner. Whatever the reason for our frustration might be, it would certainly be a part of our life and we need to look at the bigger picture in order to find alternatives and solutions.

Reading Inspirational Articles

If you keep reading inspirational articles and books, it will motivate you to stay positive. You will see that everyone goes through rough patches but that they do make it through.

Take a Break

Forget about your problems and just go out and do something fun. Meet up with your friends, watch a nice movie or read for your favorite author. Taking breaks every now and then is always a good way to refresh your mind and charge your battery with some positive energy.


First published: May 2016


1- https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201210/emotions-are-contagious-choose-your-company-wisely



About Hasnaa Hasan
Hasnaa Hasan is the managing editor of Aboutislam's Family & Society. She holds a B.A. in English literature from the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University and is currently a post graduate student at the American University in Cairo. Hasnaa is interested in family and social issues, especially those related to youth, marriage and children.You can reach her at: [email protected]