Here’s Why You’re Likely Getting “”Bad Vibes”” From Someone
Getting ‘bad vibes’ from someone is more than just a “hokey” saying, and It’s also a lot deeper than a gut-feeling. There’s actually a science behind picking-up a feeling of ‘bad vibes’ or ‘negative energy’ from someone.
Likely you’ve the saying that “over 90% of all communication is non-verbal”.
We actually do physically-feel other peoples ‘vibes’ because our bodies sub-consciously and unconsciously communicate our inner-emotions through hormone excretion, non-verbal body language, micro-expressions, tone-of-voice, and physical presence.
When people send mixed signals, for example, poor eye contact or fidgety body language, we subconsciously pick-up on those vibes. Picking up on mixed signals is why, sometimes, you can sense a bad vibe from someone, even if the person seems upbeat and charming.
For example, a nice guy in a suit and tie with bad breath and gross dirty fingernails, he might initially come off as charming, but the mixed signals of poor hygiene could trigger a sub-conscious bad vibe.
Subconsciously you may pick up on their ‘facade’, when deep down you feel like they’re hiding something.
There’s also other times when someone can seem standoffish or mellow, but you still feel ‘good vibes’ or positive energy when you’re around them. Maybe this person is just shy, but deeper down they are both funny and smart.
In this article we’ll explore a deeper understanding of ‘bad vibes’ and ‘negative energy’ as we look to at expert opinions, perspectives, and the latest scientific research.
Let’s Dive In.
What Is Negative Energy And How Does Negative Energy (vibes) Effect You ?
Our general attitudes (moods) or ‘vibes’ create our “energy”, all of which is an outward physical representations of our inner psychological construct.
Our vibes is not just what we want to feel, but is also created from our sub-conscious and unconscious feelings which often are reflected in our attitudes or body-language with-out us even being aware of it.
We often reflect our inner-feeling non-verbally through body language and micro-expressions which represents our general “vibe”. Our vibe (be it positive or negative) can be consciously or unconsciously picked-up on and absorbed by others.
Your attitude and your energy affect how the people around you feel. It affects your family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers you come across in your daily activities.
Sometimes (even often) our inner-feelings are so deep that we are not even aware of how they are affecting our vibe. This could be something as subtle as crossed arms and sunken shoulders, or something more obvious like a deep scowl.
All of these non-verbal movements communicate to others our general “vibe” (mood, attitude, energy, or frequency)….Whether we’re aware of it, or not.
When you have a negative attitude towards life, you radiate negative energy. You can start to become unpleasant to yourself and energy draining to the people around you.
Not only does a negative attitude effect you, it effects those around you. A negative attitude can put a filter on your perspective through which you see life. It can also affect your immune system, your creative ability, intelligence, and thinking ability.
But, it’s not only your health that could be affected by your negative vibes, your wallet too.
A 2016 study published in the ‘Journal of Personality and Social Psychology’ found that, based on evaluating income levels, and attitudes of people from all around the globe, researchers found cynical people earn, an average of $300 per month, less than their more positive counterparts.
Understanding “Bad Vibes”: Should You Trust Them (Or Not) ?
The easiest way to identify anything in someone else, is to first identify it in yourself.
The higher the level of self-awareness that you have, the more accurate you will be when trying to identify someone else’s vibe.
Most people operate on a spectrum of different vibes, moods and emotions.
You won’t have all positive traits, and you won’t have all negative traits, but you’ll likely have more of one than the other. It’s important to recognize the root cause behind your emotions and behind your vibes.
Vibrating on a ‘higher frequency’ means that you mostly have positive motivations and thus a feeling of ‘positive energy’, traits, and characteristics.
On the other hand, when a person vibrates on a lower frequency, they possess seemingly ‘off’ traits and characteristics, and may have deeper motivations.
Those who are in-tune can pick up on the frequency or energy you send off all-most instantly. Unconsciously we tend to resonate with people we have similar energy with.
Trust your vibes, trust you ‘gut feeling’, trust your instinct, because energy doesn’t lie.
In other words, remember to check-in with how your body feels and distance yourself from someone you don’t feel okay being around. The same thing goes for when we feel weird being in a specific place or in a strange situation.
Noticing the bad vibe may save you. You could be feeling the bad vibe for a reason, so honor what you feel.
19 Reasons You Might Be Getting ‘Bad Vibes’ From Someone
1. Deep Introversion Or Social Awkwardness –
Don’t always be quick to judge. Sometimes ‘bad-vibes’ could just be ‘awkward vibes’. Introversion is commonly misunderstood. And as a naturally introverted person myself, I can’t tell you the number of times my demeanor has been mistaken for something else.
Being introverted certainly is not a bad thing and it’s not that we don’t have social skills. We just don’t like crowds, making speeches, introducing ourselves to strangers, heavy partying, and responding to questions like, “Why are you so quiet?”
If you (or a loved one) is an introvert, here’s a ‘Benefits Guide’ we wrote about introverts that you might enjoy.
2. Unresolved Past Trauma, a Loss, Or Any Other Kind Of Suffering –
Bad vibes could be from past trauma.
According to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine in 2015,
“childhood trauma is a common social problem. Individuals with childhood trauma show much more depression, anxiety, distorted cognition, personality deficits, and lower levels of social support.”
This means childhood trauma, if not processed correctly, can impact the trajectory of how you feel and interact with the world as an adult.
If you’ve experienced trauma, then you may find it easy to recognize the vibe of someone else who’s also experienced similar trauma.
3. They May Simply Be Having A Bad Day –
Having a bad day is part of the “human experience”.
Speaking from personal experience, my vibe probably is NOT the most pleasant to be around when I’m having a bad day.
TED Talk Alumni, and Psychology professor Marwa Azab, Ph.D believes that we all have unprovoked bad days, and sometimes, it is completely out of our control.
But what we do during those bad days IS completely within our control.
4. Physical Illness –
Being sick drains your energy and definitely kills your vibe. It’s possible you could be picking up on someone’s ‘sick vibes’ and mistaking them for ‘ bad vibes’.
Being physically sick is perspective that you should consider before passing any type of judgement.
5. You Don’t Like Them And They Know It –
When two people don’t like one another they can often be civil, but the ‘vibe’ or connection between them will probably seem “off”. Or maybe they’re intentionally give you bad vibes with snide remarks, toxic positivity, or aggressive behavior?
Either way, expert entrepreneurs agree that you should never let someone else’s toxic vibe limit your vibe.
Serial entrepreneur Deep Patel believes that you shouldn’t “let someone else’s opinion darken your day. Stop looking to others to acknowledge your accomplishments, or vindicate your achievements. Instead, turn your focus inward.”
6. They Take Pleasure In Other People’s Misfortune –
Taking pleasure in someone else’s pain can be funny in kid’s movies when someone gets hit in the nuts. But taking pleasure in someone’s “cruel ‘real-life’ struggle” is something completely different.
How do you tell the difference between someone’s ‘laugh-out-loud funny’ misfortune and someone’s cruel misfortune?
Philosophy professor Aaron Ben-Ze’ev has spent years studying the effects humans of taking pleasure from others’ misfortunes, and he believes that there are two distinct perspectives, from a moral stance.
1. If we get pleasure in others’ ‘minor misfortune’ with the belief that “”justice has been served””, and we are not responsible for the misfortune, then this emotion is not so bad from a moral point of view.
2. If we get pleasure in others’ ‘minor misfortune’ that stems from enjoying cruelty and sadism then this emotion is cause for concern from a moral point of view.
7. They’re Mean To Other People or Animals –
Someone who’s not aware that they’re being cruel to other living beings likely has deeper issues going on with them. Any type of cruelty naturally triggers deep emotional red flags, and certainly puts out ‘negative vibes’ to those around to witness the abuse.
Researcher suggest that someone who displays ‘acts-of-animal-cruelty’ or pet-abuse even as a child can be a sign of problematic behavior ‘down the line’ in life.
8. They Lie –
Catching anyone in a lie should immediately register as emotional distrust, bad vibes, red flags, all of that.
Lying also includes ‘intentionally omitting details’ and ‘strategically falsifying’ truths.
An article published by LiveScience, found that “the sub-conscious mind is a super lie detector”.
According to Dr. Leanne ten-Brinke, a social psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley –
“Our unconscious might be picking up on the right things that really are there. It is possible the brain can sense those differences in people’s demeanors without knowing the cause”
Dr. Leanne believes that from an evolutionary perspective, it may not be necessarily to know someone is lying. Instead, it could just be a “”vague unease”” (vibe) that helps people avoid interactions with an untruthful person.
9. Overly Gossip –
Gossip by itself isn’t all bad vibes, but being “”overly gossipy”” can be destructive.
Dr. Megan Robbins, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of California, defines a ‘bad gossiper’, as someone who shares information about others in order to get ahead, or to get an advantage for themselves. Or, someone’s who just plain reckless.
Stay clear of someone that gossips jealously or rarely has good words to say about others. They likely say the same about you behind your back.
10. They’re Manipulative –
Being manipulative can leave a trail of negative energy in your wake. Master manipulators like narcissists use multiple tactics and strategies to ensure that they are in control. They do not care about anyone else.
This need for control can be obvious or subtle but the ‘vibe’ will be there.
11. Lack Of Empathy –
It’s usually obvious to pick up on ‘bad vibes’ when you encounter someone that seems to have a distinct lack of empathy.
Having a base-line level of empathy towards others is a fairly fundamental character trait in normal functioning adults.
Those who lack empathy in obvious ways are a cause for concern on your ‘morality radar’.
Psychology consultant Kendra Cherry writes that empathy fuels kindness and human connection. The opposite is also true, where lack of empathy displays a feeling or ‘vibe’ of disconnection.
12. Racist / Sexist Behavior –
Any type of discrimination is a definite ‘vibe killer’.
From a bigger picture perspective, Verywell Mind describes those who exhibit discriminatory behavior as individuals who lack an identity of their own.
Sometimes when people feel bad about themselves or recognize their own shortcomings, instead of dealing with them,(and trying to fix their own problems), some people project their self-hatred onto others.
13. Frequently Complaining –
No-one likes a complainer.
Complaining is just another version of gossip. A chronic complainer will whine over ‘anything and everything’ just to look important, feel noticed, or avoid responsibility.
For some, this is an easy ploy to recognize.
Eventually a chronic complainer will make up things to complain about, and that’s not okay. This type of person will dampen everything around them, including you!
Recognize this vibe, and stop it to protect yourself and your energy.
14. Constantly Play Victim –
Those who are accustomed to playing victim, often draw their energy from shifting blame. They do so to manipulate and guilt-trip people so that, ultimately, the ‘victim’ will look good and/or get their way.
Don’t surround yourself with a person that constantly plays the “poor me” card.
Psychology professor, Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath, says that in order to break the hold of the negative ‘victim’ complex, and to escape victimhood, requires taking responsibility or holding someone accountable to their actions.
15. Fidgety Or “Closed Off” Body Language –
Someone’s non-verbal cues, like body language, can disclose a lot about them. Reading others’ body language affects how we engage with strangers and how much we can trust and connect with each other.
Simple ‘body-language posture-positioning’, like crossing your arms, touching your face, or obsessively fidgeting can send out mixed signals and throw off your vibe.
For a complete body language guide – check out this article – Here’s How To Read Unspoken Body Language & Micro-Expressions (Vibes)
16. Poor Hygiene Or Appearance –
You’re not supposed to “judge a book by it’s cover” but it’s something that we all do instinctually anyways.
Poverty conditions aside, poor hygiene and self-neglect are often a sign of either bad health or questionable mental stability.
The general vibe that poor hygiene and neglected-appearance send out is not overtly a positive one.
Both Medical News Today & Dr. Weatherspoon, agree that the ‘vibe’ that poor personal hygiene conveys may lead to avoidance, and result in isolation and loneliness.
17. They Talk About Themselves Too Much –
No one likes a bragger or someone who just talks about themselves.
A recent study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found a connection between high levels of the I-talk words “me” and “I” and feeling negative emotions.
Basically, those who talk about themselves too much are more likely to have deeper rooted emotional issues.
In fact, the results suggested that someone who uses more of these words may be prone to emotional distress such as anxiety, depression, worry, or anger.
So bragging could be an over-compensation for deeper feelings of insecurity.
18. They Use Humor To Insult You –
Ever heard someone say “just kidding” after getting caught saying something mean or inappropriate?
Were they really kidding? Or were they just saying that?
Known as the founding father of psychology, Freud suggested that humor is a way in which we express both conscious, and unconscious, thoughts and feelings.
Freud was one of the first to point out that humor often conceals anger and aggression. But the underlying anger and motivating feelings are still there. Certainly enough to catch the ‘vibe’ or underlying tone.
19. Looking All Over The Place –
Understanding gaze direction is particularly useful in understanding where someone has focused their attention. For this reason, we have evolved to break eye contact to remove ourselves from a social encounter intentionally.
All of us do this sometimes, hoping that the other party picks up on our ‘non-verbal’ lines of communication, or vibes.
In the same way , you can notice someone’s precise level of engagement in a conversation by their level of eye contact when you’re talking.
Here’s a guide, on making eye contact easier.
20. They Have General Anxiety or Depression –
Speaking from personal experience, having either anxiety or depression can cast a shadow on everything you do. Depression depletes your natural energy levels, and while you can try and hide your anxiety, those who are more aware will easily pick it up as an ‘off’ vibe.
According to medical researchers, depression is much more complex than just a chemical imbalance. Depression is triggered by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors.
Said another way, your lifestyle choices, relationships, and your coping skills matter just as much, if not more so, then your genes.
10 Biggest Risk Factors (root causes) for Anxiety & Depression Include:
- Loneliness and isolation
- Lack of social support
- Recent stressful life experiences
- Family history of depression
- Marital or relationship problems
- Financial strain
- Early childhood trauma or abuse
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Unemployment or underemployment
- Health problems or chronic pain
Most people can agree that any one of these factors (let alone a few of them combined) can easily weigh on your mental health. And probably should cause feelings of uneasiness and anxiety.
However, medication won’t solve the root of any of these problems. BUT, there are healthy ways to find solutions and deal with these situations through exercise, meditation, and therapy.
New research also points heavily towards CBD and Cannabis products to help uncover and precess the underlying root causes of both depression and anxiety.
None of which have side effects or cause dependency.
Conclusion: ‘Bad Vibes’
Poor attitudes, negative energy, and bad vibes are known to mirror your inner feeling and emotions.
It’s likely that some people who are in-tune with their own ‘vibe’ and self-awareness can pick up on your vibes, sometimes better than you can yourself.
Someone’s vibe can travel through touch, body language, and even our tone of voice. So don’t be afraid to trust your gut when you catch a bad vibe.
If you found this article helpful or if you find something important that we missed please let us know.
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