You are down, you feel a bit off, disconnected, even. Maybe you are just in a dopey mood and want to pull the covers over your head. There’s probably some negative or disempowering conversation happening in your head, am I right? But it’s not a crisis, nor an entirely unfamiliar state — you’ll shake it off soon enough. It’s no big deal, except that…you have a social occasion to attend!

This leaves you a bit conflicted, because you generally enjoy people’s company, having good conversation and socialising. Sometimes you are even the life of the party! But right now you are NOT THAT. In your current state of mind, you’d really rather skip it, and your mood isn’t helping!

So what do you do when you are in a mood?

Many people in this circumstance will bow to their feelings in the moment, and change plans. You might be tempted to make some excuse (which you know is both lame and untrue, but who wants to broadcast such feelings?!?) or just fail to show up.

There is an alternative — 3 Simple Steps to Getting Connected — which may lead you a different way, and leave you feeling proud of yourself, rather than letting your emotions get the best of you. This presumes of course that you don’t opt out of your commitment, and you go anyway, despite your feelings.

Here’s the way to alter what comes next:

#1 Come out of yourself and your own problems. While your mind really wants to distract you with your own little pity party, you need to set this aside. Stop dwelling on your view of your own issues for the next few hours and look outside yourself. The ticket to connecting with others is to be ‘out here’ with others, not inside your own head. It’s a good signal, and should be a relief, given its no fun being preoccupied with the noise in your head anyway!

#2 Listen, listen, listen… to others. When you aren’t feeling very conversational don’t try to manufacture something to say — just to make conversation, be polite or clever. Your mood isn’t the best starting point at the moment. So fire up your listening skills and use them authentically. Make it an experiment to find something more interesting to pay attention to right now. The quality of listening you provide will directly correlate to the quality of the conversation that emerges, particularly if you…

#3 Get interested in discovering another. To discover what’s interesting about those around you, you need to generate real interest. While that might seem hard, it’s really just a muscle to practice. If you think about it, surely you can probably remember a time when someone was so genuinely interested in what you were saying, you found yourself with pearls dripping off your tongue, amazed yourself at what you were recounting, the insights that arose. You may not have recognised yourself as the wise, clever, amazing conversationalist you were being. Consider that you showed up that way because you had a genuine listener. Now, you can play that role for another — and it’s a self validating circle of engagement!

So, next time you are not in the mood or feel a little disempowered, don’t let your feelings, which are temporary, get the best of you. Alter the experience instead. The access to enjoying yourself is by taking charge of your own thinking and intentionally practicing ‘ways of being’ that allow for connecting with other people. Take the attention off yourself, listen actively, and generate genuine interest in others.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes.