A new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology claims that rudeness, like the common cold, is often contagious.
The study asked a group of students at the University of Florida to engage in multiple negotiation rounds with various partners and report on how rude they perceived each partner’s behavior to be. The students who reported rude partners were more likely to act rudely in their next round.
“Some of the negotiations took place one after another, and some took place up to seven days apart,” study author, Trevor Foulk, tells Gizmodo. “We found that the time between negotiations didn’t seem to matter. The rudeness experienced in the previous negotiation still caused participants to be rude in their next negotiation.”
Folk explains this subconscious reaction by saying that when people experience rudeness, they often begin to notice more rudeness in their environment and are more likely to respond with rudeness. Previous studies suggest that happiness spreads from person to person in a similar way.
Your daily behaviors clearly affect the people around you, so go ahead and flash a few extra smiles today. They may travel further than you think.