Mood Math

Being somewhat proficient with basic math for 2/3 of my lifetime has not helped me understand the mathematically utterly counter-intuitive “mood math”, whose basics I’m only getting to know now.

On the typical every day, my wife and me are spending our non-work time together. When one of us is in a bad mood, it’s guaranteed that these bad vibes will degrade the significant other’s mood too. The bad mood multiplied.

However: I observed that when we spend time with more people, the negative mood’s power of one person is greatly diminished. Where 1 person is enough to poison the well for everyone in a 2 person situation, once there’s 3 people or more, a negative person won’t be able to pull down the other 2 - instead the negative person’s mood will inevitably be pulled up. The bad mood was divided.

Since my wife and me bought a house from an 80 year old couple, we’ve been invited from time to time to join them and their friends. You’d think that there’s wouldn’t be any overlaps in interests between 60-80 year old people and 30 year old ones. But I’ve found that those random meetings yield fascinating conversations. This evening I met someone who is more than twice my age who shared my interest for direct farm-to-consumer produce 1, oils from a local mill 2, gardening berries, baking sourdough bread and pizza, and strangely even large parts of politics. The other neighbor also happened to drop by with some olive oil they brought from vacations. It turned out that they were on vacations 1200km away, but only 30km from where my wife and me will go this weekend, even though it’s not even such a touristy destination. Needless to say that I accidentally committed to an oil tasting get-together that otherwise would have never happened. Hard to see how that wouldn’t escalate to a follow-up event baking sourdough pizza…

Receiving guests is always stressful for me, because I’m a perfectionist. But being an accidental guest on such random evenings it becomes clear that the beauty of getting together is not created by perfect planning or meal-preps of the hosts, but by the effortless spark of human connection that might ignite on the spot when people meet in goodwill.


  1. Shout-out to CrowdFarming.

  2. Öhlmühle Solling