How to Deal with Negative People

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At one point in your life or another, you have to learn how to deal with negative people. 

I used to have a friend who, after a while, became consumed with negativity in her life.

She always focused on what she didn’t have, what she’d lost, what other people had or the ways in which other people were planning to, or had already done something bad to her.

It wasn’t as if she’d lost her mind. From the description above, it almost sounds like it though. No, she just became so consumed by negativity that she couldn’t focus on anything else.

I’m sure you don’t have to go very far back in your own experience (this morning, maybe?) to come up with an example of how you had to deal with someone negative.

I’ll admit, in my own situation, I had to resort to dropping this friend, and now I see or talk to her only very, very occasionally.

But maybe the negative people you deal with are at work or elsewhere in your life where it’s a bit harder to say goodbye.

If that’s the case, here are some ideas on how to deal with negative people.

 How To Deal With Negative People

1. Don’t Get Sucked In To The Black Hole. Be around negative people as little as possible. Structure your day or tasks so that you can avoid dealing with these people as much as you (responsibly) can.

2. Float. If you have to be around them, try to float above the negativity. Remember that negative people are negative. They’re not going to say nice things to you or about you. They won’t have a nice reply when you talk about the game last night, or the weather – even if it’s been gorgeous for 8 days straight. 

So you don’t have to take their feedback personally. When you’re working together on a project and you’ve just done something brilliant, don’t expect to be told so, and you won’t be disappointed.

I know it stinks, but complaining about what IS won’t change it. 

Get very realistic about what to expect from this person and get what you need (emotionally or more concretely) elsewhere. 

3. Don’t Get Caught in the Bear Trap. Sometimes it feels like negative people are baiting you into talking about whatever they feel so upset about, just so they can vent their negativity. 

Don’t get caught! 

Maybe that topic is your boss, the latest project you’re working on, politics, or something else that is particularly sensitive for this person. If you know where the land mines are, by all means, avoid them! 

4. Love Them. Negative people are usually negative because they’re hurt, feel victimized, betrayed, angry and otherwise slighted by life. Sometimes a little kindness can heal that just enough to crack the egg and let a little sunshine through. 

If you sense this might be the case, try some kind words. Just someone knowing you genuinely care can make all the difference. If you can form an ally this way, they may be able to make more positive changes just by knowing you and following your example. 

5. Say Goodbye. It can be so hard to know when it’s time to say goodbye to certain relationships. But if a negative relationship is getting to be too much and your attempt to put up boundaries is not working, it may be time to say goodbye, no matter how the person is connected to you.

Only you can make the decision about if it’s right to drop a relationship, have a serious conversation, or keep trying, but you have to take into account the serious cost that being around negativity can have on you. 

You Can Learn How To Deal With Negative People Anywhere In Your Life

Negative people can leave us feeling angry, drained and powerless. But you can learn how to deal with negative people no matter where you find them in your life. 

Taking back control is a matter of resetting boundaries and expectations, as well as coming to grips with the fact that perhaps, you won’t get what you need emotionally from this person.

If this is a co-worker, that might feel bad, but you can probably deal with it. If it’s a parent or other loved one, it might be devastating.

If you are very clear within yourself about the boundaries, expectations and emotional needs that you have, you will be much better able to deal with this person, no matter where you find them in your life. 

So tell me, where have are you dealing with a negative person in your life, how are you dealing with it, and how is it effecting you?


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