Dealing With Negative People
Without Resorting To Pre-Meditated Homicide!
Dealing with negative people can have a harmful impact on your own life. Even if you’re not a
you probably realise that hanging around negative folks can make you lose your own positivity in a heartbeat.
As such, it’s important to have strategies in place for dealing with negative people. Here are a few techniques I use to ensure that miserable sods don’t steal my hard-earned positive energy.
Be Hopelessly Optimistic
The simplest way to deal with negative people is to refuse to play by their rules. If you remain hopelessly upbeat around them, and refuse to dwell on the negative aspects of life, you’ll find that they will quickly come round to your way of thinking – or instinctively spend less time around you.
Both are probably good outcomes.
Take a Deep Breath
“Here we go again...” you utter to yourself, when your buddy starts out on yet another negative rant. Before you succumb to their ramblings, and waste energy trying to convince them of a better way, simply take a long, deep breath before responding.
It will help you get your thoughts together and proceed in a less adversarial tone. This is likely to be a much more effective way to get the desired response from your friend.
Realise They Are Not Trying To Be Negative
One thing you should remember when dealing with negative people – in most instances, they are not trying to be negative. Very few people on this planet set out every morning with the deliberate intention of bringing people down with them. More likely is that they are fed-up, confused or stuck with a dilemma - and are unsure about how to proceed.
If this is your friend, then you owe them a duty to at least give them the benefit of the doubt.
If you realise that they are not purposefully being negative, you can connect with them better, and help them to see the limitations of their ways. By taking the time out to brainstorm alternative courses of action with them, you can help them to move forward in a more positive manner.
Go Out Of Your Way To Help Them
You don’t have to be Jesus, Mother Teresa, Ghandi or Yoda to want to help other people. In fact, there are few more life-affirming experiences than helping others – which is the main reason I set up this website.
Perhaps the most beneficial way of dealing with negative people is to go out of your way to help them.
Exactly how this help will manifest depends on the situation – but some sure-fire ways of aiding people to become more positive include suggesting empowering
and books, asking them about their
and encouraging them to take the time to
All of these ideas will have a positive impact on their state of mind.
Your ultimate aim should be to get them excited about something. When you’re excited, you’re pulled towards a dream or a goal and you feel energised because of it. If you can get your buddy excited and focussed on the future, your work is done.
If the above four ideas don’t work, you’re probably dealing with someone whose negativity is part of their self image. These people are harder to connect with – but they can be helped.
Here are a few more tips for these professional energy saps!
Don’t Go Down To Their Level
It’s worth noting that you can’t fight fire with fire. If your friend really refuses to consider any other alternatives at present, simply let them be.
We all have up cycles when we’re motivated and enthusiastic – and down cycles, when we’re hard on ourselves and lethargic. People go through these cycles at their own rate – and unfortunately you can’t rush them just because you’re sick of hearing them whinge.The worst thing you can do is to join in their moaning, or to lose your temper with them and moan back at them instead.
A better approach is to say your piece in an enthusiastic manner, and disengage. Give the miserable sod time to digest your pearls of upbeat wisdom. You never know, he might act on your feedback on his own.
Take a Time Out
If you find yourself getting caught up in the other person’s drama when dealing with negative people, and begin to operate on their level, simply take a time out.
Spend a few minutes alone, being
or taking a walk. Just take some time to yourself to clear your head of the accumulated negativity, and brainstorm some different ways of connecting when you go back.
Your friend will appreciate the time to themselves too – and will likely have had time for a moment of quiet reflection.
Do Something Nice For Them
Everybody loves it when people go out of their way to do something nice for them. It’s no different when you’re dealing with negative people.
Cook them dinner, buy them their favourite movie on DVD, pay them a compliment, take them out for a drink or buy them a big bar of Green & Blacks chocolate (this last one works for me every time!)
Whatever it is, explain to them that you know they haven’t been feeling at their best lately, and that you wanted to remind them that they still truly rock in your eyes.
Often, this will be enough to pick them out of their slump and help them to start seeing things from an improved, positive perspective. At the least, they’ll appreciate your efforts and feel a bit better inside.
If All Else Fails, Tell Them The Truth
Some of you will probably be reacting strongly to this – for surely the first thing you should do when dealing with negative people is to tell them the truth...?!
Hmm...maybe. But answer me this: when you are having a period of self-induced loathing or pity, and someone comes up to you and says “you’re being miserable” – how much does this help?
Probably not much. You’re likely already to be quite aware of it yourself – hence your misery.
If you’ve tried everything else on this list, however, and you’re still getting nowhere, it’s time to take a deep breath and be very honest with your negative chum.
Try to remain present when you do this, and not to get caught up in the moment. When dealing with negative people, it's imperative to start with a little positive reinforcement - so explain how much you miss the times when they were upbeat, positive and full of energy.
Then, take another deep breath... and speak to them from the heart. Tell them what’s on your mind. Help them to see what impact they are having on you, as well as themselves. Say you want to help them get back on track. And suggest that you’re happy to brainstorm ways of doing it.
Just make sure you don’t come across as moaning or judgmental. That’s the hard part when dealing with negative people.
If you do all of that, I reckon your buddy will be on the fast-track to recovery and a reclaimed positive outlook. They will probably be more worried about the impact they have been having on you than on their own suffering – and make a commitment to fix up.
If not – well, good luck - you might have to find yourself a few new friends...!