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When you are feeling great about something, the last thing you want to experience is being around a negative person.
No matter how good you may be feeling, being around a negative person for just a few minutes can turn a happy situation into one filled with stress and resentment.
As a result, most people want to do everything possible to avoid being around those who are determined to have a “gloom and doom” attitude.
But if you’re like me and countless other people, dealing with negative people in a way that does not affect you is usually easier said than done.
Whether you have people in your personal or professional lives who are determined to bring you down day after day, there are a variety of strategies and techniques you can incorporate into your own way of thinking that will counteract the negativity being sent your way.
In this post, I have some sound advice for you that I have found to be very helpful over the years in learning how to deal with negative people.
The Best Tips To Learn How To Deal With Negative People
Who Is A Negative Person?
Before you can start dealing effectively with how a negative person impacts your life, I feel you need to have a clear definition in your mind of just who is a negative person.
To begin with, a negative person can be virtually anyone in your life, a coworker, boss, spouse, parent, or even someone you consider to be a friend.
No matter who the person is and the role they play in your life, a negative person will be the one who is always saying something won’t work, or that an idea brought up in a meeting could always be a bit better.
In addition, there are plenty of other signs you can look for that will indicate you’ve found yourself in the midst of a negative person.
Some of the most common include:
- They are constantly complaining
- They are never upbeat or positive about anything
- They always are playing the victim
- Everyone else is wrong, while they are always right
- They are thin-skinned and easily insulted
- They tend to be underachievers
- They always say “yeah, but”
- When given good news, still spin it in a negative fashion
No matter the situation in which you find yourself, being able to identify these traits in a person as quickly as possible will help you not only get away from them, but also remind you to avoid them as much as possible.
Strategies To Deal With Negative People
Now that you know what to look for in helping you identify negative people, let’s focus on the many different strategies you can use to deal with these difficult individuals.
Since some people refer to negative people as “human black holes”, it will be vital you develop a series of strategies you can use to deal with them in various types of situations.
If you fail to do so, I can guarantee you will start feeling drained, exhausted, and depressed.
As for the strategies you can use, here are the ones I’ve found to be very effective with friends, family, coworkers, and others.
#1. Understand Where The Negativity Is Coming From
Once you can figure out where the other person’s negativity is coming from, you’ve won half the battle.
By understanding the various issues a person may be dealing with, you can realize you are not the real problem in their life.
They simply don’t know how to deal with their issue and are taking it out on you.
#2. Smile And Remain Detached
When a negative tirade begins, being able to smile and not let yourself get caught up in the other person’s problems can be a great way to keep yourself sane.
By being an observer rather than a participant, you’ll avoid feeling drained and exhausted from the ongoing negativity.
#3. Ask To Be Told Something Positive
Once a person finishes with their negative rant, ask them to then tell you something positive.
Not only will this shift the tone of the conversation, but it will likely stun the other person for a moment or two.
Once you make this request, the person will either do as you asked or simply walk away, realizing you won’t be a willing participant in their pity party.
#4. Create A “Force Field” Around You
While this may initially sound like nonsense to you, it can actually be a very effective strategy.
By imagining you have a force field of bright white light around you, you’ll quickly find yourself feeling invincible to the negativity surrounding you.
In addition, once a negative person discovers they get little or no reaction from you when having their negativity, they will move on to the next person.
#5. Take It As A Sign
If possible, I have found that when you use the negativity as a sign that perhaps you need to make a change in your life, it can be turned into a rather positive experience.
Since I’m like many of you and often allow myself to get into a comfortable rut, taking a few moments to think in these situations often leads to new and innovative thinking on my part.
#6. Don’t Let The Negativity Control You
If you have one person who is always able to push your buttons, think about why this is and what you can do to quit letting the negativity control you.
By learning more about yourself, you’ll be able to regain whatever power you relinquished along the way.
#7. Be Selective In Who And How You Help
In some instances, I have found you simply have to be more selective in who you help and how you choose to help them with various problems.
At some point, you may have to acknowledge you cannot help the person and walk away with your own mental health intact.
#8. Use Phrases Such As “Thank You”, “I’m Sorry”, and “I Love You”
Especially useful with family members and friends, saying these phrases when speaking with negative people can have a profound effect on their thinking.
#9. Remember It Is Not Your Fault
No matter what problems a person is facing and discussing with you, always remember it is not your fault.
Since you may tend to feel guilty in situations involving close friends or family members, knowing you can do nothing else but offer advice and suggestions can take the pressure off your shoulders.
#10. Use Enthusiasm As A Weapon
Finally, try using enthusiasm as a weapon against negativity.
By doing so, you will not only improve your own mood, but perhaps even that of the negative person standing in front of you.
How To Handle Negative Comments
Now that you have some strategies for dealing with negative people, what about negative comments?
If there is one thing that can drag you down in a hurry, it is having to listen to one negative comment after another.
Whether in person, on the phone, or even online through social media sites, negative comments can play a much bigger role in keeping you depressed than you might realize.
In my experiences, I’ve discovered that the more I allow myself to dwell on various negative comments made to me on the job or in my personal life, the more depressed and exhausted I become both physically and emotionally.
If this sounds like you, here are some ways I’ve found to be very helpful in handling various types of negative comments.
#1. Walk Away
Since you’ll probably be offended in some way from a negative comment, simply walking away can let cooler heads prevail and give you time to figure out a way to respond in a calm manner if you wish.
#2. Check Your Ego At The Door
Rather than turn one negative comment into a monumental battle to prove who is right, check your ego at the door and tell yourself that everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Suddenly, the problem won’t seem nearly as important.
#3. Agree To Disagree
In today’s world, agreeing to disagree has become a rarity.
However, if you can master the art of doing this, you will find few, if any, negative comments directed toward you will have a significant impact on the most important areas of your life.
#4. Be Willing To Admit A Mistake
When a negative comment is directed at you, it does not necessarily mean the person doing so is always wrong.
Therefore, upon hearing the comment and thinking about it for a moment, you may discover there is some truth in what was just said to you.
If this is the case, be willing to admit your mistake.
Once you do, a constructive conversation can take place.
#5. Walk In The Other Person’s Shoes
By putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, you may find yourself better able to see things from their point of view.
I use this technique frequently, and can say I almost always get great results for my own mental health.
By understanding their point of view and always looking for the positive in these situations, I find I can usually take the lemons given me and make a very tasty lemonade.
How To Avoid Negative Energy
We’ve covered how to deal with both negative people and negative comments in life.
Now it is time to turn our attention to negative energy.
If like me you consider yourself to be a sensitive person, you may often find yourself having a hard time avoiding the negative energy around you.
While the negative energy may feel like an overwhelming force at times, the good news is that just as there are strategies to use for negative comments there are also things you can do to avoid negative energy.
#1. Take Control Of Your Life
First and foremost, always take back control of your life from the negative people around you.
To do so, it’s best to start by attempting to look within yourself and start resolving any issues you have tried to ignore over the years.
Once you do, you’ll start to feel more powerful in all aspects of your life, enabling you to shield yourself from negative energy.
#2. Be Yourself
If there is one piece of advice I can give you as to how you can avoid negative energy, it is to just be yourself in all situations.
When you try to be someone other than yourself, problems always ensue.
Since no two people are exactly alike, choosing to be yourself will eliminate most of the fear you may have possessed inside yourself, enabling you to become an unstoppable force.
#3. You Can Only Control Yourself
If you are the type of person who always thinks they should be able to control others or help them change for the better, you are setting yourself up for failure and inviting negative energy into your life.
Rather than put yourself in this situation, face the reality that you can only control yourself and nobody else.
Once you do so, you will have a burden lifted off your shoulders, freeing you to embrace the many positive aspects of life while letting others deal with their own problems.
#4. You Need Support, Not Validation
When many people think of support and validation, they think of them as the same, when in fact they are quite different.
When you are constantly in need of external validation from others, you wind up absorbing tremendous amounts of negative energy in the process.
However, when you seek out support from those you love and trust, positive energy comes your way on a daily basis.
While it is okay to let other people’s opinions matter to you, it is also crucial to remember to love yourself and trust in your ability to make the best decisions both personally and professionally.
#5. Avoid The Energy Vampires
If you want to get filled with negative energy, hang out with the “energy vampires” on a regular basis.
By this term, I mean people whose sole purpose appears to be to drain us of our energy.
If you can get yourself in the habit of avoiding these people as much as possible, you will take a huge step toward having more positive energy in your life.
Since we only have so much energy to use each day, choose to avoid as much nonsense as possible and instead focus on the many good things in your life and the world around you.
The Hardest Part Of Life With Negative People
At the end of the day, you need to make a decision about the people you surround yourself with.
This means if you spend time with negative people, it might be time to end the relationship and move on.
While this isn’t easy, you only get one shot at life.
And sooner or later, if you hang out with negative people for too long, you too will begin to become negative as well.
I’ve had to end friendships and a loving relationship because of negative people.
Neither time was it easy, but I can say I am thankful I had the courage to end things.
I know I am much better off without them in my life.
Of course there was a lot of sadness and tears in the beginning and I even questioned if I made the right decision.
But as time went on, I knew I did.
My happiness returned as did my positive outlook on life.
In the rare instances I run into those people, I see they are still the negative, unhappy people they were 5 or more years ago.
And I walk away being grateful I no longer am dealing with their negativity.
The take away is this.
It will not be easy to end a relationship with a negative person and you questions if you did the right thing. But in time, you will know for certain you did the best thing for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
I get asked a lot of questions from readers about dealing with negative people.
Here are the most common ones.
How do you respond to a negative person?
The best way to respond to a negative person is to not get sucked into their way of thinking.
End the conversation as quickly as possible and move on.
This means not adding fuel to the fire.
Simply nod your head in agreement and when they are finished, tell them you need to run and say goodbye.
This is important to do because they are looking for any sign from you to keep talking.
The less you give them to work with, the faster you can get out of there.
How do you have a relationship with a negative person?
Having a relationship with a negative person is going to be tough.
Mainly because you will be around this person a lot, assuming they are your spouse.
The best advice I can give you is to be open and forgiving.
And realize there will be many unhappy moments.
This is because eventually, their negativity is going to rub off onto you or you will have grown tired of it.
This is where the idea of ending the relationship comes into play.
It is not a decision to make quickly, but rather one that needs a lot of thought.
When I ended my relationship, I couldn’t take it any longer. I dreaded being around them.
I was at the point where I was either going to become a miserable person or I was going to take back control of my life.
It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
What causes negative thinking?
There are a few things that cause negative thinking.
First of all, is you thinking. The more you think, the more you think. Just like the more it snows, the more snow there is on the ground.
Once you start thinking, your mind will continue to think additional thoughts.
And if you are in a negative frame of mind, your mind will continue down the path.
For example, I will name a few things and then you name a few more. Sheep, tractor, barn, cow.
Now it is your turn. Name 3 more things.
Odds are the things you named are related to farming. I started you thinking about this subject and so you continued it.
The next cause of negative thinking is our emotions. When we are emotional, we have irrational thoughts.
When you are tired, you typically lash out on others more easily.
When you are mad, you tend to be meaner to others.
If you find yourself stuck in negative thinking, pause for a minute and assess your emotional state.
What are you feeling? Most times it will be obvious. Sometimes however, it won’t be.
Then you will have to dig a little deeper to realize the event from this morning is having an impact on you.
How can you fix a negative person?
The bottom line is you can’t.
It is up to them to decide if they want to change.
You can point out to them that they are negative all the time and have conversions about that.
At the very least they will realize they are being negative and then might choose to change.
But there is nothing you can do to force them to change.
How do I deal with negative people at work?
Dealing with negative people at work it tough.
If you can, interact with them as little as possible. Even better is to keep conversations to email.
This will save you a lot of time from their negative rambles about the days news.
If you have to meet with them in person, follow my advice from above.
Don’t feed into the conversation.
Just be silent and nod in agreement.
When they are done, give a reason why you need to leave and leave.
If there is still business to discuss, tell them you have a busy afternoon and you need to stick to the topic.
Overall, you will encounter negative people all the time in your life.
The keys to dealing with these people are to not allow their negativity to take root.
Listen out of compassion, but then end the conversation and focus on positive things.
If you have to deal with negative people at work or in your personal life, you need to be extra strong.
And you might even need to consider ending the relationship.
At the end of the day, I hope these tips and tricks will help you better deal with negative people and not allow their views impact your happiness.
Jon Dulin is the passionate leader of Unfinished Success, a personal development website that inspires people to take control of their own lives and reach their full potential. His commitment to helping others achieve greatness shines through in everything he does. He’s an unstoppable force with lots of wisdom, creativity, and enthusiasm – all focused on helping others build a better future. Jon enjoys writing articles about productivity, goal setting, self-development, and mindset. He also uses quotes and affirmations to help motivate and inspire himself. You can learn more about him on his About page.