Anyone that has to deal with negative people on a regular basis knows just how challenging it can be. All the complaining and ‘doom and gloom’ talk can really sap your energy and patience. At the conclusion of a mere 15-minute conversation, it can feel like the life has been sucked right out of you.
The good news is you can lessen the effects of their negativity by coming up with a plan to deal with this challenge.
Try these strategies:
- Be objective. It’s important not to take the negative person’s comments personally. Recognize that they’re pessimistic most of the time and take an unhelpful perspective of most things. They can be so absorbed by their negative thoughts that they have a difficult time being tactful.
- In reality, you might feel a little sorry for them. Aren’t you glad that you don’t carry the same negative attitude about life? It’s difficult to be upset with someone when you feel sorry for them.
- Keep the conversation light. It can be very helpful to steer the conversation to lighter topics, like the weather, martial arts, movies, or sports to keep things from getting too intense. Some people simply enjoy feeling the emotional intensity that comes from being negative.
- Avoid rewarding negative talk. Sometimes we inadvertently encourage the negative person by being too supportive.
- Instead, don’t engage fully in the conversation when someone is being overly negative. Instead, be enthusiastic and supportive when they’re being positive. Keep your responses and attention to a minimum when the negative talk is flying.
- Try not to be alone with them. You won’t feel the brunt of the abuse when there are others to share the grief. Plus, the negative talker will usually be less intense when he doesn’t have the undivided attention of a single person.
- It’s also much easier to excuse yourself from the conversation because you don’t feel like such a critical part of the interaction.
- Make a concerted effort to limit the amount of time you spend with them. Every positive and negative experience in your life has some effect on you. So take care of yourself and avoid spending more time with them than you need to.
- Be a positive influence. You might be able to help the person feel more optimistic by being a positive influence in their life. If you think they’re simply lonely, perhaps you could get a group together and all go out for dinner. Or maybe you could suggest a hobby. See if you can identify a specific cause for their negativity and then assist.
- Eliminate them from your life. Especially if you’re kind-hearted, you’ll most likely want to save this option as a last resort. Sometimes we have people in our lives that don’t have to be there, and it doesn’t make sense to maintain the relationship if that relationship only brings you negativity.
Negative people are a fact of life and something that we all must deal with from time to time. These strategies will help you keep their negative effects on your life to a minimum.