All of us have to deal with negative people at some point.
With the holidays fast approaching, we may have to deal with more negativity than usual.
Yes, we may love our relatives but that doesn’t stop them from being negative and bringing down the whole room.
Here are my tips on how to deal with negative people.
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Don’t be one yourself
This one is probably the most important – don’t be a negative Nelly yourself.
Whilst we all have our tough times there is a big difference between struggling with a particularly hard time in our lives and automatically being negative all the time (often for no actual reason).
Negative people don’t need a trauma or problem to trigger their negativity.
Avoid negative people if possible
If possible, try to avoid extremely negative people.
I know that’s hard if we work closely with them, are related to them or god forbid live with them.
Talk to them
Sometimes we need to make people aware of their behavior and let them know how it’s affecting them (and us). Sometimes people don’t realize how negative they are.
This should always come from a place of love and understanding (not judgment or anger).
Going passive aggressive on a negative person will only make the situation worse. Much worse! Be caring, gentle and kind but get your point across.
Looking for a good book to help you with those tough conversations? The book Crucial Conversations is a great place to start.
Make sure you read my post – 12 Best Books on Having Better Conversations. Whatever conversation you need to have, you are bound to find a book in this list that can help!
Understand certain subjects are off-limits
If you know that a particular subject is going to trigger a negative outpouring from a particular person or group – avoid talking about it altogether.
Often politics, religion, and race fall into these categories. Understand what sets certain people off.
As much as I adore my Mum, I know talking about my Dad is strictly off-limits. Even years after his death, talking about him always triggers a negative reaction. Best not to go there in the first place.
Related post – How to Have a Two-Way Conversation
Say something positive
If a negative person is dominating the conversation, it’s time to say something positive.
If you can lift the positive vibes in the room, it can often stop them from being negative (or at least distract them).
If you need a positivity boost yourself, read the uplifting book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. It’s a fabulous pick me up!
Change the topic
To be honest, sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it can be a matter of just how negative a person is but give it a shot.
Change the topic to something completely different. If possible talk about something that you know the negative person is genuinely interested in and reasonably positive about.
Sometimes a change of topic can bring them alive and lift the whole conversation.
Related post – How to Have a Two-Way Conversation
Leave the room
I’ve been in this situation before. I have tried everything from changing the topic to being positive myself to trying to reign in someone else’s negativity.
I am certainly not suggesting you chuck a childish tantrum and storm out of the room, banging doors as you go. There are subtle and polite ways to remove yourself from a room.
If someone’s negativity is bringing you down, leave the room and take a breather.
Walk off your frustration if possible at the time or do something you find calming to get yourself back in a positive head space.
Reign negative people in
This is particularly important at work. Negativity in the workplace can be particularly toxic.
People spread rumors, gossip and are less productive because they are too busy spreading doom and gloom. A few extremely negative people can make an office an unpleasant place to work.
Don’t be drawn into this sort of behavior.
From a personal perspective, you can reign someone in when they are being negative by letting them know that you don’t agree with their point of view or looking at a situation from another angle (preferably a more positive or at least neutral one).
This can be particularly helpful in a one on one discussion. Again be polite with your message.
Related post – It’s Not All About You
Don’t catch negativity
Negativity is catching. It’s like the flu, it spreads from one person to the next person till everyone has it and is completely miserable.
Whilst we may not be able to control whether we get a cold or flu we do have influence over our own emotions and actions.
You are in control of how you view the world and the people in it.
Don’t foster negativity. Spread light and joy, not misery.
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