Have you been around people who seem to have a negative view of most things? If so, you might know how difficult they can be. Negative people tend to drain all of your energy. When you are around them, you may end up feeling exhausted and even depressed. They sure can bring you down on a good day by steering a conversation in a negative direction or speaking unfavorably about others.
Negative people are everywhere in your life. These people may be negative for several reasons. They may have insecure feelings about themselves and project these feelings onto others. Keeping a negative view often feeds their insecurities, and they may be “comfortable” being miserable because being miserable is all they know. Negative people may have been hurt somehow and use their negativity as a protective factor. No matter why they are negative, it absolutely affects those around them.
The trick is to learn the right way to deal with them, so they don’t end up draining the energy out of you. Plus, their negativity can rub off on you, without you even realizing it.
Rather than letting them affect you, you need to consciously tackle them. Here are 9 positive strategies to deal with the negative people in your life.
1. Disengage. Negative people tend to focus and talk about negative things. They usually ignore positive things. They are attracted to negativity because it gets their attention. It is ok to talk with them and listen to what they have to say. However, if they become negative and it begins to make you uncomfortable, disengage. Communicate with them, but don’t fully engage. When they are talking about negative things, say, ”I understand” or “okay.” Respond with enthusiasm when they talk about something good or positive. If you do this often, they will get your point. This may help them stick to positive topics.
2. Avoid Arguing. Don’t waste your energy by getting into an argument or debate with a negative person. You will end up feeling drained if they are not open to looking at the positive side of things. Negative people can have strong opinions that are difficult to change. When you try to explain something to them, they will come up with various reasons that support their view. By arguing, you will be unknowingly pulled into the negativity. If the conversation gets heated, try switching the topic or politely walk away from the situation.
3. Hang Out in Groups. Make it a point to have someone around when you are with negative people. This will divide the negativity between you and the other person. Some of the negative load will be taken off of you. There is someone else with you to bear the brunt of the negative energy. Having another person with you can also help bring out the positive side in a negative person.
4. Talk about Lighter Topics. Some topics act as a trigger for negative talk. If you know that an individual tends to get negative about a particular topic, stay away from discussing the topic. Touchy topics can turn them into self-victimizers and will encourage them to start ranting. Introduce a lighter topic to lighten the mood. Start discussing something that the person feels positive about. It can be anything such as movies, books, travel, hobbies, friends, or anything else that makes them happy. This will prove to be a highly effective way to deal with negative people.
5. Offer Compliments Often. Negative people are not only negative toward others. They are negative toward themselves as well. More often than not, people are negative because they lack positivity, love, and care in their life. One of the best ways of helping such individuals is bringing positivity into their life. Try to find out what is bothering the negative person, and help them to stop thinking negatively.
Don’t wait for a particular situation to say something positive. Don’t wait until they get depressed or angry to offer compliments. It will initially throw them off a bit, and they may be surprised, but it will take your conversation in a positive direction. Plus, it will be a morale boost for the person.
6. Don’t Take It Personally. Do not take negative comments from negative people personally. Don’t take them as personal attacks. People may try to bring you down by making negative remarks, but your goal should be not to let all those negative comments affect you in any way. You should be guarded in order to deflect the negativity away from you. Keep your positive aura all around you and don’t let their negativity get to you. There are strategies that can keep you from taking things personally.
7. Control Your Response. Some people find comfort in being negative. The surroundings they were raised in, or their life experiences might have turned them negative. Being unnecessarily stressed out may be a familiar state for them. Negative people are often attracted to people they can get a reaction from, which can be anything from compassion to anger. They subconsciously try to pull you into their world. If you give in to the situation and react strongly, you are letting them depend on you for a reaction to exacerbate their negativity. Once you hear them out, respond as calmly as possible. If they are talking ill about people, avoid doing the same with them. Be strong enough not to allow their negativity to rub off on you. Tell them you cannot continue to listen to them unless they stop being negative. Learn to be resilient to negativity and try to make positivity an everyday habit.
8. Leave When You Feel Drained. Being around negative people can be extremely exhausting. When you spend more time with negative people, your thoughts, emotions, and attitude tend to become negative as well. Eventually, it can become ingrained in you. Keep a check on the amount of time you spend in the company of negative people. Limit the duration, if you can. When you feel their company is draining you, excuse yourself and leave. If you can’t leave tell them to talk about something positive. Don’t be afraid to leave the situation if it’s affecting you.
9. Avoid Negative People. If nothing works, avoid the company of negative people completely. You cannot help it if the complainer in your life wants to hold on to his negative feelings, no matter how illogical they are. There cannot be any solution for such people’s problems. The more you are around negative people, the more drained you will end up feeling. You might have noticed that after an encounter with a positive person, you felt upbeat and energetic. Energy tends to rub off – be it positive or negative. If you do not enjoy their company at all, stop socializing with such people. Instead, be with positive people who have a positive attitude and will help you embrace the positive side of life.
Note: The content has been edited and reviewed by Angela Webb, Licensed Psychologist.