How to Deal with Negative People
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
We all know that one person; that one Negative Nelly in our social network. Chances are, you’ve met more than one negative person in your life, and really, how does it feel after talking to them? Or rather, listening to their complaints, insults and general negativity?
Exhausting, isn’t it?
While it is all too tempting to simply cut ties with the person, sometimes things aren’t that simple. What if they’re family or a friend? Or perhaps they’re a generally positive person who is just going through a rough patch? There are many factors to consider, so before you decide to cut them out of your life, take a breather.
And remember that sometimes, these people are negative because they’re in pain.
Try to understand them
More often than not, negative people are the way they are because of their experiences. Perhaps they had an unhappy upbringing, a terrible breakup or even an awful job. While it doesn’t excuse them from their behaviour, especially if what they’re doing is hurting those around them, it certainly makes it easier to deal with them.
You’d understand better too, what it is they need in order to feel better about themselves.
Empathise with them
Have you ever felt irritated when someone told you to “Relax” just when you were about to release a bit of pent up frustration? More often than not, dismissing what a person is feeling might serve to annoy or upset them even further. We’re all human, after all, and there’ll always be times when we need someone to listen to us. That mere act of listening and being there for people can be a healing balm for many.
So the next time that certain someone needs to get something off their chest, it might be beneficial to ask, “What’s wrong?” Just remember not to get sucked into the negativity yourself.
Look for something positive
Instead of focusing on the bad traits the person has, focus on the good. If that’s too difficult for you to pick out, sit down and think about it for a moment. Does that person go above and beyond at work? Are they kind towards those they feel are going through the same struggle they are? Are they good with children? Just about everyone has something good about them; it’s up to us to recognise it.
Really, it’s easy to harbour resentment towards someone when all you can think of is everything that’s bad about them.
Lend a helping hand
Understand that their flow of negativity could be a cry for help. Some people might not realise that they’re in need of it, and that they’re expressing it in what could be seen as off-putting ways. This is especially true if negativity is something that they’re constantly surrounded with on a daily basis.
So it is here that you have to be the bigger person by extending a helping hand.
No matter what they say or do, there is one Golden Rule to bear in mind if you wish to take the kind, big-hearted, mature way of dealing with these Energy Vampires:
It is not easy, but rather than lashing out or lecturing them (both of which would likely not end well), the most effective way to cultivate change is by leading by example. It especially helps to remember that while misery loves company, people are even more so drawn to those who exude positive energy? Who doesn’t love being around someone who makes them feel good about themselves? That said, changes, if any, will be glacial. Patience is key here.
Know your limits
Despite your best intentions, remember your limits. If the person’s negativity is starting to get to you, it is advisable to take a deep breath and if you need to, walk away. It wouldn’t do for you to lose your temper or start adopting their negativity yourself. That would defeat the purpose of effectively dealing with a Negative Nelly.
So know your limits, and don’t spread yourself thin in your mission to help another human being. It’s important to love yourself too.
Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini