Dealing With Negative People

Negative people are annoying.

No matter how upbeat you feel, a negative person can bring you down before you know what hit you. Dealing with negative people is part of life; there is no way to avoid them. But unless you have a strategy for dealing with their negativity, they will drain your energy and cloud your own thinking and productivity.

Recognizing negativity is the first step in dealing with it. It is possible to be frequently in the presence of and impacted by negative people, but not even realize it. In these situations, you get sucked into their patterns of thinking and reacting and become negative-minded yourself. Only when you become aware of what is happening can you begin to work to resist it.

Once you identify a negative person, you will need to prepare yourself before you come in contact with him/her. Be ready for the negativity by expecting it. This way, it will not catch you off guard and draw you in.

When the negativity starts, do not participate. Recognize it for what it is and disengage. You might even need to practice a little self-talk such as, “I look at the situation differently than this person. Yes, he/she is right that we could have done a better job on that project, but everything turned out okay in the end, and I am looking forward to getting started on the next one. We have learned a lot and this time it is going to be great!”

What you do with your self-talk session is insulate yourself from the jaundiced perspective of the negative person and focus on a positive spin on the situation.

In addition, you can begin to change the rules regarding how you allow this person to interact with you. This may require some potentially uncomfortable conversations, but ideally, he will eventually catch on and restrain from sharing his/her negativity with you.

For example, you can simply express your self-talk out loud, providing a verbal counter to the negative comments. Alternatively, you can be completely honest and say, “Your negative outlook is affecting me and dragging me down. Will you please try to look on the brighter side for once?”

Finally, if it is possible, reduce the amount of time you spend with negative people. This may be difficult, especially if the person is a friend that you typically spend time with. But if you are not able to help this person, and if being in his presence is negatively affecting your life and productivity, you may need to sever ties or at the very least, decrease your exposure.

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Daryl Daughtry /