Unfortunately, no matter how much positivity, empowerment, and kindness we try to release out into the world, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it or tries to do the opposite just to spite you. Seriously, why?!?
I think it’s important when dealing with negative people to have something they maybe don’t have which is empathy. Put yourself in your co-worker’s shoes, in your toxic friend’s position.
I like to ask myself some questions before anything else – Why is this person the way they are? What makes her spew negativity out into the world like a plague? What is bothering him so bad that he has to make sure everyone around is aware of his bad attitude at all times? What is this person lacking in their life that makes them long for any type of attention they can grab on to?
Maybe that’s just the counselor’s daughter in me, but hopefully you’re following here.
Once I’m able to somewhat justify or at least understand the behavior, it helps me with being able to come to terms with it, brush it off, and move on with my positive vibes.
An important point to make is that there are two types of negative people – those who are very much aware of their cynicism and gloom and have stuck to it so long that they no longer seem to care what happens next – and – those who are completely oblivious to the fact that they bring everyone around them down.
Fortunately, we kind of have to take the same approach to both types of negative people.
So, what’s the most effective way communicate and *tolerate* the Gloom & Doomers. The energy-suckers. The people who leave a nasty taste in your mouth. Ok, now this just sounds like a cheap horror film…
Gloom & Doom and Don’t Give A F*$K
Speaking of horror films – that title would be a good name, right? Um, anyway…
The type of person I’m talking about here doesn’t have to be someone you initially can’t stand or even someone you’re not able to be friends with. This person may be someone you really enjoy being around in small doses or when you’re in a pissed off mood one day and you can both talk about hating the world.
But, the majority of the time this person makes you feel like there’s no hope for decent people anymore. Maybe she is really impatient and embarrassing when you’re around other people. Maybe she constantly talks over others and thinks her words are the most important in any conversation.
Looking from the outside and trying to put yourself in this person’s shoes – this is someone who deep down is completely miserable, self-conscious, and constantly doubts herself. No one deserves to live like this – but it’s completely up to the individual to change. We have no control over it as friends, family members, co-workers, outsiders.
What we can control is how much of our time we allow this person to take up. Let’s say this is a co-worker you’re dealing with. Try limiting your interactions with this person. I know it’s hard and super awkward at first, but just stick with it and see if it helps.
Remember your sanity is more precious than anything – don’t allow anyone to take that away from you!
Chances are, this person doesn’t really care that they’re bringing other people down. It makes her feel good to drag someone down to her level. But, how do we avoid getting sucked in?
Turning negative comments into positive ones
If someone says something cynical or rude about another person, say something that’s the opposite. You should be able to do it in a way that doesn’t put anyone down, but gets your point across that you don’t want to be involved in this negative conversation.
Having a conversation about it
Personally, this is the hardest one for me because I never like to make anyone feel alienated or bad about themselves. However, this is the best way to get your point across and disengage from any negative conversations.
Simply telling your friend that she makes you feel uncomfortable when she talks like this can really help. Chances are, she will make a snarky remark about it, but at the end of the day, maybe you helped her see things in a different light.
Ignoring the negativity
Another way that can be an effective strategy to handle negative people is to simply ignore them. Of course, this is easier said than done because pessimism is contagious.
Try putting in your headphones, staying busy, taking on other projects, or talking to other people to subtly get your point across.
I’ve had to do this with friends in the past – just completely leave the friendship. It’s a hard conversation to have and a tough decision to make. I’d suggest talking to the positive influences in your life, people who really know you. See what they have to say and then make your decision.
It can be hard losing friends, but it’s even harder to deal with a negative person who’s sucking the life out of you.
I’ll wrap up this post by saying I believe everyone deserves a few chances to change. I’ve seen people completely change their mindset, outlook, and overall quality of life. I’ve also seen people promise to change and never actually do it.
It’s up to you to make sure you are taking care of the most important thing – your mind, your sanity. All you have is your health, and mental health should always be of utmost importance in everything you do.
Have you ever had to disengage from a toxic relationship or remove yourself from a negative group of people to better yourself? Leave a comment or send me a message on Instagram @selflovescript. I’d love to hear your stories!