You know who they are. It doesn’t matter where you live, work, or how much you try to surround yourself with positivity, they always seem to crop up like weeds. They are the people that seem to always find a way to be miserable about life- and to bring everyone around them down too. Here are some ways to hang onto your happiness when dealing with negative people, and maybe help them find some positivity as well.
Learn to Recognize Them
The problem most of us have is that negative people tend to creep up on you, and you don’t realize how they are draining you until it’s way too late. You’ve already been sucked into the vicious cycle of their own self-deprecation and before you know it, you’re feeling pretty bad about things. It’s important to learn how to spot the signs of negative people, and to find a way to be compassionate about their troubles, without allowing their troubles to become yours. Once you realize that someone is a downer, you can be prepared to handle the negativity in a healthy way each time you see them.
Realize that Their Negativity is About Them - Not You
Toxic and negative people can be frustrating and can do significant damage to your own sense of self if you let them. Once you’ve recognized that someone is a bundle of negative energy, you need to remind yourself that their damaging thoughts, statements, and behaviors reflect their own internal turmoil, and that they have nothing to do with you.
Don’t Engage Their Negativity
If you find yourself dealing with a negative person regularly, find ways to detach yourself from their misery. If they complain, don’t commiserate or agree with them. If they tell you that traffic was terrible on the way to work, counter with how when that happens, you take the time to finish to a program on the radio. If they are complaining about the choice of lunch in the cafeteria, point out that on days like that you take advantage of the salad bar. You don’t need to be unkind, but you don’t need to affirm their negativity for them. Instead, try to find the “bright side” and stick to it.
Share Your Joy With Them
One of the saddest things about negative people is that they are often people you love and care about. When they call you to complain that they’ve had yet another terrible thing happen to them, try to bring them some joy. Invite them to drop everything and meet you for coffee and some down-time. When they are really stressed out, sometimes negative people can’t see the opportunities for joy in their own lives- so you bring them to it.
Remember to focus on yourself. Their negativity shouldn’t dictate how you are feeling. Take the time you need to refresh and regroup; it can be a night in with a good book, or a morning of lounging around in your pajama’s cuddling with your dog and eating donuts. Whatever it is, do something that brings you comfort and joy, and remove yourself from the negativity. This can be especially difficult if you are dealing with a close family member or friend; you need to get away from them to refill your own cup before you have anything to share with them.
Learn to Let Go
Sometimes in life, we find that the negative people in our lives are on a downward spiral, and they are determined to take everyone down with them. If you find yourself sucked up in someone else’s drama, it’s okay to walk away- especially if you realize it’s taking a toll on your own well-being. There is no shame in recognizing that there is nothing more you can do for someone, and saying goodbye.
Rachel is a passionate blogger and a mother. She works for NYBizDb - an online resource of relevant business information.