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A few weeks ago, I asked in an e-mail what my readers would like to read about in my blog. One of them replied and asked me some advice on how to deal with negative people.
There are a few ways to approach this. Some are – in typical Amie fashion – rather blunt, and others use a much more gentle approach. So without further ado…
1. Deal With Negative People By Telling Them They Are Negative
Confession time, this is one of those things that probably only I will do. Sometimes, people don’t necessarily know they are sucking your positivity. I mean, sometimes, you’re in a really bad mood and you don’t realize you’re being negative. This happens to me!
Unfortunately, I’m not Ms. Super Duper Perky Happy Dance – staying positive is a real struggle for me. #Thestruggleisreal. And sometimes, I need someone to say: “Girl, you’re being way too negative.”
And when someone tells me such things, after I do the usual defensive: “No, I’m not!” I start monitoring my words, and phrases and…. Then I try to make an honest effort to be more positive.
But, if you do this, make sure you’re kind and gentle when doing it. Don’t be a jerk about it because that just gives people more of a reason to be negative. And that’s lame.
2. Deal With Negative People By Changing The Subject
This is one of my favorites. Lately, I have been surrounded by negative people. The problem is that there isn’t a way to bail from them. So, now one of the things I have employed is changing the subject.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Nothing is worse than when you’re talking and someone interrupts you. If you do that you’re adding fuel to the fire. But, I try to gently change the subject by stating something about them that I genuinely like.
My all time favorite tactic is saying, “oh wow, I really love (item) where did you get it?” They will tell me, and then I’ll go on about how amazing it is or how it works, or ask questions about it.
And keep asking questions. This helps you make them focus on something good, and it also gets them talking about themselves. Which most of the time they like. Hooray!
3. Deal With Negative People By Listening To Them To A Point
Sometimes a negative person just needs to be heard. Above, I mentioned that I’ve been going through some really rough times recently. And, I’m the kind of person who won’t burden myself onto other people, so I’ll bottle it up.
And then when the anger comes out – watch out baby, hell hath no fury like me! But, sometimes, if I have someone to listen to me I can verbally work out the negative and get more positive.
Sometimes people just need to talk it out. And it’s totally cool, but sometimes it’s a little hard when it also starts bringing you down.
Sometimes it can be a little difficult to keep your mentality positive, but if they don’t become more positive, at least try turning it into something positive.
4. Deal With Negative People By Avoiding Them Like The Plague
Admittedly, this drives me crazy. No one likes being a mean person, but when things are hitting you hard, it might be easier on your sanity to run.
It’s perfectly okay to not want to be around negative people. As I mentioned above, when I go through a rough patch and negativity starts to hit me, and I’m around negative people it seems to magnify.
As I’ve mentioned before negativity is more contagious than the flu.
And, confession, when that happens to me, I a super-viscous. Yes, I cut to the quick and every intent is to rip someone to shreds. Now, let me be honest, this has only happened twice in my life. The second time it happened, I was so scared by how mean I was to someone very dear to me, I knew I had to change right then and there.
Sometimes, when a friend of mine who has been negative calls me to do something, I will find something else to do. That’s not being mean, it’s just protecting yourself. But, as always, be kind when you do this.
5. Deal With Negative People By Reinforcing Positive Affirmations
Sometimes it is a good thing when you are around a negative person. There are times when a person is so focused on the negative that they don’t see the beauty and love in the world.
By nature, I am not a positive person. It is a struggle for me, and when I’m in my negative mood I have to have someone there to gently redirect me. There have been times where I have had to be the one who gently redirected someone else.
The best way that I’ve found to do it is to ask them questions about their problem, and then lead them into their own realization. One time I had a friend who had just gone through a rough divorce with an emotionally abusive husband, and she was really negative. I listened to her, asked her questions, and then I gently brought up the positive things to her.
Things like how strong she was to go through the divorce, and how amazing she was to stand up for herself. I even told her that she was an inspiration to other women, and to me! Yes, she totally inspired me. Sometimes, people just need to hear affirmation that they are doing the right thing.
Related: 10 Ways to Emotionally Thrive
6. Deal With Negative People By Bailing
Sometimes, you just gotta bail. Unfortunately, this works only if you run into a person, not if you’re hanging out with them.
If you do this option, you have to be very nice about it, because if you’re rude, that’s just one more thing for them to get mad at.
Politely excuse yourself and get away as fast as you can. I know this sounds cruel but you have to protect yourself from getting bogged down from the negativity.
But, what I like to do when I’m in this situation is to say, “I gotta run, but you have a wonderful day!”
And hopefully they will…
Cleaning is always a great excuse!
7. Deal With Negative People By Faking It
Sometimes you’re trapped by a negative person, and there is no escape route. You just can’t get out. The person is so painfully negative and you secretly cringe at the very thought of being stuck with them. You’ve tried all the special techniques I gave you, but they are all failing.
And you secretly want to reach over and smack them upside their head and tell them to stop being so negative. But, you can’t because it’s socially unacceptable, and it could be misconstrued as assault.
That’s when you have to smile and just fake it till you make it. I know, it’s never easy, but it’s something you just have to do. Grin and bear it, and force yourself to be positive.
Don’t let them drag you into the muck with you! Just force yourself to be positive, and even if you start feeling negative… fake it till you make it.
Related: 10 Ways to Spiritually Thrive
8. Deal With Negative People By Finding New Friends
I hate to say this. Sometimes your friends can be a problem when it comes to being positive and living a full life. You know these types of people, the ones who are constantly on your case, the ones who try to rip you down.
You know who I am talking about. The ones who are nice to your face, but then stab you in the back, or the ones who are just negative in general.
And sadly, sometimes you got to take a deep hard look in your spirit and ask yourself, why are you hanging around people who don’t lift you up? Why are you around people who make you feel crazy negative?
The truth is, only you can decide who you hang around with. And you can either hang out with people who are negative or you can hang out with people who are positive.
Further, you have a responsibility to yourself to understand that you deserve to be happy, and if someone isn’t helping you reach your full potential by trying to drag you down… it’s time to say goodbye.
Yes. It’s hard. I’ve had to do it myself, and it’s painful, but I can tell you that you will be so much happier by embracing joy. It is far better to have 2 or 3 friends who you can count on no matter what, rather than have hundreds of friends who will run at the first sign of trouble.
Related: 10 Ways To Be Kind To Yourself
These are just a few thoughts on trying to get out of the way of negative people. Absorbing their energy can be really easy, but I believe in you. I know you can fight it off!