No matter who you are or what you do – at some point you’re likely to run into someone who makes it their life’s work to be negative! It may be someone in your professional or social circle, perhaps someone who is critical, depressing or just has a dark outlook about life in general or a specific topic, like a project you’re working on.How do you handle people like that?
Step 1. Ask Yourself: Do You Want Them in Your Life At All?
Sometimes, you’ll meet people who are just chronically negative. They can’t see the many brilliant possibilities out there in the world. They’ll shoot down any project or idea you bring up. You feel drained when you’re around them.
They may seem like “energy vampires” who suck all the enthusiasm and energy out of you.
When you meet people like that, you need to ask yourself if you want them in your life at all? Often the best thing to do with negative people in your life is to just cut them out entirely. It might be inconvenient if they’re in your social or professional circle, but sometimes that’s just what you need to do.
Step 2. Dealing With Negative People You Have To Keep in Your Life
Even though it might be the best resolution for you , it’s not always realistic to cut out every single negative person in your life. Your boss, your co-workers, your spouse’s family, have to be accepted as a part of your life, whether you like it or not. Sometimes it’s your choice, sometimes it’s not.
But, you do have a choice about how you handle the negative people who stay in your life.
One method is to try to be more positive than they are negative. Just as negativity is contagious, so is positivity. Instead of being infected by their negativity, why not try to infect them with your positivity?
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Accept them the way they are. Learn to not take anything they say personally. Remember, it’s not really about you at all. It’s just how they are. If they criticize something about you or what you’re doing, just remember that it’s not about you, but about them.
Accept that you can’t change them, only they can do that. Whenever they’re being negative, just smile. Be friendly in return. If you respond to negativity with negativity, that can quickly spiral into more negativity. Negative people can actually be very easy to get along with if you’re friendly with them.
Step 3. Look For What’s Positive in Their Negativity!
Okay, that may seem like a contradiction in terms, but often people are negative because they are trying to protect themselves or you.
Sometimes, people are being negative about something because they love you or want to protect you from harm. Suppose you want to quit your job to start your own business but you have no business experience at all. Your friend might try to dissuade you by pointing out all the reasons why you shouldn’t go into business.
You might interpret that as negativity, whereas they may say they are being realistic. It’s important to identify exactly why they’re being negative. In this case, this person might not be a negative person in general, they’re just negative about a specific topic – because they care about you. (Most likely that’s a friend you’ll still want to keep around.)
People who are perceived as being negative might just be good “problem finders”, that is they can see potential problems before they arise. That can be really useful and help you to become a good “problem solver”.
If you can bear in mind that behind every behaviour or communication there is a positive intention, all you need to do is find it.