You wake up one morning feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. The sun is shining bright, and the birds are mingling in the trees. You intuitively know that something great is going to happen today and you are feeling fantastic!
Everything goes well, just like you knew it would. The kids are doing exactly as they should without being told. Traffic is not as crazy as it usually is. Your boss just gave you a compliment on a job well done. What a wonderful day it is!
Until negative Nancy shows up. *scratch record*
Oh lawd! Is it too late for me to walk the other direction?
But even before you can do an about-face, negative Nancy is already telling you why that compliment from your boss wasn’t genuine and how you should have been promoted months ago. She then goes on a tangent about how the half hour lunch breaks should be longer and she hates how Tammy stinks up the break room with her reheated curry.
People who see nothing but negative in everything and are constantly fixated on negativity are what I like to call a perpetual pessimist.
I remember right before I was to get married, a well-meaning cousin of mine tried to talk me out of it. It wasn’t because of what she knew about my fiance, but rather all of the negative things she’d gone through (and was still dealing with) with her husband. She didn’t personally know my soon-to-be hubby at all. It was very strange to me that she would advise me against marriage based off of her husband’s actions and choices.
We all know someone who is a negative Nancy. Here are some tips for dealing with negative people.
1. Shift focus
Unless it’s something serious, don’t become too engrossed in the conversation they are trying to have with you. Just give a simple response, such as, “I’m sorry that happened to you.” Then change the focus of the conversation.
2. Stay positive
Although negative people have a way draining you of your positive energy, try to keep your positive vibes flowing. One way you can do that is by looking on the bright side.
For instance, if they’re complaining because their car tire had a blowout and they were late getting somewhere important, you could say to yourself..
…that’s really unfortunate. I’m really glad s/he didn’t get in a wreck.
Your gratefulness for their well-being will help keep you from being sucked into their negativity.
3. Take responsibility
Negative people rarely take responsibility for their own actions. Every negative consequence in their life is someone else’s doing. It’s as if they do not see how they contribute to their own undoing.
If you model this behavior for someone who struggles with this, it just may help him/her learn how to do so as well. After all, being able to say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” is an admirable trait for anyone to have.
4. Don’t vent
We all have our moments where we need to get our own negatively out and off of our chests. (This is in no way the same as being a negative person). When you feel the need to vent, don’t unload your negativity onto the negative person. They will only give it right back to you. You’ll end up with regurgitated negativity. *yuck*
If you’ve had a bad day or experience and want to talk to someone about it, save it for someone close to you who has a clear head and good perspective on things. They will give you better advice, or just an ear to listen, if that’s what you need.
5. Limit interaction
Personally, I believe in the law of attraction which basically means “like attracts like.” So if you’re always in company of someone who has a negative viewpoint then eventually you’re going to start adopting a similar viewpoint as well. You’re going to find yourself thinking more negatively because that’s what you’ve become accustomed to. Your best bet is to limit interaction with consistently negative people before you get zapped in and become one of them.
How do you react to negative people?