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How to Deal with Negative People

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We all have moments when we see the glass half empty rather than half full, but if we continually surround ourselves with half empties, we inevitably start feeling…well…empty.  In pure mathematical terms, 1/2 empty + 1/2 empty = 1 empty.  Now, if you have a lot of 1/2 empties in your life…you inevitably end up with an infinite empty glass.  But, I digress.

We all have been around negative people at least once in life. And their mental attitude can bring us down and drain our energy. Whether a child, a spouse or a co-worker is fraught with negativity, we are most benefited by being positive. When we are surrounded by these individuals, however, it can be especially challenging. As a result, use some of these tips in dealing with the negativity that effects you:

  1. Don’t Argue: Negative people do not respond positively to arguing. Instead of seeing your point, arguing will only reinforce an already bad mental attitude.  They tend to see a positive person’s arguing as lack of validation and will only become more defensive.
  2. Ask for Specific Examples: Generalities are commonplace among negative people. One instance of negativity can often escalate into a whole host of negativity. This mental attitude is often distorted and paints a much worse picture than the reality. Asking them for specific examples, however, forces them to really think about what they are saying. It will help them to either see that they are being too harsh or unrealistic…or will help them to get to the real heart of the matter of what is causing their negativity.
  3. Point out the Positive: As corny as this may seem, I’m a believer in the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” Finding the silver lining to the dark clouds and being positive around negative people can potentially “rub off” on them. Don’t overdo it, however, as they can find too much positivity insincere and more frustrating or annoying than good. Try to shed positive light with a balanced approach…understand and validate their feelings and perspectives, but point out the sunny side of the situation.
  4. Counteract with Warmth: As difficult as it may seem, try to tackle negative people with a loving and open heart. These individuals are often unhappy, lonely and in desperate need of attention. Showing them some kindness and warmth may go a long way to change their mental attitude and potentially encourage them to be more positive. Try to actively listen to the individual and ask how you might help. Just a genuine, empathetic ear might go a long way.
  5. Get Physical: What I mean here is that it might pay to show some affection towards negative people. A touch of the hand or a hug can break down negativity even faster than words. Many individuals who are fraught with negativity feel unloved and as a result, crave affection.
  6. Avoid the Negativity: If worst comes to worse and the above tips don’t work, try to spend less time with the negative people who just don’t get it. Although we can’t remove some people from our lives all together, chronic negativity can be extremely debilitating and take a toll on your own mental attitude and well being. Being positive takes work and the more you can spend time with individuals who emote positivity, the better off you’ll be. You might want to encourage those who are close to you to seek help or professional counseling. However, for your own sanity, maintain strong boundaries with those individuals so you can maintain a healthy mental attitude.

How do you deal with negative people? Do you ever try to help their mental attitude?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Mind-Body Tagged with: , ,