It is so difficult to remain focused on achieving your goals with all the noise around us from family, friends, colleagues and even strangers! Some people are just big balls of darkness who never seem to see the positive side of anything and who are very vocal about the problems they perceive.
Being around a negative person can be very draining. Some want to complain about their lives. Some want to complain about the world. Some want to complain about you. The one thing they all have in common is that the problem is never them. They are clearly superior to us simpletons and are doing us all a service in correcting our behavior.
Even though some may say never put up with a toxic person, especially at work, sometimes it is just not possible. We won’t leave a job because of a negative co-worker. We won’t abandon a family member. We won’t dump a friend. How then do we deal with them if we can’t just cut them out of our lives? Here are a few tips to help you deal with the negative people you can’t avoid without letting them damage your own attitude.
Do Not Engage
If you have had to deal with these people, you probably already know that engaging with them only makes it worse. They are not suddenly going to become sunny happy people because you pointed out they were being too negative. They will double down. Some will even get ridiculous about it.
You can be quiet without being rude. Learn how to make non-committal sounds or remarks that show you are listening but that won’t give them fuel for their fire.
If you can find a neutral topic to change the subject to, do so. Maybe you can ask about a show you know they enjoy or about an upcoming event. But be aware that the change of subject may not work. Or they may just start spewing negativity about the new subject.
Avoidance or Limitation
I assume that if you could cut off contact with the negative person in your life, you would have already. You have a reason you are still interacting with them. You need your job. They are family that you care about or you feel obligated toward. Whatever the reason is, there may be options for avoiding or limiting your contact with them.
If it is someone you work with, do your best to not be around them. If they corner you, let them rant for a bit and them tell them you have to get back to work. You don’t have to be rude. You are at the office to work.
If it is family, then decide the best way to limit your time with them. What may works better is to keep your exposure to them in smaller doses. You will have to decide for yourself based on your situation and your own temperament what will work best for you. If you are not sure, you can experiment. The negative person does not have to know you are experimenting on them. You can make up some excuse for why you are doing things differently. If the old way works better, it is easy enough to go back to it. If the new way makes it easier for you, then just suggest to them that you like this new way of doing things and plan to keep doing it.
Remember Who You Are
Many of these negative people have been that way for so long that they will never change. You have to accept that. Acceptance does not mean you approve. It also does not mean you have to be like them.
It is very important to not allow the negative person to drag you into their negativity. If you can’t change the subject at least don’t feed it. If you can escape into your own mind. They probably won’t notice that you’ve tuned their complaints out. Think about something positive. It can be something good that happened to you or something you enjoy.
Before you have to see the negative person, try to pump yourself full of positive thoughts. Things that make you happy. Maybe blast happy music on the drive there. Whatever works to put you in a good headspace.
After you leave them, repeat the process. If you are too stressed to go straight to happy, try to aim for calm. Listen to relaxing music. Play with your child or pet. Hug your spouse and tell them how much you appreciate them. Fill your inner self with positive feelings until the negative vibes from that person dissipate.
Negative people can be an incredible drain on your well-being. But by planning ahead and learning how to protect yourself, you can limit the damage they do to you. You are in control of your own mental well-being. You don’t have to let negative people drag you down.