“Negativity is cannibalistic. The more you feed it, the bigger and stronger it grows.”
― Bobby Darnell
We’ve all experienced being in the same room with an energy vampire. You know, that person who couldn’t do anything else but complain for just about everything from the early morning traffic to the food that is being served in the cafeteria. They just won’t shut up don’t they? It’s not really much of a big deal if he or she just kept it to themselves but when they start affecting the people around them, that’s when the problem starts.
Listening to these people rant about how life has been unfair to them can become draining and if we’re not careful enough, the negativity they possess can slowly creep into our system and before you know it, you’ve already become one of Dracula’s brides.
I used to have this office mate who was so negative. The worse thing about it is that he wouldn’t shut up. He always had something bad to say about every aspect of work from our boss, to our co-workers, and even our processes and he would do this while everyone is busy focusing on their tasks. I always wondered if there was a bit of positivity left in him or if he was just that way and that he was just being himself.
How do we deal with negative people? How do we handle their endless monologues about the tragedies they’ve gone through? Here are 6 tips you can take note of the next time you come face-to-face with one:
1. Don’t fuel their negativity
Unless you have the stomach to endure half an hour of mindless rants and self-pity marathon, do not make the mistake of agreeing to the points they make or adding to the topics they talk about. Negative people love to dwell on their negativity and the more you engage them by agreeing to what they say, the more you will encourage them to continue with the negative talk.
2. Avoid being left alone with them
If you can avoid being alone with them by including everybody in the discussion, do so. They are less likely to “pour their hearts out” with a diverse group of individuals included in the conversation than when they are going one-on-one with someone. Having several people around will help divide the negativity to everyone in the group instead of you absorbing all of it.
3. Make them see the other side of the coin
Negative people will find fault in anything that they are critical with and taking their side will just add fuel to the fire. Instead of agreeing with them, try to make them see the other side of the coin by offering them scenarios that would object to what they say but in a subtle way.
For example, if your colleague is critical about someone from the other department because that person snubbed her when they ran into each other in the pantry, try to appease this co-worker by giving her possible reasons why the other person snubbed her.
“Maybe she’s having a bad day and was not in the mood…”
“Maybe she didn’t notice you because she was on a rush…”
Enumerating possible scenarios would help lessen the negativity they’re having inside of them and present a whole new perspective to their one-sidedness.
4. Change the topic
When negative people get their rhythm, it would be difficult to stop them just like when Michael Jordan used to play basketball. One of the things you can do to somehow slow them down is by changing the topic and while you’re at it, change it to one that’s lighter and totally far from the current topic. Get their minds off the negativity by injecting topics that you share a common interest for like your favorite TV show, basketball, video games, etc.
5. Spend less time with them
The danger of being with a negative person all the time is that there is a great possibility of becoming one yourself. Negativity is like a contagious disease that if you are not careful enough, you will contract.
You can’t expect to live a positive life by hanging with negative people
– Joel Osteen
6. Be a positive influence
People become negative because of a number of reasons. They may feel less appreciated or misunderstood but most of the time, they are just trying to vent out all their frustrations. The best way you can help them is by becoming a positive influence in their lives. Be that person who will inject positivity in them. Try to go deeper into the problem and go out of your way to understand where they are coming from.
Negative people are not bad people. They just lack guidance and when they finally meet that person who will understand them and help them realize what they are going through, you’ll be surprised to see that they are capable of change.
You don’t have to endure another person’s negativity by just standing there and listening. You actually have the power to turn things around for them by inserting positivity into their lives little-by-little.
How do you handle a negative person? What have you done to help them change?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below anytime.
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