People come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Some are relaxed, positive and just easy to get along with, while others can be whiney, negative, and downright stressful to deal with, even on their best days. These are people who can dampen the sunniest of days with their baggage of negativity. Sticking with them only means some of this negative energy will rub off on you too and affect your sense of self-image. Now, it may not be possible to cut these people out from your life completely but you can definitely develop defense mechanisms to make sure their negativity doesn’t interfere with your persona. Here are 10 simple yet effective practical tips to deal with negative people and taxing relationships:
- Set boundaries: A classic sign of a negative person is that they love to complain. A LOT. Work, family, friends, and colleagues – they find something to nitpick about every situation in life. No situation or person is ever good enough for them and they expect you to not only lend a patient ear but also sympathize with them. Setting boundaries are essential to not let unwarranted stress get to you. Telling them to look at the bright side of things is a lost cause but you could try asking them what they are doing to make the situation better. Realizing that there is no ‘oh, you poor thing’ kind of sympathy stamp coming from you, they might just learn quit complaining to you.
- Don’t Get Down To Their Level: You know what they say about never wrestling with a pig – you’ll both get dirty and the pig likes it. So when a negative person tries to complain about how awful/difficult/challenging their situation is, don’t even attempt to prove to them how you are worse off and still not complaining. Rise above and resist the temptation.
- Refrain From Emotional Outburst: Yes, deep down you have been itching to tell them to get a life and stop whining ALL THE TIME. But remember your emotional outburst or irrational handling of the situation will only give a negative person more fodder to play the victim, while you get painted as the bad guy in the bargain. Don’t let them provoke you.
- Don’t Let Them Bog You Down: Like we said before, a negative person has just mastered the art of finding negatives in the happiest of situations. So, if you are celebrating an important milestone in life, don’t let a negative person ruin it for you. For instance, if you got a promotion at work, you might hear them say that the salary hike that came with it isn’t good enough. If you are expecting a baby, they’d mince no words in telling you how being a parent is a mighty tough job and your days of happiness are behind you. Stay focused on the way you originally felt about the situation and don’t attach too much significance to their opinions.
- Work Out a Solution From Your End: If your relationship with a negative person is beginning to impact your own peace of mind, it may be time to take some concrete actions. Talking it out may not be an option in this case. So, your best bet is to work out a solution single-handedly. Try to phase the relationship out or try to distance yourself from such people gradually.
- Work of Stress Management: If such a negative person is an indispensable part of your life, like say a partner, spouse, parent or sibling, cutting them out may not be an option. In such a situation, focusing on your own mental and emotional well-being becomes all the more imperative. Try to practice effective stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, or counseling.
- Remember You Are No One To Judge: Yes, it can be a tad difficult to be compassionate toward a person who is persistently negative. The slightest of whining tendencies can send you on an eye-rolling, ‘oh, there he/she goes again’ trip. Sometimes, circumstances play a crucial role in turning people into negative beings, and it reflects poorly on you to judge them for their actions without understanding where they are coming from. Whenever their negativity seems to get the better of you, remind yourself: to each their own.
- Help If You Can: Your unpleasant reactions will only aggravate a person’s negative behavior. Instead of using the slightest of provocation from their end to blow off some steam, see if there is any way for you to help them out of this miserable outlook toward life. Talk positively about them, appreciate the good in them, and try to get to the root of what led them to cultivate this sense of negativity as a defense mechanism. You may not make big progress in a day but if the person in question is someone you really care about, it may well be worth taking things one day at a time.
- Take It As a Learning Experience: Offering to help and being positive around a negative person speaks volumes about the strength of your character. It may be a trying time while it lasts but it’ll make you a better person, so try to look at it as a learning experience.
- Take Some Time Off: Being around negative people can be immensely overwhelming. In order to put into practice all of the above-mentioned tips, you need to be in the right head space, so don’t hesitate in taking some time off to calm down your mind and channelize your energies in the right direction.
Getting along or thriving in the company of negative people isn’t easy, to say the least. But it isn’t entirely impossible either. You just need to appreciate your sense of individuality and know that your worth is not determined by others’ opinion of you, to able to ward off the stress and anxiety brought on by such negativity.
…is an Author, columnist, blogger, inspirer, digital strategic consultant and keeps on exploring new avenues which come her way. Passionate to write on life-related topics and found her love at – storyofsouls.com