It’s tough to deal with negative people. Unfortunately, negativity is something we deal with on a daily basis.
I had to go back to work today after a full two week break. It has sure been nice to be able to pick and choose who I hang around lately.
Don’t get me wrong. My job fulfills me, and I like my co-workers. However, just as with most anywhere, there always seems to be those one or two people who see the glass half empty all the time.
That’s tough to be around on a consistent basis. In fact, these negative people suck the life out of me. I’ll try to stay positive, but so often their negativity drains me. Oh sure. At home sometimes, we call my husband Debbie Downer, and I can certainly have my grumpy moments. I don’t understand, though, how some people focus on the negative in most every situation. Why does that happen? Enough has happened to me in my lifetime that I do get the fact that we can’t always internally control our initial reactions. For the most part, however, I’d think a person could choose to control their external responses. Unfortunately, these everyday grumpers don’t realize how or don’t choose to exhibit that control.
One giant lesson I’ve learned is that I can’t control others. Negative, positive, neutral. How they act is never up to me. I can only control my actions and reactions – my responses to situations. And because I tend to get wrapped up in their negative energy, I had to find ways to protect myself and refuse to allow others’ energy to bring me down.
Here’s How I Deal with Negative People:
1. Avoid them.
Simple, right? Well, not always, but it can be. When at all possible, stay away from those bringing you down. I used to eat lunch with a group of ladies who griped and complained and gossiped every day. Yes, we’re adults, but sometimes you wouldn’t think so. By the end of lunch, I’d be so stressed out. Meek little me kept going there to eat, though, because it was ‘the’ place to eat lunch. Besides, I knew if I didn’t go, I’d end up being the topic of conversation.
I finally gave myself permission to not be a part of that crowd. If they talked about me, that was on them. Not me. I hadn’t done anything wrong.
2. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries
Never feel you have to sit and listen to a negative person. You are in charge of yourself, and unless you’re in the middle of an important meeting that you absolutely can’t leave, go ahead and find a different place to be or a different person to be with.. Speak up if you can, but if you can’t just find a reason to gently excuse yourself.
3. Try to hang out in groups of people.
The more you have around you, the less likely it is a person will speak out negatively. Unless, of course, they have an audience and others who participate with them. If that’s the case, find a different group. Otherwise, just stay with several who tend to look on the bright side more often than not.
4. Have a support system.
This kind of goes along with #3. Basically, there’s safety in numbers, and if you find a positive group of people to associate with, the negative tends to get squeezed out. I don’t mean squeeze the person out. I merely mean their negativity tends to not be as bad.
A support system also can be important after the fact. If you do feel down from being around such negativity, it can help to share how you’re feeling with someone else who understands, not as a gripe session, too, which would just keep your energy down, but as a way to let go of the negativity and receive a little support.
5. Don’t take it personally.
Most negative people don’t realize they’re even being negative. They don’t typically mean any harm. They’re just caught up in themselves and their own world. Instead of taking offense at what say, instead realize they’re expressing their point of view and most likely don’t recognize they’re being anything but positive.
6. Don’t engage in the negativity.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of going along just to be agreeable. We don’t want to offend or hurt feelings and so we (meaning me, really) can sometimes find ourselves spouting off negativity right along side them. Even when we refrain from commenting, we stand there and nod and that’s really just as bad if we don’t follow up with anything positive. Make sure you don’t get sucked in to participating in the negativity.
7. Choose lighter topics.
You can even say, “Now, let’s talk about something positive. Sometimes, they’ll get the hint. They should, at least, over time understand that you are not going to give them audience.
8. Focus on your own energy.
I like to imagine Jesus Christ coming down and surrounding me in peace and love. This not only makes me feel better, but it reminds me of what’s truly important. Negativity belongs to this earthly world and not to the spiritual. Focus on yourself, repeat prayer and scripture within, or imagine Christ’s Light surrounding you as I do, and work on keeping your own energy positive.
9. Choose your battles.
If you’ve ever tried to convince a negative person to view something a different way, you’ll know it’s like pulling teeth. Nothing we say in debate with them will change their minds. Instead, we can only model peace and positivity and remind them gently by example. Remember not to argue or debate. It’s not a battle worth fighting.
10. Let them go.
There may come a time when none of these strategies work. When all else fails, you may just have to let the person go. Let the negativity they convey go. It’s not representative of you, and you need to look after your own energy first in order to live the best life for you. It’s only then that you can continue to share that positive light with the world.
We encounter negative people most everywhere. Arm yourself with these strategies and keep your light strong, positive, and loving.
Here are some scriptures to commit to memory in order to help you keep your peace within when you have to deal with negative people:
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
1 Corinthians 1:4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.
Seriously, memorize these. Call on them when you need them. You’ll be glad you did!