Dealing with negativity can be challenging for anyone, but if you are a gentle, kind-hearted person, it can be even harder to cope with unhappiness and negativity. However, we all have to deal with difficult situations and excessive pessimism from time to time, so we’re going to cover some tips on how to deal with negative people.
Negativity is highly contagious, so you need to make a conscious effort to separate your mental space from theirs, and sometimes to separate from them physically as well. You also need to practice positivity in your internal dialogue. Sometimes, you may be able to convey positivity to them, and sometimes you may need to step back for your own sake.
Tip One: Practice Positive Dialogue
What we say, both mentally and aloud, can have a massive impact on how we think about things. You are probably already aware to some degree of how our filters change the way we see the world, but you may not realize how much control you have over those filters simply by changing the words you choose.
Constant negativity from another person will have an impact on your sense of the positive vs the negative, tipping the balance down. You can counteract that with positive dialogue, either in your own head, or aloud to the room.
When you hear the negativity, try – if appropriate for the situation – to inject a positive outlook. Obviously, there will be times when you can’t do this or it won’t work, but if you keep gently encouraging the negative person to look for some silver linings, they may start to shift their perspective over time.
Tip Two: Define Boundaries
You are not obliged to put up with negativity at all times. Recognize your own mental state and when you need a break. If you have not got the energy to deal with somebody, distance yourself – physically if necessary.
Step back from them and take some time to bring your own mood up before you feel that you need to interact with them again. Do not feel you have to be there every minute of every day, no matter how much you love the negative person. Your needs matter too, and you cannot help them if you are struggling yourself.
Tip Three: Respond Calmly
If someone around you feeds off drama and unhappiness, they are often seeking a major reaction when they start to talk about things negatively. You should avoid giving a strong emotional response to them, as this can further the issue.
That doesn’t mean you have to cut them off or refuse to engage, but that you should offer measured, gentle reactions. Instead of being shocked, outraged, or devastated along with them, try gentle sympathy, and remind them that the situation will pass with time.
Often, a calm response can help a negative person to put things into perspective and calm down themselves.
Tip Four: Find A New Angle
When dealing with someone permanently stuck in a negative world, it’s not always easy to get them to adjust their focus, but sometimes, this can help. Encourage them to think about something different, something that they are looking forward to.
It is usually best to do this after allowing them to blow off a little steam. Once they have talked about how upset they are for a while, try and get them to appreciate some small thing, like the sunshine or the fact that the weekend is approaching.
This can help them come out of the “negative space” they have entered and think about other things.
Tip Five: Don’t Blame Them
Handling someone who is permanently negative and seems to bring problems on themselves can be extremely frustrating, but telling them it’s their own fault is rarely productive. Usually, they will just get more upset, and you may lose a friendship.
Be empathetic, within the boundaries you have set. If you have the energy, allow them to talk about the problem, and then encourage them to adjust their perspective, or help them look for practical solutions. Both of these things can help to get their mind off the negative and onto something more productive.
Dealing with negative people can be draining and can make us feel negative, so look after your own needs, as well as the needs of your friend. Establish clear boundaries and do not allow them to be compromised. From a safe place, you can then try and help your friend to find a more positive outlook on life, which will be better for both of you.