Negative thinking people can be difficult to get along with. They are not happy unless they are telling you all the things that could go wrong, and no matter how hard you work, they find something to complain about.
Some say the negativity is contagious and it’s draining to stay around them. Others say that negative thinking people are just “gloomy gus” who need a good dose of reality to see their own silliness.
You can recognize them by the way that they always put a negative spin on everything, or they make you feel drained after being with them. It is very important that you know how to handle these kinds of situations and people.
Here are 8 ways to stay positive when you have to be around negative thinking people:
1. Do not bring up “hot” topics –
If you know that certain topics trigger negativity, avoid these topics. For example, your friend may be highly critical of her ex-spouse. Avoid bringing up this topic altogether, whenever possible. Instead, discuss topics that you know are mostly safe, such as her children’s extracurricular activities or her most recent shopping adventure or her favorite vacation destinations – things that make her happy.
2. Use redirection –
When a topic comes up that is quickly headed into negativity, use redirection. Change the subject discreetly. For example, you may notice a photo on the wall about which you can ask questions. When there is a slight pause in the conversation (if you are able to get a word in edgewise), you can say something like this, “I have to ask you this before I forget….but when was that photo taken?”
3. Be a listener –
Sometimes, negative people just need to blow off steam by venting their frustrations out loud. It is okay to listen, as long as you do not partake in gossip, or negative comments that will ultimately leave you feeling more negative as well.
Key to being a listener is that you should not feel like you have to fix all of their problems. That is not your role. Simply listen quietly, but without judgement.
4. Avoid rewarding negativity –
The way you reward negativity is by getting caught up in the negative drama. This encourages further interaction with you about the situation, further dragging you in. It is so easy to get dragged in.
Instead, when faced with negativity from someone, it is better if you respond with a simple “That does sound frustrating. I hope it gets solved soon,” instead of saying this, “Oh, that would have made me so mad too. Some people are just so dumb! So what are you going to do to get back at him?” Do you see the difference? How you respond can make a world of difference.
5. Reward positive thinking –
When someone is positive about a situation, reward that person by engaging him further in discussion or spending more time with him. If the conversation turns negative, you may even want to say, “I’m not going there. I like talking about positive things.” Another thing you can say is, “Well, that’s my cue to leave.” Of course, you may not be able to say this to everyone, especially if its family that you have to see often. However, with people you don’t know well, there is nothing wrong with telling them this.
6. Try to find the good in every person –
There is something good about almost every person. When you find out what it is, it makes it easier to tolerate the bad with the good. For example, you may know someone who continually complains about her work, but is the first person you can rely on when you need someone to lend a listening ear. By seeing the good things in people, the negative qualities are less noticeable.
7. Do not argue –
It is impossible to win an argument with someone who is negative, opinionated, and has one viewpoint. I’m sure that you may know many people that are like this (I certainly do). Instead, it is better to keep quiet. This does not mean that your viewpoint is less important. It just means that you know better than to waste your time and energy arguing a point that will go nowhere.
8. Limit your time –
You are responsible for your own thoughts and happiness. Protect yourself by limiting the time you spend in the presence of a negative person. If you know the person well, you may want to tell him why you are doing this. They may not agree but your sanity is more important.