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How to Help Negative People

Updated on May 11, 2016

If you have been unfortunate enough to have come across or, worse, live with a negative person, you'd know how tough it can be. Honestly, I haven't come across anything more frustrating or irritating than have to deal with a negative individual. A negative person just drains out the positivity from you, over time, and creates an overall sense of doom and despair. The negative person in question may often be someone very close to you, a family member, your spouse, a close friend. As a consequence, you just cannot run away from them, you have no choice but to deal with them. So, how can you deal with a negative person? Well, to start, you need to know how to identify a negative person? This should be pretty easy.

A negative person would, for example, use phrases like, "Why does this always happen to me?" or "I am the most unluckiest person in the world," "I am just not worth it," "I just have nothing to live for," etc. A notable characteristic of negative people is the chronicity of their negativity, i.e. they just don't have a bad day, in terms of the negativity, and get over it. For them, the negativity is a constant companion, something which they can't seem to do without!! These are the kind of people who view the glass as always half empty instead of half full. They don't see the positives of a given situation, they just hang on to the negatives!! They also like to relive and replay past failures, disappointments, regrets, etc. So, how can you deal with and help out people like these? Here are a few ways how?


Steps Towards Dealing With / Helping Out A Negative Person

Hear Them Out:

Now, this might not seem like the best thing to do on the face of it, but remember that many of these people can be close to you, could be your close friends, relatives or your spouse - so you just can't walk away from them, doing so would be rude and would definitely dent your relationship with them. So, hear them out, patiently!! You need to have patience yourself for this, as it could be a long and boring story. So, brace yourself for this! Of course, if you don't know the person that well, you might as well look for a way to get out of having to hear them!!

Show Them The Positive Side:

Once you've heard them out, point out to them the positive aspects of the situation that has so distressed them. In most cases, the negative person exaggerates and so help them look at the situation objectively by giving them your neutral perspective. Have them reassess the scenario and point out to them the positive aspects they can take away from it.

Give Them Examples of Other People:

One of the best ways to give a negative person some confidence is to help them relate to another person in a similar position or worse off than them. You can just make up an example. Basically, something that makes the negative person feel that his/her situation isn't the worst that there is, that there are people out there who struggle with things far worse!!

Give Them A Reason To Be Positive:

Negative people can be very selfish, in that they choose to focus primarily on themselves and their troubles. So, give them a reason to be positive, a reason to be happy. Remind them of their loved ones; fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, spouse, whoever it is that they love and care for. Tell them that they need to stay positive for them, if not for themselves.

Tell Them To Take A Time-Out:

Advise them to take some time out to think things over. Often times, life just becomes a routine, a habit, mechanical. We just keep doing the same things over and over again. Negativity is a habit as well. Unless the negative person can have some time-out to get out of this circle and view things from afar, they are not going to be able to assess the true damage they are doing to their lives, and to the lives of those around them! A break from the normal routine would help the negative person identify their negative patterns. Identifying these negative patterns are the first step in addressing them.

In conclusion, drawing from personal experience, I can say with conviction that negativity can be cured. I used to be a negative person too, but I took a time-out and reassesed my priorities in life and chose never again to give into negativity. I rediscovered the gift that I have been given - the gift of life. I understood that the precious moments that make up our lives are not to be wasted on trivial whining and crying about the supposed things lacking in your life. A negative person cannot be cured without his/her permission and that's why the last step is a must. Get the negative person to that stage and hope for the best. Hopefully, they'd realize that this gift of life we've been given is much too precious to be squandered away by living and reliving past disappointments, failures, regrets, and the like!!


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    • profile image

      Blue 5 years ago

      thankyou for your hub, it's very useful, i have been a negative person for a while, so i know how it's feel like, and now i'm a positive one, and i have to deal with my girl friend, recently she is so negative... thanks for your hub, this could help me a lote:3


    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 6 years ago

      Htodd, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Am glad you liked this hub! You are welcome, was a pleasure writing this hub :)

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the great and nice post..dealing with a negative person might be tough but you can listen to him/her

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Ruchira, I know the feeling and it can be so frustrating at times, but if the person in question is a person you love and care for, you can't give up on them. That's why I keep trying to show them the positive side and try to get them to change. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 7 years ago from United States

      loved the title of your hub and its content. it sure is easy to show them the positive side but alas, such people are so stuck up in their own *little* world that they refuse to go beyond it.

      voted up!!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you, Kim, for stopping by and commenting. Yes, some people are pretty much incurable. Perhaps, all pessimistic people are, except if they themselves want to change. The rotten apple analogy is very appropriate :)

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 7 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

      Thanks for sharing. Your words can make a difference! But not with a pessimistic person that lives and breaths everything negative vs thinking positive.

      My mother has to be number 1 on my list of people that can't live without the negative constant phrases and verbal expressions that are always pessimistic in nature.

      Some people have it so in-bedded in their personalities that there's no changing them. Of course they have to change themselves. Nobody can do it for them!

      They often resent someone that points out the brighter side of life.

      I once knew someone that held a belief of negative behavior so much so that that person asked me one day out of the blue: "Why are you smiling?" Like if life was so miserable that nobody should smile on a normal, average day.

      For those people that feed on pessimism...they represent an apple to me. One rotten apple in the barrel can affect the rest.

      Safe guard yourselves! Lol.

    • Adwello profile image

      Adwello 7 years ago from St Leonards

      I hate negativity and carefully avoid all negative persons!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      BFY, when a negative person happens to be a family member or close relative, you often have no choice but to hear them out. So, in a way, it isn't your choice often times. I meant that more for situations involving family members/close friends/close relatives, etc.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective on this subject. Am glad you liked this hub as well - thank you for visiting again :)

    • brightforyou profile image

      Helen Lewis 7 years ago from Florida

      I know how draining negative people can be. Its interesting that you say to 'hear them out.' In my experience, this is okay within boundaries. What I mean by that is, negative people are actually often using the listener as a sounding board; they aren't interested in your input, they just want to bemoan their fate and go on and on....the minute they think they have an 'audience' watch out, because you may be in for a long haul of listening. They have a 'blind spot' and cannot see how uncomfortable or bored the other person is... and worse they often can't stop talking; they will follow you down the road...still talking and moaning!

      You need to set boundaries when listening to these people and decide how long you have to dedicate to their circular thinking habit. Because it is a habit - its a bad habit that was learned at some point. There is nothing more draining or soul destroying than being sucked into their black hole. Great hub on a valuable topic, thank you!

    • profile image

      MRWED 7 years ago

      Negative person is everywhere and worst if that person is a member of your family. The least we can really do is to hear them out and show to them our positive behavior to the best we can even if we are irritated . Thanks for your tips.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Oishi, that was a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing that! It demonstrates beautifully what I wanted to state in this hub. I hope the negative people out there can read this and perhaps change their outlook towards life.

      I know though how tough it is to change a negative person. I am still working on a negative person for the last 15 years or so and I haven't made any headway!!

    • oishi profile image

      oishi 7 years ago

      That was really useful. I had heard an interesting story once and I still remember it. There is this father who had twin sons - one was extraordinarily positive about everything and the other one was truly negative. The father wanted to cure them of their extremes. He wanted the positive one to be a little cautious and see that life is not so rosy and of course he wanted his other son to come out of his negativity and see that life is not so bad. So on the night prior to their birthday he gave the pessimist a sporty bike , something any young man will love to receive . On the other hand, he filled the room of his positive-attitude son with horse shit. Next morning when he checked on the negative son he found him to be very gloomy. On asking his son complained that he has got a bike now his expenses will also go up. He then checked on his other son whose room he had filled with horse shit and he very excitedly told him ,Dad, my room is full with horse shit ,if there's so much horse shit, there has to be a horse also.

      Yeah, it's difficult to cure negativity completely but being around positive people may bring some changes in them. Thanks for posting.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Dearest Al,

      So glad to hear from you! Yes, they have such a draining effect on you, don't they!

      Al, you do have the attitude and knowledge to not let them affect you and so, yes, you are right - negative people won't get you down!! You are truly gifted :)

      Thank you Al for stopping by this hub, for your kind words of appreciation and for all the good stuff :)

      Take care and keep hubbing!!

      Warm regards,

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      My dearest Shil...

      This is an extraordinary hub! I´ve faced situations with negative people, so much so they drain me and pull me under. Of course, I have a gift: I recover very quickly and get back on track in no time. Unfortunately, not everybody understands that and they suffer the consequences. Ignorance is NOT bliss! Very sound advices! I have , in fact, tried some of them before! Thanks for sharing, my dearest Sister!

      Rated up, useful and beautiful!

      Warmest hugs and infinite heavenly blessings,


    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you Joy for stopping by and commenting. Am glad you found this article helpful. Thanks again for visiting :)

    • profile image

      Joy 7 years ago

      I really like reading your article. Very helpful:)

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 7 years ago

      Thank you Mary for stopping by! Am glad you found this hub helpful. Yes, it is unfortunate to have to deal with negative people but you have to often times!!

      Thanks again Mary for your comments :)

    • profile image

      MaryRenee 7 years ago

      Shil: Hey there! This hub is excellent! It's unfortunate when we have to deal with negative people, but we all have to sometimes. Your tips are great, and so helpful! :)

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thank you Anjali for stopping by and for your quite comprehensive perspective on this subject. I couldn't agree more with you.

      I've been trying to change a negative person myself, who's been close to me. It has been 15 years now and I've had no success. It has been so because the person concerned hasn't been willing to change; in fact, the person I am talking about doesn't even see it as a problem that has to be cured, so there you go!!

      That's why I state in my article "A negative person cannot be cured without his/her permission." The realization that they are doing not just harm to themeselves but to others around them has to dawn on them and make them take steps towards changing themselves!

      Your description is quite apt - it can be described as a malignant disease. It is very insidious in its process.

      Thank you once again Anjali for your valuable perspective - appreciate it very much :)

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York

      Hi Shil! It seems you've given a due thought on such a behavioral pattern. I would like to add one thing here. Negativity, in most people, is not merely a result of disappointments or failures in their own lives but is an off shoot of envy they harbor towards those who appear to be living a good life. I'm saying this out of my personal experience. Let's just say I worked on one such person (a family member)for about 20 yrs and then finally I had to let it go. Why? Simply because I found out that it was a total waste of time and energy. Such people have to undergo a transformation from within and no external influence (in the form of advices, suggestions, professional or friendly help)really works for them. Negativity (like any other trait) manifests itself in early years of childhood and if the evil is not nipped in the bud, it tends to grow stronger with each passing year and then finally a day comes when it integrates so well with the whole personality that it cannot be easily ripped off. The realization has to come from within. I've seen people who live their entire lives by being scornful, contemptuous and negative about others (as a matter of habit)and (sadly) spend the last days of their lives asking forgiveness from their near & dear ones but by that time its already late to make amends. So you must be thinking what's the point I'm trying to make. Just want to say that 'negativity' is nothing short of a malignant disease. I've not seen many people surviving this deadly disease. The worst thing in such a case is that a negative person, besides being harmful to his own self, is nothing less than a disaster for those who have to live with him, by choice or by compulsion. A very well done hub. :)

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thank you langson for stopping by and commenting. Glad you liked this hub!! Nice to hear from you :)

    • profile image

      langson 8 years ago

      Wel done that's a good hub

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thank you Tony for stopping by, appreciate your insights! Yes, negativity can be extremely destructive - not only to the person concerned but to those around them.

      Thanks again, Tony, for your comments :)

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      I really liked this Hub and the information you shared. Negativity is really quite destructive in relationships and difficult to deal with. You have some useful tips here, thanks.

      Love and peace


    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thank you Amber for stopping by. Glad you found this hub informative and thank you - being a "glass half full" person has made me much, much happier than I used to be.

      Yes, I know what you are talking about. They do relive their bad experiences and hold on to them. I keep hearing of events that happened years and years ago and which bear no consequence to them in their present lives, yet they choose to feel sad and depressed about it, and lament about it!

      I keep trying to change these types of people, but some just don't want to change. I guess they've gotten comfortable in the way they are - even though it causes them so much misery and sadness!!

      Thanks again for your comments Amber - appreciate them :)

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi shil

      A very informative hub and congratulations on becoming a glass half full type of person. A lot of the negative people I know keep reliving bad experiences rather than let them go and forget them.


    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      You are so right WYAA with that example. Thank you for stopping by this hub and for offering your insights, appreciate it very much :)

    • withyouamalive profile image

      withyouamalive 8 years ago from Lagos

      Nice hub. I kind of like this part "Give Them Examples of Other People." When you discover there are other people with problems similar or more than yours then you feel somewhat relieved; something like: I wept because I had no shoes until I met a man without feet. Thumbs up

    • suny51 profile image

      suny51 8 years ago

      that's is the best way of thinking "Positive",and the vibes you receive from a person who is positive,are like the smell coming from flowers,you will always be ready to support such person,Thank you for writing about a very good subject.Awesome

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thank you drbj for stopping by this hub. It is a pleasure to read your insightful comments. I agree with all that you state!!

      Your hubs are really useful. I read up on one of the hubs a while back, hope to read up on the rest soon. Thanks again for your insights - appreciate it very much :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 8 years ago from south Florida

      These are good examples, shil1978. It is often difficult to deal with negative people because their negativity tends to drag you down, too, and your patience disappears.

      Most folks who are negative act that way because they get a payoff by being negative. They get reinforcement and attention so they continue to act in a negative way. And sometimes they do not even realize this themselves. Take a look at my 5 hubs on dealing with difficult people, their typical behavior and how you can cope including language to use.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thank you FP for dropping by, always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for your comments, appreciate it!!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      Shil, obviously your advice works, since it's first hand knowledge! Kudos to you for overcoming your negativity! :)

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thank you GTC for stopping by this hub and sharing your story. I've heard a negative person being described as a 'black hole' somewhere - as in a thing that sucks everything around it into an abyss and destroys it!!

      Yes, in some cases, it is about getting attention. In others, it could be the need to feel like a martyr; as in wanting to think that they have to deal with all the ills in the world, and kind of project that they have the worst of everything, when the reality of it might be very different!!

      It does take a LOT - reason why you need to be patient. If you are not, its easy to get sucked in and end up spoiling your life as well!!

      Thanks again GTC for sharing your insights - appreciate it very much!!

    • green tea-cher profile image

      green tea-cher 8 years ago

      Kudos to you Shil for your patience with a negative person because it takes A LOT! It really is amazing how a negative person can pull everyone down around them, if you let them. So it's great to try and help them out, as long as they are ready to be helped. I worked with a girl once who wasn't happy unless she could talk about being sick. That was a tough one. I think it was all about her getting attention and illness usually brought plenty of that. She even intentionally ate foods she was allergic to when she was feeling good. It was so obvious to us, but she just couldn't see it. Great tips for someone facing this challenge.

    • profile image

      Bob Diamond 8 years ago

      "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day" - Proverbs 27:15 (NIV)

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 8 years ago

      Thank you AJ for stopping by this hub! Glad you found it informative!!

    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 8 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      Good Hub.Very informative.


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