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How to Effectively Deal with Negative People

Updated on February 5, 2013

There's always a few people out there you know: they just have nothing nice to say! These people are generally nice, but like to complain a lot, or when contributing to a conversation, end up making everyone feel down. Being around these types of people a lot can also bring your mood down too, and who needs that?

The easiest way to deal with them is to avoid them, but what if these people are your coworkers, family, or even your boss? Here are some techniques I've used that have been effective:

Reply to Their Comments With Something Positive

Don't let people's complaining or negative comments bring you down! A simple way to combat this is to do the opposite, which is to say something positive back to them. If they consistently complain they're tired for example, you can reply by saying how much energy you have after you started eating breakfast exercising. Or if a family member keeps talking about how her partner is keeping the house so cold during the winter, buy them a blanket for Christmas, or recommend one when you happen to pass by one if you two are shopping together.

It can be helpful to keep some positive statements in the back of your head to respond to people, particularly people you have to see all the time.

Practice with the following statements. What would you say back to this person if they said..

1)...I'm so sick of this sore back! I can't seem to do anything to make the pain go away!

2)...No wonder everyone is losing their jobs, the economy is so bad, my kids can't get work!

3)...All I ever seem to do is work, I have no personal life anymore.

Sometimes, these types of negative people want attention on them and will look for anyone that will listen. If you keep replying with positive comments and not just agree with what they have to say, they may end up avoiding you!

Make Sure your Comments Aren't Advice

A lot of negative people don't want to hear advice. They just want to complain. I mean, if you must, hear them out and then make an excuse to go or change the subject. I've given advice and all that's happened is that I've gotten yelled at. A lot. More than a lot. Plus, if you do this at work, it might get you in trouble. So it's just better not to give any advice, unless of course, they ask for it.

Don't Think Or Talk About Them When They Are Not Around

This is important! If you don't want their negativity to bring you down, why bother thinking about them? You are only giving THEM the power to change your mood. You don't ever want to do that. Don't ever give power to someone you don't like or want around. Plus, the less you think about them, the better you can react positively to their negativity next time they come around.

Also, don't talk about them! If you do that you are only stooping to their level, and it'll get back to them that you talked about them, trust me on this one. Plus, you are also going to become a negative person if you keep doing this, which is the exact opposite of what you want, right?

If you find yourself thinking about them or starting to talk about them, change your thoughts or words on something good that happened to you that day, week, or recently. I usually try to watch a funny youtube video or two if I really need a 'filler' for a conversation, or to think about something else. Reading books on positive thinkers (such as the Dali Llama) can also help you stop thinking about the negative people you come into contact with. And you also have material to talk about if you need something positive to say.

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Meet New Positive People

If you have a friend that is constantly dragging you down, then maybe it's time to consider making new friends. I've lost touch with friends this way, but in the end I am happier for it. If a coworker is seriously bringing you down, try to talk to your boss (subtly!) about switching teams, or find ways where you don't need to seek them out or work with them. If it's a boss..well, either keep trying to above methods, or consider getting another job. If it's a family member, think about limiting interaction during holidays.

Life is full of the unknown and changes. People you meet now don't have to be in your life forever. It sounds harsh, but it's true. People float in and out of our lives for various reasons. If a negative person in your life is that overpowering, then it's really time to move on.

How Do You Deal With Negative People?

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    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks careermommy! I appreciate you stopping by!

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Nice. Good article! Looking forward to reading more (-:

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      That's great stephanie! I still find it hard to weed all the negative people because I am either related to them or work with them. I hope to do what you did one day!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 5 years ago from United States

      I also surround myself with positive people. I have weeded all the negative people out of my life and it feels great! :)

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks for stopping by DDE! I think most people in some form or another have had experiences with negative people. The point is to not let them drag you down :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I had experiences with negative people and your points sound a great idea for me thanks for this helpful hub.

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      @hawaiianodysseus - I agree that it is challenging. I just think that the more I think about these people the more it'll drag me down. Unless thinking about them is a motivation to not be that way :)

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I can only deal with negative people if I first challenge the bit of negativity that still naggingly lurks beneath the surface. That said, as much as I would love to just avoid negative people, my reaction to them is something I'll always carry around, no matter where I'm at. Thus, it's important that I find a way to love the person even when I despise their behavior. Easier said than done, and something I avoided in my list of resolutions for next year. : )

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the compliment and for reading my hub. I am slowly trying to eliminate negativity around my life too, but it can be hard.

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      @sherrttuck - I have to stop myself from being negatitive too. I think the best thing to do is just start my recognizing that you do it, and eventually it stops.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nice suggestions here. I spent a lot of time around negativity, so now I choose to eliminate it from my life. I surround myself with positive people. Of course, I still have to deal with negative people from time to time, and when those times comes I follow some of your suggestions.

    • sherrituck profile image

      Sherri Tuck 5 years ago from Virginia

      Really good thoughts on a problem that affects all of us. Sometimes I catch myself being the negative person. It is a bad habit that is all to easy to develop.