How to Deal With Negative People

You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Quite a powerful quote by motivational speaker, Jim Rohn.

Now, take a moment and think about the people you surround yourself with. Are they negative? If so, you may need to reconsider who you associate with.

We all have that one Negative Nancy or Pessimistic Pete in our lives. You know, the dweller of doom and gloom who can’t go a day without complaining about something.

Or maybe one of those days where everything was going great until you encountered that one negative person who just seemed to suck the life out of everyone around them?

We’ve all been in situations where negativity can bring us down, and in today’s world, it’s more important than ever to protect our mental well-being.

It’s a real challenge to keep them from affecting our own mood and outlook.

In this post, we’ll explore essential strategies to help you effectively tackle the negative people in your life and find the silver lining while maintaining your sanity as well as a sense of joy and positivity.


Recognize the Signs of Negativity

Contemplative ethnic woman with curly hair in snowfall

First things first, how do you identify negativity? Some people may not even realize they’re being negative. Here are some common signs to watch for:

  • Constant complaining; Is there someone in your life who seems to always find fault with everything and everyone? That might be a red flag
  • Blaming others or circumstances
  • Pessimistic outlook on life and situations
  • Disregarding other people’s feelings
  • Refusing to consider other perspectives
  • Constant Complainers: Is there someone in your life who seems to always find fault with everything and everyone? That might be a red flag. 🚩
  • Energy Vampires: Remember the one who drains all your energy after a conversation? Yup, an energy sucker.
  • Gossip Gurus: Love a good gossip session, but can’t keep any secrets and thrives on stirring drama? Warning bell
  • Victim Players: Always the victim, never accountable? You got it
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So, next time you’re around someone, take a moment and observe how they behave. If they exhibit a majority of these signs, they may be a negative influence in your life.

Set Boundaries

White Daisy Flower Bloom

It’s crucial to set boundaries with negative people both for your mental health and the health of the relationship. This might look like:

  • Limiting the time you spend with them
  • Not engaging in negative conversations
  • Avoiding emotional investment in their issues
  • Communicating your boundaries clearly and respectfully
  • Focusing on positive topics in your interactions with them

Don’t be afraid to express your boundaries – you deserve to surround yourself with positive energy.

Offer Support and Encouragement

Sometimes, you have negative people you can’t avoid because they are an integral part of your life; in this case, what you can do is empathize with the negative person in your life.

By offering support and encouragement, you can help them see the brighter side.

Here are some ways to be supportive:

  • Acknowledge their feelings, even if you don’t agree with them
  • Encourage them to focus on positive aspects of situations
  • Help them find resources to improve their mindset and outlook
  • Offer a listening ear, but remember your boundaries

Be an Example of Positivity

One of the best ways to deal with negative people is by leading by example. Show them that there’s a better way to live and view the world. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Cultivate gratitude and express it daily
  • Focus on the present moment and let go of the past
  • Pursue your passions and nurture your interests
  • Fill your environment with positive affirmations and messages
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The more you radiate positivity, the more likely it is that others will want to share that energy.

Listen, But Don’t Absorb

Women Making a Salad

Sometimes, we can’t avoid negative people, like a close family member or required social interaction.

In these cases, I’ve learned to be an active listener without internalizing their negativity.

For instance, my Aunt Mary was notorious for her pessimistic outlook and endless complaints.

I realized that even though I couldn’t change her, I could control my reaction to her behavior.

So, when Aunt Mary started ranting, I listened attentively and empathized with her.

But I didn’t let her words impact my emotions or take them as my own.

Instead, I reminded myself that her negativity was a reflection of her inner struggles – not mine.

Action Steps:

  1. Stay present during conversations and avoid tuning out.
  2. Offer empathy without taking on their negative emotions.
  3. Recognize that their behavior reflects their own issues, not yours.

Fight Fire With Kindness

During my journey, I’ve found that kindness can be a powerful weapon against negativity.

I had a terrible colleague who was always negative, so i chose to respond to his negativity with understanding and kindness.

Over time, my attitude affected him positively.

It reminded me that treating someone kindly, even when they don’t deserve it, can create a ripple effect, inspiring them to change their outlook.

Action Steps:

  1. Make a conscious effort to respond to negativity with kindness.
  2. Offer compliments and show appreciation for their efforts.
  3. Encourage positive behavior by leading by example.


The Art of Detachment

One of the most potent skills we can cultivate when dealing with negative people is the ability to detach.

What does this mean?

Rather than allowing yourself to be consumed by other people’s negative energy, realize that their emotions and judgments solely belong to them.

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Remind yourself not to take their negativity personally, and instead, focus on maintaining your inner peace.

Building Your Inner Strength

When encountering negative people, it becomes even more vital to fortify your inner strength.

Talk to positive, supportive individuals in your life, or try exploring therapeutic tools such as journaling, meditation, or even seeking professional help.

As Eleanor Roosevelt wisely said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

By building your internal resilience, negative people will have less power over your emotions.


Know When to Walk Away

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it’s necessary to distance yourself from negative people. Walking away might be the most challenging step.

But one thing I’ve learned through the years is recognizing when it’s time to walk away from a negative person.

Early into my career, I had a colleague who would always criticize and gossip.

At first, I tried to ignore him, but soon I realized that his behaviour was eating away at my self-esteem and optimism.

The turning point came when I decided to take a stand and distance myself from this colleague. Instead of engaging in his negative conversations, I excused myself, focusing on my work and positive relationships.

This simple act of setting boundaries significantly improved my mental and emotional well-being.

Action Steps:

  1. Assess the situation and determine whether distancing yourself is necessary.
  2. Assertively (but politely) excuse yourself from negative conversations.
  3. Focus on cultivating meaningful and positive relationships.

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