“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
Ever notice how spending time with negative people can be absolutely exhausting? And yet, when you spend time with happy, loving people, you come away feeling refreshed.
Which one do you wanna be? I’ll take happy and loving, any day. How about you?
The Negative Co-Worker: How I Accidentally Lost a Friend
In my early 20s, I went through some stuff. Ultimately, I got divorced and ended up being a single mom (though four years later, I remarried and had two more kids – we’ve been together 15 years now).
Anyway, back then, I got an office job and quickly met a co-worker fellow single mom.
We instantly clicked and became fast friends and lunch buddies. At first, I did what I do: as an empath, I tend to be able to talk to anyone by bringing myself to their energy levels and finding things we share in common.
But after awhile, I realized that my new friend was kinda…well, negative. Every day at lunch and on breaks, all she would do is complain about all the things that were wrong with her life.
Oh, and if it wasn’t what was wrong with HER, it was what she didn’t like about everyone else in the office.
At first, I tried to influence her in a positive way without actually mentioning to her that the negativity bothered me. And when that didn’t work, I verbally explained that it made me uncomfortable when she gossiped or indulged in a lot of unnecessary negative stuff.
She ignored it. And yeah.
It made me pretty crazy, I’m not going to lie to you. But soon, I got a clue and started joining a larger group for lunch. My friend didn’t like that – she wanted to be one-on-one, and even though I invited her to join me, she never did, instead preferring to eat alone or with one of the temps, now and then.
This co-worker may have even been a narcissist – and an introverted one at that. But not every negative person is a narcissist.
How to deal with negative people (without becoming one)
Is someone’s negativity bringing you down? Every day, you’re most likely exposed to a variety of situations.
Some, you’ll perceive as positive, others neutral, and others negative. If the unpleasant ones seem to be the majority in your life, just know that it’s all up to you – which means YOU can change that.
Is it really possible to stay positive around negative people?
The short answer is yes, it is possible. Keep reading – I”ll explain how.
Can we completely eliminate negative people from our lives?
Up to a point, you can. Unfortunately, a certain number negative experiences can be a natural part of life.
Maybe your boss got up on the wrong side of the bed today and is a bit cranky. Or maybe your spouse had a rough day at work and is being really vocal about it – or the kids are fighting (again) over something that seems pointless.
These types of situations can set you up for potential negative experiences.
So how do you respond when you’re dealing with someone who is negative?
6 Good-Mood Hacks for Dealing with Negative People
Try the following strategies to help you get centered and try to stay positive around negative people.
1. Step back. Acknowledge that getting involved in negativity is not good for you. The first thing to do is recognize the results of jumping into the stream of negativity. If you truly connect with the idea that you wish to bring only positivity into your life, you’ll be more focused on making efforts to do so.
Commit to yourself that you’ll do whatever is necessary to avoid engaging with negativity. Having the awareness that negativity runs counter to your life goals will motivate you to abstain from participating in it.
2. Listen well; then withhold comment. Others’ negative remarks can feel quite seductive. Many of us allow ourselves to be pulled in to the emotional experience of the situation being discussed. However, if you listen actively, but refrain from commenting, you can avoid making the experience your own.
Plus, those who are bringing negativity your way will avoid doing so in the future since you didn’t sign on with their emotional reactions and did nothing to reinforce them.
3. Change the subject. When you’ve just heard some unsavory words, why not bring up something that’s less stressful and more positive? For example, if your co-worker says she’s annoyed with your supervisor, you could ask her how another project she’s pleased to be working on is progressing.
4. If you’re in a group, simply ignore the negativity. Most likely, if there are two or three others present when an nonconstructive discussion starts up, you can get by with ignoring the negativity or excusing yourself from the room. Sometimes, you can express the most by saying nothing at all.
5. Make an effort to be involved in something else. Involving yourself in something that matters to you is a great method of subliminally refusing to participate in others’ negativity. Look through your handbag for that receipt you couldn’t find last night. Search your briefcase for your schedule book or that file with the information you wanted earlier.
6. Psychologically reinforce your efforts. Say to yourself, “You handled that really well.” or “It was a great idea to leave the table when they all started criticizing how the boss handled something.”
Allow yourself to feel proud of yourself about not joining in with the negativity around you. Avoid letting others’ negativity bring you down.
Instead, recognize that you’d rather not be exposed to such situations and people. When negativity blooms around you, listen and say nothing, change the subject, or ignore it. Reinforce your efforts to avoid habitual negativity every single day, and you can say good-bye to nonconstructive thoughts.
What would you add? What do you consider the best ways to stay positive around negative people? Share your thoughts in the comments, below.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.