“How do I deal with my friend, spouse, relative, co-worker, etc. who is frequently negative?” It’s a common question and concern for people committed to growth, people committed to having a positive focus in life. As you become more and more oriented toward opportunity and positivity, it’s easy to become even more aware of the negativity in others.

There isn’t one specific answer to the question about how to deal with the negativity in others. Obviously, if it’s possible to limit the time you spend with them, that would be an easy solution but what about the core people in your life?

While there is much more to this topic that I can cover in this short blog, here are a few thoughts and ideas that may help.

  • Refrain from Judging. Judging people for being ‘negative’ is just another form of negativity. It never helps to say, “I wish you’d stop being so negative.” (I admit to doing this one too many times!) If you imagine their negativity as a dark liquid in a glass, when you get upset and judge them, you just add more dark liquid. Begin pouring positivity, light liquid in and things will inevitably change – even if it’s only in how you feel.
  • Align. Before trying to redirect them to a more positive place, take at least a moment to genuinely align with them in some way. You can always find something to genuinely respect, appreciate, or agree with in regard to what they are saying or how they are feeling.
  • Redirect Their Focus. Rather than pushing against their negative state of mind, just lead the conversation to more fun and uplifting subjects. You could recall a fun experience you shared together, ask a question about something you know was enjoyable for them, tickle them if necessary 😉 – have some fun redirecting their focus!
  • Change the Routines and Patterns. Review how you spend time with this person. There is probably a pattern or routine that doesn’t work but that you keep repeating. I finally realized when I called my mom I always asked, “How are you?” It was an opening for her to begin with a litany of problems. Easy solution: I began experimenting with new opening lines i.e. “Your grandson did the cutest thing today.” or “You know what I was thinking about today – the time you and I went…”. Be thoughtful. Maybe you have the routine of Friday night ‘complaining about work’ sessions with your co-workers. Try switching things up maybe by inviting some people who don’t work with you so you can expand the conversation or suggest a fun activity in place of what you’ve been doing. You’ll probably have to break your own pattern to make any real change – get creative!
  • Be a positive example. Continue to enjoy your own life and to look on the bright side of life.

At the end of the day, we all have a tendency to be negative at times and what we need at those times is someone to help lift us up rather than criticize us for being negative. Therefore the most effective way to deal with negativity is to dilute it with positive experiences and with your positive energy.

Your coach, Debra