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How to deal with negative people in a positive way

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We all have one or two negative people around us: a friend who loves to complain, or a colleague who responds to every idea with ‘no’. It can be quite the challenge to remain positive in a cloud of negativity, but it’s possible. 

These tips help you to handle ‘Negative Nancy’ optimistically.

1. Distance yourself from them  

We can’t control other people’s thoughts or actions, but we can control how we respond to them. This can be an uplifting thought. If it feels like you’re absorbed by other people’s negativity, ask yourself the following questions: 

How do I respond to this situation?
How can I make my response more positive? 

By asking yourself these questions, you focus on your own possibilities. It makes it easier to distance yourself from the negative person emotionally. 

2. Do the opposite

When people show negative body language (crossing arms, stamping their feet) or perform a whining monologue, do the opposite. It works. 

3. Don’t take it personal 

We often take in negativity unconsciously, and unfortunately, it can have a long lasting effect. Try to keep in mind that other people’s bad moods don’t have anything to do with you. You never know what’s going on in their lives – there can be all sorts of reasons for it. But it’s probably not about you. 

Realize that what was said, probably has to do with the person themselves. Visualize a magical protection suit that keeps negativity on the outside. Or put on your favourite song.

4. Be in the present

One of the best tricks to be more positive is living in the now. Nasty remarks have a tendency to keep nagging in our mind. That’s exactly what you don’t want to happen. But if you focus on what’s going on right now, it’s easier to see the bright side. 

5. Practice gratitude 

Of course you don’t have to be thankful when other people curse at you. But you can learn from it. It challenges your positivity, and it teaches you to deal with negative people. Which is a useful skill 

Photo: Joe Gardner