3 Powerful Ways To Deal With Really Negative People

Apr 22, 2016 1 Min Read


Ever feel tired of that handful of co-workers or friends who have a knack for always bringing down your mood—or the mood of any room they walk into? We all do.

People who give off nothing but negative energy into the atmosphere, spreading their special brand of pessimism and ill will, never make for a good time.

Instead of getting frustrated or avoiding these negative people completely, try the following ways to continue enjoying their company.

1. Understand where they are coming from

More often than not, negative people have a reason for having such a lacklustre attitude. They may be having family issues, going through a rough time at work, or suffering from physical ailments. It’s always important to avoid judging a book by its cover – especially in tough cases.

Kicking someone while they’re down does no good for anyone. So, next time you hear someone make a snarky remark about their current situation, don’t roll your eyes in exasperation before hearing them out.

2. Talk about light topics

When we make conversation about heavy topics, it’s very easy to start looking downward.

Especially in precarious times of work decisions, or future planning, it could be beneficial to adopt a light-hearted mindset by choosing to discuss easy things instead.

Make jokes about the last movie you watched or laugh about how terrible the Golden Globes were. Try your best to steer away from subjects that leave you upset.

Talk about things that bring you joy, not uncertainty or unhappiness, and your relationship will definitely grow.

3. Interact mostly in group settings

Hanging out in numbers of three or more may be an easy way around a person’s normally negative attitude. It’s difficult to get down in the dumps when in larger groups, due to the simple fact that many large groups foster a happy, festive atmosphere in which negative people do not thrive.

If you find that friends you struggle with one-on-one possess a merrier outlook on life when other people are involved, invite more friends to join your meetings and discussions.

You will never know, with a little more time in social settings, the problems you found with them may even disappear.

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How I Work With Naysayers

CEO of Leaderonomics, Roshan Thiran, Says Overcoming Negativity

Whenever I am faced with negative people, I feel drained. They are like energy vampires who suck every ounce of positivity from you and replace it with their pessimism and dreary outlook. After spending considerable amount of time with these “vampires,” you become like them—pessimistic and frustrated.

While Peter Economy encourages us not to avoid them, as many of their negativity may stem from personal issues that they may be going through either at home or at work, spending too much time with them can be detrimental to you.

Personally, at one stage in life, having spent significant amount of time with a group of negatively-minded folks, I started believing in their vibe.

I find myself giving up when the going was tough—even believing that the best I could do was to strive for mediocrity—as there was no way a person of my capability and background could possibly dream of greatness.

Once I removed myself from this negative group at the workplace, I realised that God has given us unlimited talent and potential, and optimism for success started oozing back in.

So, how do you deal with situations where you are forced to work with a negative group of people who suck you dry? Peter has provided three great ways. Let me suggest a fourth.

When I am stuck having to work professionally with a group of naysayers, I protect myself from their negativity by going a few notches higher on my optimism and positivity.

So, whilst the group will say that it is impossible to do a specific task, I will go the other extreme and prove to them that not only is it possible, but we should strive to do two impossible tasks instead of just one.

When I go high on positivity, and really switch it on, it soon becomes infectious and it starts to destroy the negativity.

The key to ensuring you influence them (and not vice versa) is to ensure that you switch the positivity on and really believe what you postulate to the group.

I have seen countless occasions where the group either embraces this new stance or they kick you out of the group so that they can go back to their “sad” lives. Either way works as you don’t get mired in their disillusions and self-pity.

At Leaderonomics, we work closely with organisations to help transform negative culture (which translates to negative behaviour and pessimism) to a fresh, engaging and energising culture. Joseph Tan, who leads our culture transformation unit, clearly believes that the environment and culture we create dictates our state.

So, if you are in a perpetual negative state, changing the environment will result in a change of state. Joseph and his team have witnessed miraculous changes (from negative employees to empowered employees) just from culture and structural changes. Be positive and never let the energy vampires suck you dry!

Comment or write to us at editor@leaderonomics.com. To engage with us to set the right culture for your organisation, e-mail training@leaderonomics.com. For more Be A Leader articles, click here.


Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.

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Peter Economy has written more than 80 books on a variety of business and leadership topics. You can read more of his leadership articles at the website below.

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