“Whatever negative things people think and say about you is enough to bring you down provided you believe that it carries a weight that can push you hard. Don’t agree to accept what critics say; be prepared to silence them by doing what they think you can’t do!” – Israelmore Ayivor
If you’re like anyone else, you probably have come across some negative people in your day-to-day life. Maybe these people are co-workers, friends or even family. It can be frustrating to be surrounded by negativity in your life when all you want to do is move forward.
As Israelmore Ayivor rightly pointed out, “Save your skin from the corrosive acids from the mouths of toxic people. Someone who just helped you to speak evil about another person can later help another person to speak evil about you.”
Finding the right way to deal with negative people is the best way to get yourself on the right track to living a more positive life, and to be surrounded by more positive people. It sucks to feel like you have to cut people out of your life because their negativity is adversely affecting your own – thankfully, that’s not the only way to deal with negativity and the people who are plagued by it.
Here Are 5 Positive Ways To Deal With Negative People
1. Try to empathize, even when you don’t understand
Even if you can’t understand how they’re feeling all the time, it’s good to practice empathy with people who feel negative a lot of the time. Motivation and marketing trainer Brendon Burchard states, “That’s how we tap into our own humanity and compassion, and those things become a flood of good energy that washes away the negativity. Compassion wins.”
Sometimes, negative people just need to be understood rather than fixed. You never know what kind of major life changes or crises that they’re going through. Instead of trying to cheer them up, simply be a sounding board, and empathize with their struggles. Sometimes, people just need to be told, “Man, that sucks!” Just having someone to listen may be just the thing that they need to feel better and more positive.
2. Don’t try to give advice, unless its required
Unless they’re coming to you specifically for your advice, try to forgo telling them how to fix their problems. Sometimes, people who have a lot of negativity just don’t have anyone to share it with or anywhere to let off steam. If they need to complain, you can engage them in conversation and talk them through it. But, unless they ask, try not to offer unsolicited advice.
But does this mean you’re abandoning them?
“This doesn’t mean you abandon anyone. It simply means you watch, track their progress, keep quiet, and then be ready to answer their questions in a positive, inspiring way,” says author and speaker Phil Cooke.
If you’re not sure, you can even confirm with them: “Do you want my advice, or do you just need to vent?” Usually, they’ll just need to vent – after all, they probably have countless people offering them more advice than they know what to do with!
3. Figure out what makes them happy
Negative people aren’t negative all the time – even if that tends to be the only side of them that you see. But, really, they have things that make them happy the same as you or anyone else! When you figure out what that is, you can engage them on that topic or even surprise them with something that will cheer them up.
The issue isn’t that negative people have nothing that they love, it’s simply that they’re so overwhelmed with other things that they may not have the time to focus on that right now. Engaging them on a topic that makes them happy can give them an emotional respite from the negativity, which will make you both feel better.
4. Read between the lines
It might not be everyone’s strong suit, but it’s important to listen to the things that a negative person isn’t saying just as much as it is to listen to what they are saying. Sometimes, negative people use dark humor as a coping mechanism, but it can speak volumes to what they’re really going through.
They may be feeling more stressed out, depressed and alone than you realize. Being able to notice the things that aren’t being overtly said will help you better figure out how to help them feel more positive in your day-to-day interactions.