Not everyone can be bubbly and positive all day long; negative people see the worst possible outcomes in every situation. Unfortunately, there’s no way that you don’t have that kind of negativity in your life right now. Even if you are an optimist, you will inevitably be related to or acquainted with someone who doesn’t even know how to smile.
Negative people aren’t necessarily evil or anything like that. But they aren’t the type of person to add value to your life. But let’s say that these negative people who are your friends or part of your family don’t bring you any harm. After all, you can’t abandon a family member just because they tend to be gloomy. But, unfortunately, you will inevitably have to deal with negative people in your daily life.
It might be a coworker or a random person who yelled at you on the street. It doesn’t even matter what environment these people come from. However, one rule applies in all cases: don’t respond to negative people.
In most cases, these people wouldn’t have a reason to spread their negativity if it didn’t elicit a response. If everyone ignored them, there would be no reason for them to use their energy to spew their negativity. But, when you answer, you fuel these people. Ultimately, you are the only one who will get hurt. The pessimist will keep doing their thing. And all you’ve managed is to get angry and interact with some ideas that don’t bring anything to the table.
And, worse, you might allow these people to convince you that their negativity is justified. Believe it or not, negativity is somewhat contagious. So, even if you are the cheeriest person, you might get dragged into the dark hole those people dug for themselves. So, to learn how to stop responding to negative people, keep reading.
Why Do People Become Negative?
As you probably know, people aren’t born believing there is no reason to be alive and that the world is horrible. Sure, some people are genetically predisposed to be a little pessimistic. But, as it’s the case with most personality traits, people learn what negativity and positivity are. And their environment determines at which end of the spectrum they will be.
You’re probably an optimist if you’ve lived in a good home, had a tight family, and haven’t lived through any hardships. But, of course, that’s not a given, as you might still have a gloomy outlook on life even if you have the best life. But that would mean you’ve learned some things that made you so negative.
Or maybe you have a strong genetic predisposition towards that personality type. But it’s much more likely that some negative situations made you lose faith in humanity. People who have lived through trauma, abuse, or neglect are the ones who end up believing they have no reason to be optimistic. Any hardship can be a factor that determines how someone acts.
Does Negativity Stem From Trauma?
But that doesn’t mean all negative people are traumatized and are justified in believing that life is filled with sorrow. These people aren’t the ones who will bother you and try to shove their negativity down your throat. Instead, they will mind their own business and be pessimistic in their own time. At most, this will be bothersome when you have to work or otherwise cooperate with such a person.
Even if you have a friend like this, they might not even want to get drinks because they believe something bad will happen. But some people are negative just for the sake of it. And they are not just pessimistic. No, these people are outright mean and might even get a kick out of hurting others.
If you ever deal with negative people, it’s essential to assume that they might be people who have the worst intentions. It’s much safer to assume the worst rather than the best. This is probably the mistake you are making now; you are giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, even when they don’t deserve it.
And, if you value the opinion of a bad person, you give them power over you. You allow them to manipulate and gaslight you. Maybe they won’t go that far, but they will take advantage of your kindness. Or maybe you’ll have to deal with the type of negative person who will belittle and hurt you just because they can. And these are the people who feed off of others’ responses.
Negative people would keep to themselves if no one stopped to give them the time of day. Especially if they are intentionally mean people who want to see others in pain, they’ll revel in knowing that they can rile others up. So, the classiest and most efficient thing you can do is not respond to negative people and move on with your life.
How to Stop Responding to Negative People
1. Don’t Buy into the Negativity
One of the first things you can do to block negative people out is to never buy into their rhetoric. No matter what they are saying, don’t allow yourself to be swayed. Now, this is easier said than done, as most things are. And to learn how to do this, you must understand what types of negative thinking you might stumble upon. Of course, all negative people will act in different ways. But there are two main areas where one can slot those negative thoughts.
It’s either negativity directed towards you or the type of negativity that makes you feel pity for the other person. In the first case, you might be told that you’ll never amount to something or that you will not be able to finish a certain project. So you need to maintain your emotional distance and not allow your anger to take over.
No matter how much you’d want to defend yourself, it’s not worth it. You’ll end up arguing with someone not interested in logical reasoning. The second possibility is that they are generally negative, almost to the point that they elicit some pity. They might whine and say that they’ll never be able to finish their work or that everything will always end badly for them. Now, you should always comfort people if you can. But there’s no use in convincing them that they should be more positive, as they won’t listen.
2. Focus on Your Inner Happiness
If you allow yourself to be surrounded by negativity, it will eventually rub off on you. And maybe you’re trying to do what’s right and just help someone in need. But you need to remember that you don’t have any responsibility towards other people unless they are your kids. You’re not even responsible for the well-being of your family and friends. You have to try to help them, but if they refuse that help, there’s not much you can do for them anymore.
And you have virtually no duty towards trying to help acquaintances, coworkers, or strangers. Of course, you have to be nice, and sure, it’s nice to try to help others if you can. But you must remember that you have a duty toward your happiness. So, if you are ever dealing with a negative person, focus on your inner happiness.
Inner happiness, as the name suggests, comes from within. It’s based on not needing anyone to make you feel valuable or happy. And you can reach it through meditation, mindfulness, self-care, and even starting new hobbies. Moreover, the happier you are, the less likely you’ll engage with people who might destroy these positive feelings.
3. Set Boundaries
Whether romantic or platonic, boundaries are essential in any relationship. This way, you can have healthy relationships without constantly reminding someone how to act and what not to do if they don’t want to trigger you. But boundaries have one more critical role. And that is to make you understand that you are entitled to feel safe and happy in any relationship.
Plus, when someone doesn’t respect these boundaries, you can always take action and distance yourself from them. Boundaries are just sets of rules that people want others to respect. As long as you communicate, they should be respected. It’s not like the other person has to consent to respect them. That’s not how it works. You have boundaries, you communicate them, and you can talk about them in case that might be a little extreme.
And if someone breaks them, that’s your sign of distancing yourself from them. So, tell the negative people in your life that you aren’t interested in hearing their negative thoughts. And if they refuse, that’s your sign that you probably shouldn’t have that person in your life.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Responding to Negative People
Negative people will always exist, no matter how much you’d want them not to. Some are hurt or lost people who genuinely believe life is not worth living. But some negative people want to make other people suffer. Either way, it’s best not to respond to negative people.
This way, you’ll preserve your happiness while ensuring that you don’t feed into their toxic beliefs. Sometimes it can be hard to shut up when someone is saying bad things about you, for example. But even then, try not to buy into their negativity. After all, it doesn’t matter what they believe about you. And responding will feed their egos. You also need to make sure that you focus on yourself and your inner happiness rather than dealing with their issues.
Even if they are struggling, they are not your responsibility. You need to take care of yourself first and foremost. Lastly, you need to enforce some boundaries. If they are broken, you’ll know to distance yourself from that person, as they’ll likely never respect you and your well-being.