We all have a few negative people in our lives. It could be family (and for most of my clients, it is family), friends, co-workers, neighbors, boyfriends, girlfriends, and even some of our teachers. Sometimes we can break up with the negative people in our lives but sometimes we just can’t.
If you have negative people in your life, here are 8 tips for dealing with them.
1. Try to understand them. If you know why someone is negative, it’s easier to deal with them. It allows you to realize their negativity is not about you. It’s all about them. You can also find empathy and compassion for the person when you know why they are so negative. This can help you realize that you don’t need to take it personally.
2. Know that moods/emotions are contagious and learn how your body reacts. This goes two ways. You can spread your happiness to others but it also means that their negativity can rub off on you! Learn your mind-body connection. When you start feeling stress, anger or negativity, how does it show up on your body? Some of the typical spots are shoulder/back, headaches, jaw pain from grinding teeth or stomachache. When you start feeling the negativity in your body, it is a warning sign, a red flag that you should stop what you’re doing and make a change. It might mean that you need to walk away from the situation, take a time-out or set boundaries. Just make sure to pay attention to your body.
3. Keep up your own happiness levels. If you’re living with negativity, the best way to keep balanced is to spend a lot of time doing what makes you happy. Write a list of what makes you happy and then add those activities into your weekly schedule.
4. Ask yourself if it is a sign. Sometimes the negatives we are surrounded with is a sign that we need to make changes in our own life. Look at the whole picture. Are you stuck in a relationship that is not working and making you unhappy? Do you need to make changes to make the relationship better? Is it time to move on from the relationship? Is it a sign that you need to switch jobs? Etc?
5. Ask yourself why this person’s negativity affects you so much. Does it hit a past hurt that you haven’t worked through yet? Is it causing deep rooted anger and you need to work on forgiveness for yourself or others? Is the person who keeps pushing your buttons doing it so you can feel their pain? Could it be that perhaps they don’t feel heard or understood and just don’t know how else to get through to you? Are you staying in a relationship because it fits your own needs such as they are cute and popular which makes you feel better about yourself, because you need to be a care taker, or simply need to feel liked or needed? Do they make you feel valued and wanted? lf any of this is true then you need to look at other ways to feel valued and needed. Ask yourself what’s missing out of your life that needs to be fulfilled?
6. Know that it is not your responsibility to fix others. It’s not your job or responsibility to solve someone elses problems or to make them happy. Let go of this responsibility. You can’t change or control anyone else and trying to will be setting yourself up for failure.
7. Remind negative people about the positive in life. Discuss all that they have to be grateful for. Remind them of all the good they do. Tell them something positive about themselves and give them reasons to be grateful, if they need encouragement.
8. Find fun things to do. If you’re close with the negative person then try to set up some fun time. When they are in the fun zone, they are less likely to complain and it can help them forget their worries for a little bit. It also gives both of you something positive to look forward to.
About the Author: Diane Lang is a Therapist, Educator and Positive Living Expert. She has dedicated her career to helping people turn their lives around and is now on a mission to help them develop a sustainable positive attitude that can actually turn one into an optimist, literally.
Through her two books, “Creating Balance & Finding Happiness” and “Baby Steps: The Path from Motherhood to Career.” Diane has been speaking and empowering parents and adults nationwide. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Psychology at Montclair State University, located in NJ, where her college work includes mentoring students for personal issue advisement.
As an expert in her fields of therapy, Lang has been featured in the Daily Record, Family Circle, Family Magazine, Working Mother Magazine and Cookie Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV, Good day CT, Style CT, The Veira Network, CBS TV and “Fox & Friends”. She has also participated in a reality based Internet show, ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet. In addition Lang writes a blog for Pazoo.com.