How Do I Deal With Negative People in My Life?

How Do I Deal With Negative People in My Life?

via Very Well Mind by Amy Morin

Our Reader Asks

When I share good news with some of my friends or family members, they immediately point out the negative. Or, when I ask them how they’re doing, they just list all the bad things going on in the world. How do I deal with negative people in my life?

Amy’s Answer

It’s not fun to share good news only to have a naysayer remind you of all the things that could go wrong, and it’s overall discouraging to deal with negative comments. While you can’t change the people around you, there are steps you can take to respond to them in a positive way.

Give Feedback About Your Experience

If there’s a specific person in your life who always points out the potential pitfalls of your positive plans, gently point it out.

You might say, “When I told you how excited I was about this new job, you responded by telling me all the things I was probably going to hate about working for this company.” Simply pointing out an observation like that might raise someone’s awareness. After all, they may be negative so much that they don’t even realize that they’re doing it.

They also might think they’re doing you a favor. Someone might say, “I don’t want you to be naïve going into this situation so I had to give you a reality check about all the things that could go wrong.” Even though their heart might be in the right place, their negative attitude isn’t likely to be helpful.

Go After the Good

If someone always tells you about all the bad things going on in their lives, you might shift the conversation by going after the good. Ask a question like, “What was the best part of your day today?” or “What are some good things going on in your life right now?” 

You might also talk about the good things in your life. Acknowledge there are some things that aren’t all that great, but emphasize the importance of focusing on some of the good things, too.

The idea that you can talk about uplifting topics might be a revelation for some people. For those who have found they’re able to bond by commiserating with one another, the idea that you can celebrate positive things together might be a new idea…

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