Negative people are everywhere, although hopefully you’re not one of them. Most people prefer the idea of a calm life where problems are solved without conflict but In reality, that’s a little bit difficult to obtain. However, Daisa Catalina has some methods, a system even, that you can you to deal with the negative people you are faced with:
There are moments in our lives when we invariably end up confronting other people’s negativity. While conflicts are a natural part of our relationships, getting caught in negativity can sometimes ruin our best days. So how can we avoid falling into the trap of being put down by negative people?
This is a question that has been on my mind since childhood. I grew up in a loving family. But like most families, mine had its issues too. So the loving environment was occasionally disturbed by some pretty nasty conflicts. Most of the time, everything was latent. Still, negativity could be felt and because I was caught somewhere in the middle and never actually took sides, I was used as a means of venting frustration. Others would come to me and tell me their side of the story. I would simply listen, though in my mind it was just pointless drama which hurt and felt bad. Sadly, I couldn’t do much to change things.
So I had to develop a strategy to help me cope with the situation. In time, through trial and error, I managed to build a system that helped me avoid being dragged down by negativity. It’s been tested over and over again and works whenever I use it. Please note that this technique can be also applied effectively when dealing with difficult clients.
1. Avoid Confrontations When Emotions Are Intense
This is a general rule of successful conflict management. It’s actually what my folks didn’t do – they usually bottled up all sorts of unsaid things and acted on their emotions, when these reached a high intensity. The result was a mini-explosion, which could have been avoided if they decided to vent first and then discuss the issue.
Why should you do this?
The reason is simple. When your emotions are at peak they take you over. You stop thinking rationally and you lose your mental-emotional balance. You literally become your emotion and everything you say and do is a result of that. From that one-sided perspective you cannot make good decisions nor take proper action.
So vent your emotions first and proceed into conflict solving and solution finding afterwards.
How do you vent your emotions effectively?
I personally love to journal through them and I believe this is the best approach you can take. Journaling helps you acknowledge your feelings, which is very important for your sense of well-being. It also directs your focus and helps you go into the problem solving part too.
A second approach would be taking a walk through the park. Connecting with nature is a great way to release negativity. The physical activity will help your body release endorphins, which will give you a good feeling. Working out has similar effects too.
And while you can take control over your own emotional response in a conflict situation, there’s always at least one other person involved. They may not have taken the time to vent out their negativity and are ready to throw it at you.
If you find yourself in such a situation, proceed with the next steps.
2. Stay Aware
When we’re confronted with strong emotions in someone else, something in us reacts as well. Our bodies get into fight or flight mode and we feel the urge to retaliate or withdraw.
The key is to become aware of these emotions, notice and acknowledge them. Denying what we feel always backfires. The easiest way to stay aware is to keep the focus on the body and the breath.
I used to make this mistake in the past. I kept repeating to myself that I am calm and I tried to calm myself down in various ways, but all failed miserably. It was only when I started acknowledging and feeling my anger, that improvements started showing.
When you stay aware, you are able to feel and notice every emotion you have, but you also have the power to look at them as an observer. You can shift from “I am angry” to “I’m feeling anger”, which makes a huge difference.
Being angry means you are one with anger. Feeling the anger means it can freely flow through you and you can consciously choose to respond from an empowered state. You just have anger, but you are not anger anymore. That makes it easier for you to let go of it, just as if you were letting go of something you hold in your hands.
I have given the above example with anger because it’s the most common situation, but it can be applied to all sorts of emotions, like shame, guilt, resentment, etc.
3. Acknowledge The Other Person’s Feelings
I’ve noticed that a conflict gets disarmed really fast whenever I agree with the other person. By agreeing, there’s virtually no more room for a confrontation, so the intensity of the other person’s emotion drops considerably.
It’s a brilliant way to stop those people who use you as an outlet to vent their frustration or negativity. It spares you a lot of time and nerves.
What do you do when you really don’t agree with the other person?
Well, that’s the most common situation and I have a solution for that too. What you can do is agree with their feelings, not their opinions.
If they say they feel outraged because this and that happened, you can simply say “Yes, I can understand how that made you feel outraged”.
Truth is, they did feel outraged and your agreeing to that fact is not a lie. Of course, you may not have felt outraged in a similar situation, but that’s irrelevant.
Most misunderstandings occur because we expect others to react like we do and we hold ourselves as standards. But we’re prone to being wrong, because every individual has a different personal history and reacts in their own way.
4. Discover The Other Person’s Good Intention
Everyone enters a conflict with a good intention for themselves. That intention may be setting boundaries, freeing up repressed energy, getting more comfort, expressing themselves, etc.
The bottom line is that they get into the conflict with the expectation to get something good in the end, even if it’s just a good feeling.
These positive intentions underlie all our behaviors. But sometimes we choose destructive behaviors to fulfill such positive intentions.
In managing conflicts, it’s wise to look beneath the surface to understand what the positive intention of the other person is and respond to that. Sometimes their behavior may hurt us. But as long as we are aware that they have a good intention and we identify it, then we can act in an empowered manner and with more kindness towards them.
Sometimes it’s difficult to identify the positive intention. And at other times we may be prone to making false assumptions, which lead us on a wrong path.
The easiest way to find out what a person really wants is to simply ask them. It’s usually something specific, so the answer shouldn’t be hard to obtain.
You can say something like: “What do you actually want from this? And what good will it bring you?”. You may want to dig a little deeper too at times, if the real intention isn’t expressed from the beginning.
Having discovered the positive intention, you can proceed with problem solving.
5. Let Go Of Being Right
I know this is a really tough one and it’s much easier said than done. But it’s an essential step.
So far I have explained how you can disarm someone’s negative emotions. The second part of solving a conflict is finding solutions together with the other person.
So the discussion shouldn’t be about who is right or who is wrong. It should be about what can be done to creatively find a common ground and a proper way to solve the issues.
Blaming and holding on to the need of being right will only amplify negativity.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle. If you insist on being right and having things your way, you’ll recreate negativity and conflict in the future. Think about the long-term effects on the relationship and focus on finding solutions.
6. Whatever Happens, Know You Did Your Best
There may be times when you apply all the steps above and you still don’t get the expected results.
This is likely to happen when you work with lots of people and do some sort of customer service work. I know from my own experience in customer service, that some people just won’t cooperate, no matter what. You can’t please everyone, even if you strive to do your best all the time.
In the beginning, I used to feel bad about such situations. I knew how I did everything I could to help some customers and they were still unhappy. But then I understood that it was about them, not about me. I really did all I was capable of doing.
So even if you won’t reach your desired outcome, give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself for having done your best. As long as you strive to do your best, your conscience can be clean. Sometimes it’s really just about the other person and you don’t have control over their reactions and feelings.
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way and shifting the mindset from “I wasn’t able to solve this” to “I really did my best in this situation” has helped me bounce off the negativity of others very quickly.
This approach also helped me avoid getting emotionally abused by others. I acknowledged my limits and stopped trying to do everything to please everyone. I did my best as long as it was within the confined limits. If others didn’t respond well to that, I had the satisfaction of having done absolutely everything in my powers, while also keeping my integrity.
Daisa is a Personal Development Junkie keen on bringing out the Awesomeness in people. She blogs at BecauseICanDoIt.com, inspiring others to reach their highest potential, live with passion and become unstoppable.
How To Avoid Being Put Down By Negative People | Because I Can Do It
Do you have any friends or colleagues who are negative? 9 Helpful Tips To Deal With Negative PeopleFeatured photo credit: Cartoon illustration of a depressed man crying while sitting at a bar, smoking and drinking. Low key monochromatic blue, with plenty of copy space.via Shutterstock