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8 Ways To Deal With Negative People

8 Ways To Deal With Negative People

No matter how positive your outlook on life may be, you’re bound to attract some negative people to you at many times throughout your life. Hypothetically, you might think it’s easy to rid yourself of a bad relationship, especially because you don’t want to be dragged down with them. However, it’s not that simple. Being the positive person you are, you most likely care deeply about everyone around you, including the “Debbie Downers” in your life. While it would certainly be cold-hearted to shut people out of your life just because they’re down in the dumps, there are numerous ways you can deal with them without letting their negativity affect you.

1. Don’t give too much of yourself

It’s one thing to be a shoulder to cry on, but it’s another to give so much of yourself that you lose your own positive outlook on life. Don’t let others change your perspective. It won’t happen overnight, but continuously surrounding yourself with negativity will slowly poison your mind, dragging you down without you even realizing it. Take note of how much you give of yourself, compared to how much others take from you. If you’re giving more than you’re getting, you’ll end up empty.

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2. Give negative people less power over you

Pessimistic people can be pretty persuasive. While you always try to see the silver lining of bad situations, they’ll do their best to convince you the dark cloud overhead is what matters. What you see as pessimism, they see as reality. Don’t let them cloud your own outlook. It’s healthy to be realistic, but we should always try to err on the side of optimism.

3. Don’t hold yourself responsible for their happiness

As a friend and overall good person, you want others around you to be equally as happy. However, it’s not your job to make it so. You can help by being there when someone needs you. You could invite them out to do something fun when they’re feeling down. You shouldn’t feel like a failure if; at the end of the day, they’re back to their old pessimistic self. Negativity is a mindset that can only be changed if the person is willing to change it.

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4. Don’t take their negativity personally

Negative people aren’t actively looking to offend others. Then again, they also don’t really care much for other people’s feelings whatsoever. Knowing this, you shouldn’t take offense when your efforts to cheer someone up don’t help. And you definitely shouldn’t take offense when they neglect your friendship. While you’re busy thinking of everyone else, negative people are selfishly worrying about their own mood and mindset. Don’t take it as a personal affront. Keep in mind, it’s simply how they treat all people when they’re feeling low.

5. Don’t argue with them

Negative people usually can’t be persuaded, no matter how hard you try. Don’t fight with them about things such as their outlook on life. Don’t try to give a laundry list of how “things could be worse” or how “it’ll get better.” No matter what you say, pessimists will more than likely have a counter-argument that will only serve to prove their point. When negative people are in a funk, they almost seem to thrive on their negativity. Save yourself time and energy, and don’t fight a losing battle.

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6. Consider their perspective

Maybe it’s not just their mindset? Maybe things really are going terrible for that person? It’s always important to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, when faced with a contrasting viewpoint. Like I said, it’s fruitless to argue with a pessimist. To be fair, more often than not all they want is to be heard. Listen to what they have to say, and commiserate with them (even if you’re only doing so on the surface). They might just need to vent and get all their frustration out in the open. So even if you don’t have any actionable advice, at least show that you’re trying to see things from their point of view.

7. Be empathetic

While considering their perspective, look at all the factors surrounding the person’s mood: their upbringing, their home life, their job, etc. This will benefit you in two ways: For one, you’ll better understand where they’re coming from, and better understand them as a person. Secondly, you’ll realize that not everyone shares the same advantages you’ve had. In the process, you might end up appreciating your life even more than you already did. In turn, you’ll be more inclined to help a friend out while not letting it drain you completely.

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8. Don’t force anything

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Remember, sometimes negative people actually enjoy being in a funk. You can spell out all the positive aspects of their life and give them as much actionable advice as possible, but they will probably still remain stoic and pessimistic. There’s nothing you can do about it. Let them have their time. If they choose to snap out of it, you’ll regain the friend you once had. If they can’t bring themselves to dig themselves out of their self-made hole, that’s their choice. You should feel comfortable knowing you did the best you could to help them.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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