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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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