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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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