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7 Clever Responses to Stop Negative People from Whining

7 Clever Responses to Stop Negative People from Whining

You are starting to feel your energy fizzle, as your mood drifts to a dark place. You try your best to stay positive, but ultimately, you end up feeling completely drained and even depressed. You’ve just encountered another negative person that has managed to suck all of the life out of you, with their whining and complaining.

You try your best to be supportive by agreeing with them or even getting annoyed on their behalf. This just seems to get them even more fired up and takes them through the dark cycle of repeating the same stories and the same complaints that you’ve heard many times before. Moods are contagious and you must be proactive to protect yourself from letting negative people bring you down. In order to avoid getting infected by pessimism, you must use clever conversational strategies to redirect their attention away from the source of their negativity.

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Here are 7 clever ways to respond to pessimism that will lighten the mood and keep the conversation flowing in a more positive direction.

1. “Wow, you seem really upset. Let’s talk about something else so you are able to cool down.”

This response shows empathy by offering to change subjects with their best interests in mind. When someone is extremely emotional, it’s best to completely change the topic. Their emotions will be way too high to have any reasonable conversation about the subject that set them off.

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2. “That sounds like a tough spot to be in. How are you going to get past it?”

With this reply, you are acknowledging their struggle. Negative people have a high desire to feel heard. Once you’ve empathized with their situation you can easily redirect them towards thinking of solutions. They will likely have a lot of pride and want to come up with one on the spot. If they say “I have no idea” then you may offer to help them brainstorm some ideas.

3. “I’m impressed at how well you are handling this situation.”

People who complain are usually craving attention. Most of the time, when someone is negative towards others, they are also very negative towards themselves. If you give them the love and praise they are craving, then this could disarm them and break them out of their negative thinking patterns.

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4. “I am so sorry that happened. I wonder if they realize how they made you feel?”

In most cases, people who whine and complain have made a lot of negative assumptions. They sometimes struggle to see things from others’ perspective. They are stuck in a victim mode mentality. When this happens, you can ask questions that get them thinking of possibilities they haven’t considered without directly arguing with them.

5. “What has worked for you in the past when these situations have come up?”

Negative people usually feel deeply disrespected and out of control. By putting them in control of the conversation and asking about their past experiences, you are putting them in the drivers seat. They will love this. This gives them the respect and attention they desire.

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6. “Oh no! Is there anything I can do to help you fix this?

With this response, you are showing them that you are on their team. They are likely feeling alone, which is leading to their negative perspective. Most of the time, they will not take you up on this. You will still make them realize you are on their team. That will go a long way with them.

7. “Wow, it sounds like you are having a tough day! What’s one thing going well for you today?”

This is a good response for someone who is complaining about several things at once. Usually they are stuck in a negative mindset and can’t keep themselves from focusing on negative things. This helps them to reflect on what they have to be grateful for today. It’s tough to be bitter and negative when you are in a grateful state.

In the end, it’s tricky to deal with negative people in a way that transforms their mood to a more positive state. You have to think outside of the box. This takes practices and preparation. You can’t simply confront negativity with more negativity because it will add fuel to the fire. On the flip side, you also can’t meet negativity with unfettered positivity because it feels like a slap in the face. The best way to handle a negative attitude is to acknowledge them and then redirect their focus.

This approach works because it isn’t confrontational and it doesn’t kill conversation. You are helping to give them the love and support they need without draining your own positivity. Try this out next time you encounter someone stuck in a mindset some might consider as whining. Turning around someone’s day will give you both a lot of energy and make a positive impact!

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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