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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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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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