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10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Negative People

10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Negative People

Do you want to be successful?

Do you want achieve great things in life and make all of your dreams come true?

Then one thing I think you have to be very careful about is deciding who you associate with in your life personally and professionally. What I have found is the most successful people that I’ve met have made it a rule to avoid negative people.

Here are 10 reasons why you should avoid negative people in your life.

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1. Negative people can affect your attitude

I’m now the author of 18 books, but when I first started writing I told anyone who would listen that the first goal was to write five books in three years. Friends and family were very encouraging, and told me that it was a great goal. Acquaintances however were quite a different story. Some of them said that I was being unrealistic, that I was setting the bar too high, and that writing five books in three years was nearly impossible. If I had chosen to listen to those negative people, or chosen to believe what they had to say, it would have affected my attitude about writing and my goals.

Negative people will discourage you and they will try to drag you down with them to the dark side. As Robert Tew once said, “Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out.”

2. Negative feedback from negative people affects your thinking

I’ve often said that negative people are ESV’s which stands for energy sucking vampires! The problem with negative people is if you hang around with them enough, and listen to them long enough, they start impacting your thinking, and you soon realize that instead of thinking positively you are thinking negatively. They are very stealth at this. Before you know it, you will find it can definitely impact the way that you think and change your belief system when it shouldn’t.

3. They are an energy drain

I have noticed that when I’m around positive people who are enthusiastic they raise other people’s energy levels. Negative people do the opposite; they tend to be an energy drain. I’ve seen some people walk into a room and the energy level goes up, and other people walk into a room and the energy level goes down. They suck the energy out.

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4. It damages your credibility

If you surround yourself with negative nasty naysayers, then you may not realize it but other people in your life will judge you by people that you associate with. If you hang around negative, small minded people it makes you look negative and small minded yourself. At one point in my life I had a business partner, who I worked on several projects with. For many reasons, I stopped doing work with him. After he stopped being my partner, several people said that they were surprised that I was ever doing business with them. Little did I know that my association with him was damaging my credibility.

5. Negative people won’t provide encouragement

Negative people are not only negative, they’re also great at discouraging you, and giving you negative feedback. They are so good at it they can make the negative sound like it makes sense. In life there’s going to be times when you are struggling or are facing adversity. What you need during those times is someone who will encourage you support you and convince you that it can be done, not someone who does the opposite. You need someone to lift you up not knock you down.

6. They are hard to get rid of

I meet many people as a professional speaker, and when we talk about negative people, they tell me that they do have a friend of theirs who is very negative that they have been friends with for years. When asked, they say they have been friends since high school, and that they would feel bad getting rid of them. I strongly encourage them to end the relationships with negative people because of the huge negative impact it’s having on their life. Yet they cling to that negative person because of a feeling of loyalty. As Hans F. Hanson once said “people inspire you or they drain you, pick them wisely.”

7. Life is too short

I don’t know about you, but life, I believe, is short, and I really do not want to spend my time being around negative, crabby, grumpy or grouchy people. They tend to make life miserable and I want to live a life of happiness. I want to live a quality life by being with quality people. So one of the ways of doing that is to limit my contact with negative people and to increase my contact with positive people, to bring me joy and happiness.

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8. Negative reinforcement versus positive reinforcement

Negative people will simply reinforce anything negative that you say, and give you all the reasons why you’re right in your negativity and toxic thinking. Positive people will tell you can do it, and will give you positive reinforcement which is what you need when you have doubts. Negative people will make you believe your doubts, while positive people will convince you that you’re wrong and that you can do it after all. As Joel Osteen once said “you cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.”

9. They love drama

In the past in my life, I have had negative people who were friends. Often they would have many dramatic things going on in their life, and I would try to coach them, help them, and support them. I would give them advice which they said was great advice, and that they would definitely make changes. But guess what? About a month later out I would have breakfast with them, and discovered that they still had the same drama, and I came to realization that they relished and enjoyed it.

The negative people of the world thrive on drama and believe me- it’s not something you need in your life. On top of that, they want to involve you as a character in the drama .As Tony Gaskins once said “negative people need drama like oxygen, stay positive, it will take their breath away.”

10. You won’t grow

If you’re friends with negative people, they will revel in stagnation and negative thinking and they really do not want to grow. Because they don’t want to grow, they want to discourage you from growing as well. The only way to move forward in your life is to associate with people who are also moving forward and will help you move forward with yours. The positive person has their foot on the gas pedal, and the negative person has a foot on the brake.

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So in the end it is up to you to decide what kind of people you’re going to be friends with, and the kinds of people you’re going to spend your time with. I strongly recommend that if you have negative friends you should end the relationship. If you have negative family members, we should spend as little time with them as possible. I guarantee you that if you eliminate negative people from your life you will be more successful, far more productive and truly happy. As W. Clement Stone once said “there is little difference in people but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude the big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

Featured photo credit: Isaiah Rustad via unsplash.com

More by this author

Shawn Doyle

Shawn is a certified professional speaker, author and an Executive and Life Coach.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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