How to deal with negative people
Do you have a partner or kid that clearly isn’t a morning person?
Do you then salute him or her with “Good Morning Sunshine” in the hope to change their mood.
But is all you are getting as a reply, a grumpy sigh or a don’t talk to me sneer?
When we experience another person’s behavior as a problem, we humans have a tendency of contrasting. Contrasting is acting in precisely the opposite way compared to the person.
For example when your daughter is heartbroken over the fact that her boyfriend broke up with her and you reply: “oh honey good riddance, he never deserved you and I never liked him in the first place. There are so many better boys out there”. Chances are high this is the last thing your daughter wants to hear and will now resent you for not understanding her pain.
In 9 out of 10 situations, contrasting doesn’t work at all. Because contrasting is a form of rejection.
You reject how the other is feeling about the situation.
The only way to effectively deal with negative people is a two-step process:
1. The first step is to truly accepting another person’s negativity.
2. The second step is to move with it.
Then, consider the following approaches:
1. THE SERIOUS APPROACH:
Ask the person how they are, and then seriously listen to their answer. Take their mental state seriously. Very often while you are taking the other person so seriously, they begin to lighten up a little. They begin to find some perspective and say things like, “well, I guess life isn’t all that bad…” And then disagree with them! When you encourage their darkness, they will begin to feel a little lighter as they will start contrasting themselves.
2. THE PROVOCATEUR:
If someone at work is completely negative about everything, you can elicit a different kind of behavior by asking a provocative question: “Well, if it’s really so bad, why do you work here?! You should just quit!” This will trigger them to start contrasting and feel lighter about their job.
Accept that you are dealing with a negative person. Accept people for who they are. But do be aware that once you accept it, you may very well end up changing your own behavior. You may not want to be around that person anymore, and may choose to end your relationship with them.
The fact of the matter is, you only have control over yourself and you can’t force the negative person into any kind of change.
Good luck and have a bright day!