Today, I am going to talk to you about how to deal with negative people without becoming one. I’m going to give you four areas that you can consider, but you don’t have to because that’s what life is about, choice.
What I’m going to talk about is a little bit different because these days we always hear that the way to get rid of, or deal with negative people is to just leave. However, the reality is that most of us will not have the opportunity to just leave situations and people because they’re negative, because there will be people in our workforce. There will be people in our church. There will be people in our places of worship. There will be people in a number of areas. That does not mean we need to leave the whole situation to be able to deal with negative people.
When we get negative, the first thing we do is say, “Hey, you’re making me feel bad.” So, I’m going to make other people feel bad. Then, all of a sudden, we have this cycle of negativity. What I’m going to do is give you four things.
One, shift the mood. This can be simple, sometimes difficult, depending on how negative the person is. What you want to do during this time is to shift the mood by doing something positive, making humor part of the situation, uplifting the mood instead of blaming the person directly. I would never even acknowledge the person’s negative mood. I would just strictly try to shift it with humor, introducing something positive that may have happened, or a funny story, or a really positive experience that may have happened. Being able to shift the mood by you controlling it, not allowing that person to strictly control the energy becomes about actually acknowledging it within. Even though this is a negative energy, I am going to shift it by actually trying to be positive.
The second one is a lot harder for us to do sometimes, because we tend to think that person should just get over it. We all have bad things happen to us, but it’s empathized. We all have bad days where we’re not our best self. What you want to do is empathize and put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself what could have happened today that put them in this mood. Why is this person struggling to be able to keep their mood in a positive light? Is there something going on at home? Is there something going on in their relationship with the boss, if we’re at work? Is there something going on with their relationship, with how to learn or do these materials that they have to get done, if they’re in school? What is causing this negativity? Empathize instead of automatically assuming that they are a negative person.
All I’m doing is empathizing. I am not, and I stress this part, I am not assuming their energy. I’m just empathizing with it. I’m just strictly saying there could be something bigger than me and I hope that they will be okay. I hope that they will get what they need to feel better. I am actually going to start to actually think positive about what I wish for them to be well.
The next one is to use their energy to see if you are doing a good self-assessment about your energy staying positive. This is one of those things where it’s kind of self-absorbed, but it actually gives you an opportunity to use that negative person’s energy to determine if I know how to keep my energy positive around the negative.
How do I do that? First off, I’m not going to complain about that person’s energy. I’m not going to say, “Hey, if his energy changed there, maybe I could get into a better mood,” or “Why did he make my mood go down?”. What I’m going to do is see if I can learn ways to be able to challenge myself to stay positive around that person.
This is a technique that I actually use myself a lot because I have a lot of energy. Sometimes, it could be a lot for people. What they will sometimes do is automatically try to bring my mood down to theirs. Instead of me letting them do that, what I make sure I do is I check myself against their mood. Then I actually try to maintain my own balance of happiness, calmness, and peace, regardless of their negativity. Just some of the ways that I do that is actually to do a quick self-assessment. Is there something that happened recently that could be the reason that they’re negative? Something that I did or said? If that person doesn’t acknowledge it or tell me, I can’t read your mind. I’m going to continue my positive mood regardless.
What I’m going to do after I do that quick check is say, what do I need to stay positive in this moment? Then what it might be is music, laughter, it might be acknowledging a happy situation in my mind or even out loud to the person. That also gives that opportunity to shift the actual mood into the direction that I wanted to go into. What I’m doing by that is empowering myself to maintain my own joy around negative people and being able to first acknowledge that that person’s negativity is not my responsibility. Secondly, being able to then do what I need to do to be happy in the moment and to stay positive.
Last, set some boundaries. Okay, I’ve empathized. I’ve tried to shift the mood. I’ve actually maintained my energy and every experience or exposure to you still feels negative. What I would ask at that point is that you actually set a boundary, a boundary that says, “Hey, you know, I don’t know what’s going on with you. I’m not sure if things are happening, that you’re not comfortable with sharing with me. However, because we are in this work setting and it’s already stressful. I would love for us to find a way for us to keep the energy high. What are some things that you think we can do to make that happen?”
What I did was I challenged that person to set a boundary. A boundary is saying, I need you to pick this energy up because I have to deal with you one-on-one all the time. I’m asking in a way that is giving a request, but also asking for some options. Maybe you know something. Maybe you’ll put your music on or when I see you get your mood down; I can acknowledge it and you’ll shift it back up. What I’m doing there is I’m setting boundaries, but I’m also requesting assistance in making it better without assuming I’m just going to not deal with that person. Here’s the thing, negative people are in our families. Negative people are in our houses. Negative people are in our jobs, or in our places of worship. As I said earlier, they’re all around us. If we think by chance, we’ll be able to elude all of them. Then, we also are fooling ourselves to think that we don’t need to learn to control our own energy around all kinds of people.
If after all of those things, you cannot find a way to be positive. Then you can try some other things like leaving the situation, moving away from the situation, or revisiting the negative person once they’ve increased their mood, but you don’t always have those options. My main point of this one was that you don’t always have to run away from negative people. Sometimes we ourselves are those negative people. If everyone left us, how would that ever give us the opportunity to be better? Consider that as you’re working on dealing with negative people and not becoming one yourself.