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Negative people take away from your energy and make your unhappier and less productive. When at work, they make your work life miserable. When in your family, they reduce or destroy the quality of your personal life.
How do we deal with negative people in our lives?
It is not easy. But, we must find a way, otherwise, they will do major damage to our lives over short term, as well as long term.
1. Make an effort to understand what’s making them negative
In most of the cases, when you sit down to have this conversation, the reason for their negativity will emerge. Either they have been hurt or been wronged, or some of their desires have not been fulfilled, and that has caused them to become negative or destructive.
The first point is to understand what is making them negative and only when you understand, you can decide what you can do about it.
2. If the person is not willing to talk, refer them to a doctor
However, if this conversation is not possible and it is creating a ruckus in your life, you need to take a stand and refer them to a doctor who would be able to deal with the situation in a professional manner. This doctor could be a counsellor or a mental health professional, or anyone who is qualified to deal with issues related to mental health.
The negative person has to have a conversation. If they won’t have that conversation with you, they would need to have that with a professional, or there is no way to move forward.
3. If you are facing negativity at work, it depends on your working relationship
If you are facing negativity at work, it depends on the kind of person you are dealing with. Since corporate life is about hierarchies, you would need to deal with the person accordingly. If the person is your colleague, you could speak to them directly to try and understand what’s bothering them, and resolve the matter, if possible.
If the negative person is your boss, it will be a difficult working relationship. If this is the case, just feed in their ego while you must. People who have a big ego like to have their ego massaged. If you need the job desperately, you would have no choice in the situation but to deal with their negativity in the form of acceptance, and keep doing your work. If it gets too toxic, speak to the human resource, and try to move out of this working relationship.
Toxicity would do you more harm than the short term benefits of a salary.
3. Once you understand the reasons for negativity, see if you can resolve them
Negativity is harmful and in case you are reading this, you are in some sort of a relationship with the negative person. Once you understand what the reason for their negativity is, see if you can make some compromise in your time, schedule or attitude to resolve their problems.
If it is doable for you, you should resolve the matter, so that they can heal and the relationship can become a mutually productive or a happier one.
4. Help them see the glass full
Negative people have a difficult time to see the positive side of things. There is always a silver lining in the crowd. If they are open and willing to listen and understand, help them see the positivity in the situation, which may change their perspective.
5. Decide how far you would go
Yes, you do want to solve the problem and bring the negativity to closure. However, it will take your time and your energy. You need to decide how much effort and time you are willing to invest in the person to help them see the other side of the situation, which they are refusing to see at the moment. We don’t have forever in life, and therefore, we can’t be responsible for the outcome of somebody else’s negative thinking.
6. be compassionate
Although you would need to put your foot down and deal with the situation with a mature mind, please make the effort to be compassionate with the negative person. In most cases, as we said in the beginning, negativity is the outcome of pain and unfulfilled desires.
7. Watch your own emotions
When positive meets negative, the outcome is negative in mathematics. Observe your emotions through the process so that you don’t end up rubbing off their negativity to yourself. It takes a lot of effort to stay positive every day and since you are putting on that effort, you must ensure that your mental effort is not wasting in trying to change somebody else’s mental state.
Yes, you care for them, and that’s why you are involved but you can’t help anyone unless you help yourself first.
8. Give space
Sometimes, things can get quite overwhelming in a negative situation. People shout and scream, and things get dirty. Even at work, people get abusive when they are overtaken by negative emotions.
Give space to them and to yourself to take charge of your emotions. Sometimes, when people have time to think, they realize that their attitude is causing harm to others, and hence they correct their own behaviour.
9. Understand if there is a values clash
It is possible, especially in relationships, that there is a values clash. One person who is negative could value subordination, for example, while the other person values autonomy.
Now, if you value autonomy and you are in charge of this person’s performance professionally, you would expect them to handle their responsibilities on their own and come back to you with the outcome. However, since they value subordination, they would be expecting instructions.
In either case, if the source of negativity is identified as a values clash, it is solvable. It is a great way to look at most human relationship problems, be it personal or professional.
10. Set expectations of the relationship
Try and see if it is possible to set expectations of the kind of behaviour that’s acceptable. The problem with negativity is that it gets overpowering if it is not nipped in the bud. It is important that you control the negativity before it becomes too difficult to handle.
If it helps, write down the negative behaviours that are bothering you, and share it with them. Help them understand how their behaviour affects you and the entire relationship. If they agree to the definition of behaviour, it could help in making the relationship better.
11. Do what you can do to rein in the negativity
If there is something you can do, so it will help them in becoming less negative, do that. Anything that helps remove the negativity and toxicity from the environment would improve your mood, their mood, and enhance the quality of the overall relationship. When a relationship deteriorates, there is negativity in the air, and it becomes difficult to operate. It happens both in the professional and personal spaces.
Do whatever possible at your end to rein in the negativity.
12. Do not stop your life
While you are trying to fix the negative relationship in your personal or professional life, do not stop your life. It is a problem that needs to be fixed, and you must figure out what to do about it, since it affects your life adversely. However, do not stop your life in the quest. If you stop your life, you will become even more frustrated about the problem, since now it’s affecting how you operate in every area of your life.
Keep doing your work, no matter what happens. Life is movement.
13. Work even harder at keeping yourself positive
While it is important to keep ourselves positive at all times, it is even more important when you are dealing with negative people who unknowingly or knowingly are affecting your state of mind.
Meet other people who are positive, if not in person, than on social media. Keep having positive interactions for perspective that there is positivity in the world. If you don’t work on staying positive yourself, you would become a part of the negative spiral that you are trying to counter. There is no way you can do that.
14. Have patience
Although it sounds tough, but have patience. Life is hard for all of us and relationships are difficult. May be the person you are dealing with who is affecting you negatively is going through a mental turmoil that is making them so destructive, and if given time, they would heal? Most people are nice. They don’t mean to hurt other people deliberately.
15. Negative people are people
After all, negative people are people. They are complex and painful because somehow the realities of life and what they have gone through, with or without their fault has made them so. All of us are trying to be happy. All of us are trying to be loved. However, ever so often, in the craving to get loved, we hurt all our chances to be loved. We place so many expectations on other people that they can’t love us, and those expectations destroy relationships.
We are a bundle of emotions. Ideally, we want to be a bundle of happy and positive emotions, but it is not always possible. The struggles of life paired with our expectations and values make life complicated, and turn some of us into negative and toxic people.
16. If nothing works, call off the relationship
There is no way someone else can tell you that you tried everything. People leave jobs because of toxic bosses. Divorces happen, even when people start marriages hoping to love each other for the rest of their lives. Friendships turn toxic.
Life works its charms and otherwise on all of us. If you try everything to improve the behaviour of the person who is hurting you, and nothing works, maybe, it is good idea to call off the relationship. Maybe, that will lead the parties involved to lead happier and productive lives henceforth. This is the last resort, and you would want to do it, when all else fails.
Thank you for reading.
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