9 Helpful Tips To Deal With Negative People

In both my personal and business life, negative people or employees can hurt you and your business. Some people are negative because they grew up that way and see the world through those lenses. Other people are negative because they found their “po me” rants get them attention or get other people to do the work for them. For others its a way to control other people.

A negative employee can poison the “well” of your good employees minds if your not careful and if you run a sales commission business, it can be a killer. In business and life they drag everyone down to suffer with them at their lazy level. Its easier to be a armchair quarterback pointing out what others do wrong than to actually go work it. When you bring someone into your life or hire them, their mental states in how they deal with problems is a key factor that can determine your success with them. Celestine of Lifehack.org wrote a really great Post I’d like to share with my readers. I hope this will inspire you:

1) Don’t get into an argument
One of the most important things I learned is not to debate with a negative person. A negative person likely has very staunch views and isn’t going to change that just because of what you said. Whatever you say, he/she can find 10 different reasons to back up his/her viewpoint. The discussion will just swirl into more negativity, and you pull yourself down in the process. You can give constructive comments, and if the person rebutts with no signs of backing down, don’t engage further. (Chris Voss point: Opinions are like butts, everyones got one. If theirs is negative, waste your airtime on something constructive elsewhere. Arguing is work, I’d rather go build something. No ones ever saved the world arguing on the Opinion page.)

2) Empathize with them
Have you ever been annoyed by something before, then have someone tell you to “relax”? How did you feel? Did you relax as the person suggested or did you feel even more worked up?

From my experience, people who are negative (or upset for that matter) benefit more from an empathetic ear than suggestions/solutions on what he/she should do. By helping them to address their emotions, the solutions will automatically come to them (it’s always been inside them anyway). (Chris Voss point: This is good but recognize if the “po me” becomes their main pattern of relationship with you. At that point you either have to get real with them or ignore them. I’ll usually put it right out to them: “You know your always so negative with me and I’m really tired of it.” Let them know to change.)

3) Lend a helping hand
Some people complain as a way of crying for help. They may not be conscious of it though, so their comments come across as complaints rather than requests. Take the onus to lend a helping hand. Just a simple “Are you okay?” or “Is there anything I can do to help you?” can do wonders.

4) Stick to light topics
Some negative people are triggered by certain topics. Take for example: One of my friends sinks into a self-victimizing mode whenever we talk about his work. No matter what I say (or don’t say), he’ll keep complaining once we talk about work.

Our 1st instinct with negative people should be to help bring them to a more positive place (i.e. steps #2 and #3). But if it’s apparent the person is stuck in his/her negativity, the unhappiness may be too deeply rooted to address in a one-off conversation, or for you to help him/her unravel it. Bring in a new topic to lighten the mood. Simple things like new movies, daily occurrences, common friends, make for light conversation. Keep it to areas the person feels positive towards.

5) Ignore the negative comments
One way to help the negative person “get it” is to ignore the negative comments. If he/she goes into a negative swirl, ignore or give a simple “I see” or “Ok” reply. On the other hand, when he/she is being positive, reply in affirmation and enthusiasm. Do this often and soon he/she will know positivity pays off. He/she will adjust to be more positive accordingly. (Chris Voss point: This is a great deflector to diffuse their negativity. Reward positive output, make negative less rewarding.)

6) Praise the person for the positive things
Negative people aren’t just negative to others. They’re also negative to themselves. If you already feel negative around them, imagine how they must feel all the time. What are the things the person is good at? What do you like about the person? Recognize the positive things and praise him/her for it. He/she will be surprised at first and might reject the compliment, but on the inside he/she will feel positive about it. That’s the first seed of positivity you’re planting in him/her and it’ll bloom in the long-term.

7) Hang out in 3’s or more people
Having someone else in the conversation works wonders in easing the load. In a 1-1 communication, all the negativity will be directed towards you. With someone else in the conversation, you don’t have to bear the full brunt of the negativity. This way you can focus more on doing steps #1 (Empathizing) and #2 (Helping the person).

8 ) Be responsible for your reaction
Whether the person is negative or not, ultimately you’re the one who is perceiving the person is negative. When you recognize that, actually the negativity is the product of your lens. Take responsibility for your perceptions. For every trait, you can interpret it in a positive and a negative manner. Learn to see the goodness of the person than the negative. It may be tough initially, but once you cultivate the skill, it becomes second nature.

9) Reduce contact with them / Avoid them
If all else fails, reduce contact with them or avoid them altogether. If it’s a good friend, let him/her know of the severity of the issue and work it out where possible. It’s not healthy to spend too much time with people who drain you. Your time is precious, so spend it with people who have positive effects on you.”

Chris Voss Point: Life is short and tough, you dont need more people dragging you down. I’ve offered negative people the books, The Secret and Tony Robbins, if they wont work to change they never will. I think of them as pigs who sit all day in their little mud puddle complaining about how bad the mud puddle is, yet they stay in it cause deep down its comfortable and they love it. In business, I’ve found many times the never ending complainers usually ARE the problem. It can take years to change ones perspectives on life, keep moving on with your positive life, you cant save everybody.

Source: Lifehack.org