8 tips on how to deal with negative people

Woman holding a smiling face and sad face

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – Everyone has that negative person in their life. The hardest part about that negative person is learning how to respond to them. Here are some simple ways to help you deal with that negative person in your life.


1) Don’t get involved. When that person is going off again about how their life is falling apart because the barista at Starbucks didn’t put enough whip cream on their drink, just smile.  There’s no reason to get involved so stay detached.

2) Switch topics. It’s okay to lend a listening ear and be supportive, but the minute it starts becoming the same conversation about the same issues, it’s time to stop engaging. Stopping a negative conversation is easy using “I see,” and “Gotcha.”  Better yet, change the topic. Bring up the weather or weekend plans, try to change the conversation to a more upbeat one.

3) Power in numbers.  Make sure that when you interact with your negative person, that you are chatting in a group. Having one-on-one conversations with a negative individual can be mentally draining. So, make sure there is a third party present.  Having more people around has the potential to bring out the positive side in the negative person.

4) Tell me something positive. After they have told you their woeful tale of the day, ask them to tell you something good that happened to them today. This little reminder may actually cause them to realize how negative they have been lately.  On the flip side, they could respond with, “Nothing good happened.” Don’t let that get you down. Tell them how you try to appreciate the good things daily, big or small. The positive influence may help them realize their negativity.

5) Keep conversation light. If talk about work causes the negative individual to play the victim, avoid that topic.  Talk about movies, weather, fun upcoming events. Leave the heavier topics for a different friend.

6) Don’t react. Some negative people say harmful or offending statements during conversation to get a reaction.  It’s hard not to take offense. Instead, pretend you are rubber. Remember the old childhood saying, “I am rubber, you are glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.”  Let the comments bounce off and choose not to react.

7) Who you are with is what you will be. Moderate how much times you spend with that negative person. The more you hangout with a negative individual increases your chance of becoming negative as well, without even realizing it. In order to avoid this, just keep track of how often you are around that person.  Stay positive.

8) You don’t need to fix it.  Many people who become a shoulder for the negative person to cry on, are fixers.  Realize that this does not need to be your role. You are not the reason for their unhappiness. They really don’t want anyone to help them anyways, they just want to steal your energy. Say goodbye to the energy sucker. It sounds mean, but it gives them less of a chance to bring you down.

Keeping the positivity alive is difficult when dealing with a negative person. Just make sure to use these simple tips to be the positive light, even if you’re the only one.

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