You can be the most optimistic person, but if you’re around negative people, their negative outlook might rub off on you.
Everyone deals with problems, and understandably, it’s hard for some people to focus on the good in their lives. However, just because others throw themselves a pity party doesn’t mean you have to join in. Here are five ways to stay positive around negative people.
1. Take Control of the Conversation
There’s nothing wrong with a coworker venting his frustrations. But if a coworker or friend never has anything positive to say, his negativity can put a black cloud over your day.
You can’t control how others feel, but what you say can potentially help someone have a more positive outlook. So if a conversation goes in a negative direction, rather than feed into the negativity, incorporate something positive into the discussion.
2. Offer Support and Encouragement
Some people develop a negative attitude when they feel their life isn’t going well, and they’re often misunderstood by others. Instead of being judgmental, try and understand the other person. A negative person might drain the life out of you, but underneath it all, he or she may be a good person.
Support, commendation or encouragement may be exactly what a negative person needs to feel better. Saying something as simple as: “how can I help you,” or “why do you feel this way” can get a negative person talking and get to the root of his behavior.
3. Don't Take It Personally
Of course, support and encouragement don’t help every negative person. Some people won’t accept your help. They would rather complain than take steps to feel better. At the end of the day, you have to realize they’re the ones with the problem, not you.
When someone lashes out or responds negatively toward you, it’s hard not to take it personally. But if you lose your cool every time you’re around this person, you’re essentially giving him control over your emotions and behavior. You have to be the bigger person and shrug off attacks or negative talk.
4. Limit Contact with Negative People
You can’t always avoid negative people, especially if you work with a negative boss or coworker. But you can try and limit contact. You deserve to feel happy and good about yourself after an encounter with someone. So if people in your life tear down your self-esteem or kill your happy mood, you need to end these toxic relationships.
Spend as much time as possible with positive people to balance out the negative ones. For example, if your boss is a negative person and you struggle to stay positive at work, befriend co-workers who have a more positive outlook. You can have lunch with these people and get a daily dose of "happy" to get through the remainder of the day.
5. Focus Your Mind on the Positive
A negative person not only focuses on the negative in his life, he might call attention to the not-so-good aspects of your life.
People who think negatively give too much attention to unpleasant situations and fail to recognize the good in their lives. Misery loves company, but you can overcome negative feelings by focusing your mind on the positive. Think about things you’re grateful for, maybe your family or your health. Make a list of every positive thing happening in your life. Most likely, the good will far exceed the bad.
See Also: How to Respond to Negativity at Work
If you’re committed to being happy and content, don’t give negative people power over your mind and feelings. A negative influence can be strong, but you can rise above this type of thinking, and perhaps help a negative friend see the good in his life.
Have you ever been surrounded by negative people? How did you handle the situation?