Do you know someone who is always negative? Do you feel like this person drains you emotionally? Do you feel like you can’t stand being around that person?

Trying to stay positive while in the presence of someone negative can feel almost impossible at times. It can even make you feel demeaned, attacked, or depressed. The first step in dealing with negative people is to become aware of who these people are in your life. This can sometimes be tricky, as there are some people who are extremely nice, but are also negative at the same time. These types of personalities look for the disappointing side to everything – they may appear pleased at the misfortune of others and may complain constantly about the world they live in. By putting others down, they may increase their own feelings of worthiness.

At times the person who pressures another into high performance levels may feel they are doing the other person some sort of favor. They may also go to the other extreme and expect the worst, so as not to be disappointed.

The best way to deal with negative people takes practice and time, as such behaviour does not come naturally to us. One way to deal with negative people is to change the subject when a negative topic comes up, without arguing. Just refuse to engage in the conversation – you may even have to leave the room if you feel negativity creeping in.

Another method is to take negative statements and re-frame them into more positive ones. Try being around negative people only when other more positive people are present, as this can help to balance out the frustration you may feel. Point out the positives in the person, not the negatives.

Arguing with a negative person doesn’t work, it simply reinforces the person’s desire to stay that way. Try to resist being influenced by the comments, and keep a positive attitude when with that person (this is much harder than it sounds!).

Some things to remember about negative people are reflected in Judy Orloff’s book Positive Energy. Keep in mind that negativity reflects who someone is as a person. It shows where they have come from, and has nothing to do with you. If it is a family member and you don’t really have a choice about having contact with them, then remaining detached and ignoring negative comments might be a solution. If you need to, picture yourself surrounded by a bubble which protects you from the negativity.

Another thing to remember is that a person’s comments can only get to you if you let them. This person wants to get a reaction out of you. If you choose not to let things get to you, they won’t. If you experience feelings of guilt, hurt, anger, or anxiety when someone is negative, think about why you are feeling that way. If you can understand what that person brings out in you, the effect will not be as strong.