How to Handle a Negative Person

Note: This is a series of posts on How to Handle Difficult People. These articles will guide you on how to interact with a difficult person without severing your relationship with them.

Being with a negative person is extremely difficult. 

He constantly complains about everything in his life.

He is fearful and always presumes that nothing good is ever going to happen.

Even if you talk for only a few minutes, you can be affected by his negativity.

You can always avoid people like these. But if you can’t, here are some ways on how to handle them.

1. Try not to engage in their negativity

A negative person sees the negative things and overlooks the good stuff all the time. He always overstates problems and concerns, which makes the situation worse than what it is.

Notice these things and beware. You can listen and give support, but don’t make his problem yours.

When he keeps on complaining about the same things over and over again every time you talk to each other, just give a cool nod or a simple “okay” reply.

When he talks about something positive, respond with excitement and approval. This way he will realize that you don’t want to engage in his negativity.

2. Spend as little time as possible

Another important tip is to become aware of the length of time you are spending with negative people.

A popular Jim Rohn quote says that “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

This means that hanging out with specific types of people can directly affect who you will become.

You can entertain negative people for a few minutes, but avoid spending time with them as much as possible.

3. Only talk in a group

Most of the time, a negative person only likes to complain when in a one-on-one conversation.

Only talk in a group to avoid it. When he starts speaking, at least the negative force is distributed to all group members and not just on you alone.

Another thing is a person tend to only show his good side when talking with more than one person.

4. Be objective

A negative person is always finding fault in others.

He can only see the errors, deficiencies, and flaws, and is vocal about it.

Try to understand that he does not really mean any harm and it is just comes with his nature as a negative thinker.

Don’t take his words personally and try to be objective about what he is saying.

If you can, show and help him recognize the positive side of a situation. Tell him “that’s what you think, but what about…”

5. Gradually inject positivity

Slowly introduce positivity every time you interact.

Usually, his condition is the result of a lack of truly positive influences in his life.

It is not your job to make him happy or improve him, but you can make small contributions at least during the times when you do interact.

By consistently doing the above-mentioned tips, you will little by little guide him towards a life of positivity without him even knowing it.