This week I am coming up with ways to minimize the impact of those Negative Nellies we all have in our lives. Do you know the type of person I mean? That person that you might encounter regularly who always seems to be in a bad mood. Or perhaps they are just constantly complaining, no matter the situation. If you listen to them long enough you begin to wonder if they would ever be happy or satisfied even if their life situation became their own definition of paradise?
Unfortunately I often find myself slipping into negative thoughts when I am around this type of person for too long. So I recently started lining up steps in my mind for how to deal with this kind of encounter. Here are a few of the responses or actions that I can take when avoiding the trap of the Negative Nellie.
1. Change the subject
Suppose you are in a meeting and your coworker is bashing the boss’s latest decisions. Or maybe you are at the playground and the mommy group is chatting about another mom in a way that you aren’t comfortable with. The negative attitude is starting to spread and you are starting to get that prickly feeling that gives you tight shoulders and a headache. The best start is to change the subject! Bring a new question or a piece of information on a new topic. Even if it is just asking where your girlfriend bought her new handbag, it can defuse the situation and bring a break to the negativity.
2. Ask the Negative Nellie what she means.
If you feel up to it you can ask her kindly if she is feeling alright. Often she is tired, stressed, or has a situation going on at home that has her very worried. Sometimes if you ask her what she means she will realize that she isn’t really trying to be so grouchy but is just venting some of her frustrations.
3. When all else fails, walk away.
Occasionally, nothing works. No matter how upbeat you try to be and no matter how many innocuous subject changes you try, the Negative Nellie just keeps grousing. sometimes for the sake of your own sanity you just have to find an excuse to get away. Try to spend less time around this person for a little while in hopes that they will mellow with a little time. At least don’t be around them when you are feeling anxious or negative yourself. If you have to be near them, make sure you keep the time period as short as possible and give yourself a pep talk before and after and make sure you do something relaxing for yourself later.
We can’t all have happy pleasant surrounding all the time, but with a little practice we can reduce the impact of those people in our lives that can bring our day down. As a bonus, we may be the positive influence on others that we seek for ourselves!
What do you think? Have you had these experiences lately? How do you cope with the negative nature of people?
Peace and health,