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How to Overcome the Negativity of Others

What do you do when you’re around someone who can’t seem to notice or say anything positive? It can be tough to not let their mood and outlook have an effect.

So, who tends to breed negativity in your life? Is it your boss, coworker, family, or friends? Maybe you’re the one who tends to view things pessimistically at times.

Either way, no one will always have a wonderful day free of frustrations. We are simply going to experience negativity at times; but despite this we do have a choice in how we let negativity effect us. When we experience a negative person it’s important to not them bring us down.

If you’re having a difficult time with a negative person, here are a few ideas to consider.

1) Learn to respond instead of react. This means recognizing when we are encountering negativity so we can prepare mentally and decide how we want to respond. We may want to ignore the comments and not let them get to us, however depending on the situation we may have to interact with the person.

Have you ever been in a work meeting where someone shoots down every good idea and can only see the negative side of things? In these cases we may have to deal with the negativity to prevent it from spreading to others.

Make sure to stop and think. Don’t let the negativity begin to rub off on you. This person is free to have their opinion and as you will see, there are effective ways to work past the negative energy.

2) Focus on the facts instead of emotions. It can be natural to get upset when someone else pointing out all the flaws and mistakes around them. Mind your ego and don’t take it personally. Stay calm and don’t escalate the situation. This means avoid insults, accusations, name calling, and blaming the other person, such as, “You’re always so negative and rude!”

Don’t let the negativity get to you and overtake your attitude. You have the responsibility to not let the situation get out of hand.

3) Once you are ready to respond, an effective way to deal with negativity is to listen attentively and validate how the person feels. It may be tough, but the last thing they want to hear is, “Come on, it’s such a beautiful day, get over the new acquisition.”

Put yourself in other person shoes by being empathic and caring for what the other person is going through. A negative person is often viewing things in a pessimistic manner, so it’s tough for them to see the positive. They also may be having a rough day full of hassles.

Help them regain a sense of control and begin to help them see that not everything is going to turn out horribly. Keep focused on the positive and point out some of the benefits they may be overlooking.

4) Convert negative energy into something productive by helping them to resolve the problem or find a compromise. When someone has a negative attitude they probably aren’t able to think as clearly and be as creative in finding a solution.

Negative thinkers often view things in black and white, concrete terms. They only see one option and feel helpless to do anything about it. Help them find solutions they may not notice.

Negativity can be difficult to deal with, particularly when it’s chronic and directed toward us. However, we don’t have to let the negativity of others bring us down if we are prepared and open to deal with it effectively.

It what situation do you usually experience negative people? How do you deal with it?

Photo credit: gideon_wright

How to Overcome the Negativity of Others

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2011). How to Overcome the Negativity of Others. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Jun 2011
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