Bach Flower Advice

How to deal with negative people

How to deal with negative people

Negative people are the black holes of human society. Who hasn’t experienced that negative friend, colleague or co-worker who complains endlessly about other people, their jobs, their lives and anything else they can think of? That pervading sense of unease, pessimism, distrust and fatalism is potentially very damaging. It can really sap your energy if someone you know is constantly negative, sharing the drama of their lives, without ever offering any solutions to their countless problems.

It is difficult to shake off the negativity, but the energy created can be destructive, so you need to find ways of dealing with negative people. Here’s a few ideas that may help.

Avoid them

Yes, it’s pretty obvious. You may feel guilty about doing so, but avoiding people who bring you down is the single best tactic for keeping your own positivity intact. Negative people will knock your ideas, and suck you dry like an energy vampire. All of your own good intentions will fly out of the window, so when you see them, swerve!

Create boundaries

If you absolutely have to have contact with a negative person, create your own boundaries. Give them five minutes of time and then politely excuse yourself. Another useful tactic is to listen to what they have to say, but once they start repeating themselves, again, take your leave. Don’t become involved. Just listen politely, nod and make a non-committal comment. Then be on your way.

Understand them

If the negative person who brings you down is someone close to you, you may decide you want to try and understand their perspective on life. There are three basic reasons why people are negative. There are:

  • A fear of being disrespected by others
  • A fear of not being loved by others
  • A fear that “bad things” will happen.

These fears often combine and a negative person will think the world is a dangerous place and people are horrible. They begin to misread situations and interpret even well-meaning comments in a perverse way. They will have a thin skin, are afraid of judgement and may well be risk averse. Understanding where the negativity stems from, may help you deal with the situation better.

The trick is to be compassionate – understand they have issues, but don’t take those on yourself. Don’t lecture them, don’t advise them, and don’t make suggestions. If you do any of these things, you may find it can backfire spectacularly.

Be a friend

If you have a negative friend who you know is struggling, don’t wait for their negativity to manifest itself in irritation, anger or outbursts, try and bolster their spirits every time you see them, but without dispelling copious amounts of your own energy. Offer a compliment, remind them of something they did well, or a happy memory. Remember though, don’t engage them in a diatribe of their negativity.

Avoid being controlled

Some negative people feel the need to control the behaviour of others, and so will call people out on what they eat, what they wear, how they behave etc. Be polite and firm and make your own choices. You can gently tell them that you disagree, but don’t waste your time getting into an argument.

Don’t over think the situation

Negative people often behave and think irrationally. There is very little point in wasting your own time and energy trying to understand their actions. Limit your own amount of emotional investment in whatever is annoying them.

Consider how others will see your own reaction

You may well be surrounded by numerous people who irritate you. Far better to choose the battles you become involved in, rather than biting at every opportunity. If you are constantly irritated, people will see you as a problem, perhaps they will think of you as a negative and argumentative person. The best thing to do in many situations is to walk away. People will respect you more if you just shrug it off.

Build up your own positive network

To counter negativity among colleagues etc., why not build up a network of contacts and colleagues who are quite the reverse? Have coffee with people who really cheer you up, and use positive people as support for when others are bringing you down. Use their objectivity to cast fresh light on a situation.

Take ownership of your own feelings

The negative person is triggering you in some way. Sure, they are annoying, but something is also amiss with you. By being irritated you are judging, blaming and criticizing (rightly or wrongly). Is your reaction an overreaction? Can you shift your focus to what is positive about the negative person? Are you willing to try?

Finally - Be the shining light you want others to be

You can’t demand of others what you are not prepared to be yourself, so for the sake of your own happiness and wellbeing, set a positive example and remain upbeat and optimistic. This can sometimes be extremely off-putting to those of a negative bent, and you may find they naturally start to avoid contact with you!

Created by Tom Vermeersch ()

Tom Vermeersch

Tom Vermeersch is a certified Psychologist and Bach flower expert with more than 30 years of experience.

Other articles

Signs of depression under the radar

It is not always obvious when someone is experiencing depression. Some people with depression mask their symptoms, hiding their feelings behind a smile to convince others they are happy.

Do you expect too much from others? Find out!

Most people are disappointed when others don't meet their expectations. But when you always expect too much, it isn't healthy, either for yourself or for others. If you often find yourself feeling let down by your loved ones or even by strangers, could it be that you have unrealistic ideas of how people should act?

Why it's never too late to change

People always think: that’s just me. I'm not good at 'X', that is just my character. Here are some reasons why it's never too late to change.

Looking for happiness? Just stop!

Many people focus on finding happiness. But just as those who try too hard to be cool are never cool, if you're always striving to be happy, you will never achieve happiness. What's the problem? Perhaps you're just trying too hard!

I lost it all. What now?

Life gives but also takes away. And when what we've lost is a relationship or a loved one, we all know that the loss can lead to emotions such as anger and grief. But what if what you've lost is your health, your job, or a precious object?

Why not me?

It's natural to compare our own lives with those of others - weighing up the pros and cons of situations helps us make decisions. But there can be a downside when you find you're constantly comparing yourself with others, envying their seemingly perfect lives and wondering why they are luckier, more prosperous, and better looking than you.

Letting go of the past: 5 tips

Lynn Anderson told it very nicely in her song “I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden”. Life isn’t all roses and everybody experiences something they would rather not once in their life.

Learn to forgive: How?

Forgiving someone isn't very easy, especially when you're hurt. Yet it is important to learn to forgive. Why and how? Read on and get to know.

Six things we think will make us happy, but don't!

When you think about things that will make you happy, what are the images that come to mind? Wealth, beauty, a dream house, long holidays, a top of the range car? Happiness is not a constant and how happy we feel depends on the way we choose to live our lives. 

Start of spring, a new start, a fresh start

Do you find that every Spring you feel that it is time to make a new start, to make a new you? This ‘spring-cleaning’ we all yearn for is deeply ingrained within all of us.

How to deal with negative people

How to deal with negative people
How to deal with negative people

Negative people are the black holes of human society. Who hasn’t experienced that negative friend, colleague or co-worker who complains endlessly about other people, their jobs, their lives and anything else they can think of? That pervading sense of unease, pessimism, distrust and fatalism is potentially very damaging. It can really sap your energy if someone you know is constantly negative, sharing the drama of their lives, without ever offering any solutions to their countless problems.

It is difficult to shake off the negativity, but the energy created can be destructive, so you need to find ways of dealing with negative people. Here’s a few ideas that may help.

Avoid them

Yes, it’s pretty obvious. You may feel guilty about doing so, but avoiding people who bring you down is the single best tactic for keeping your own positivity intact. Negative people will knock your ideas, and suck you dry like an energy vampire. All of your own good intentions will fly out of the window, so when you see them, swerve!

Create boundaries

If you absolutely have to have contact with a negative person, create your own boundaries. Give them five minutes of time and then politely excuse yourself. Another useful tactic is to listen to what they have to say, but once they start repeating themselves, again, take your leave. Don’t become involved. Just listen politely, nod and make a non-committal comment. Then be on your way.

Understand them

If the negative person who brings you down is someone close to you, you may decide you want to try and understand their perspective on life. There are three basic reasons why people are negative. There are:

  • A fear of being disrespected by others
  • A fear of not being loved by others
  • A fear that “bad things” will happen.

These fears often combine and a negative person will think the world is a dangerous place and people are horrible. They begin to misread situations and interpret even well-meaning comments in a perverse way. They will have a thin skin, are afraid of judgement and may well be risk averse. Understanding where the negativity stems from, may help you deal with the situation better.

The trick is to be compassionate – understand they have issues, but don’t take those on yourself. Don’t lecture them, don’t advise them, and don’t make suggestions. If you do any of these things, you may find it can backfire spectacularly.

Be a friend

If you have a negative friend who you know is struggling, don’t wait for their negativity to manifest itself in irritation, anger or outbursts, try and bolster their spirits every time you see them, but without dispelling copious amounts of your own energy. Offer a compliment, remind them of something they did well, or a happy memory. Remember though, don’t engage them in a diatribe of their negativity.

Avoid being controlled

Some negative people feel the need to control the behaviour of others, and so will call people out on what they eat, what they wear, how they behave etc. Be polite and firm and make your own choices. You can gently tell them that you disagree, but don’t waste your time getting into an argument.

Don’t over think the situation

Negative people often behave and think irrationally. There is very little point in wasting your own time and energy trying to understand their actions. Limit your own amount of emotional investment in whatever is annoying them.

Consider how others will see your own reaction

You may well be surrounded by numerous people who irritate you. Far better to choose the battles you become involved in, rather than biting at every opportunity. If you are constantly irritated, people will see you as a problem, perhaps they will think of you as a negative and argumentative person. The best thing to do in many situations is to walk away. People will respect you more if you just shrug it off.

Build up your own positive network

To counter negativity among colleagues etc., why not build up a network of contacts and colleagues who are quite the reverse? Have coffee with people who really cheer you up, and use positive people as support for when others are bringing you down. Use their objectivity to cast fresh light on a situation.

Take ownership of your own feelings

The negative person is triggering you in some way. Sure, they are annoying, but something is also amiss with you. By being irritated you are judging, blaming and criticizing (rightly or wrongly). Is your reaction an overreaction? Can you shift your focus to what is positive about the negative person? Are you willing to try?

Finally - Be the shining light you want others to be

You can’t demand of others what you are not prepared to be yourself, so for the sake of your own happiness and wellbeing, set a positive example and remain upbeat and optimistic. This can sometimes be extremely off-putting to those of a negative bent, and you may find they naturally start to avoid contact with you!


Marie Pure

Other articles


Signs of depression under the radar

Signs of depression under the radar

It is not always obvious when someone is experiencing depression. Some people with depression mask their symptoms, hiding their feelings behind a smile to convince others they are happy.

Read the complete article

Do you expect too much from others Find out!

Do you expect too much from others? Find out!

Most people are disappointed when others don't meet their expectations. But when you always expect too much, it isn't healthy, either for yourself or for others. If you often find yourself feeling let down by your loved ones or even by strangers, could it be that you have unrealistic ideas of how people should act?

Read the complete article

Why it's never too late to change

Why it's never too late to change

People always think: that’s just me. I'm not good at 'X', that is just my character. Here are some reasons why it's never too late to change.

Read the complete article

Looking for happiness Just stop!

Looking for happiness? Just stop!

Many people focus on finding happiness. But just as those who try too hard to be cool are never cool, if you're always striving to be happy, you will never achieve happiness. What's the problem? Perhaps you're just trying too hard!

Read the complete article

I lost it all. What now

I lost it all. What now?

Life gives but also takes away. And when what we've lost is a relationship or a loved one, we all know that the loss can lead to emotions such as anger and grief. But what if what you've lost is your health, your job, or a precious object?

Read the complete article

Why not me

Why not me?

It's natural to compare our own lives with those of others - weighing up the pros and cons of situations helps us make decisions. But there can be a downside when you find you're constantly comparing yourself with others, envying their seemingly perfect lives and wondering why they are luckier, more prosperous, and better looking than you.

Read the complete article

verleden-loslaten

Letting go of the past: 5 tips

Lynn Anderson told it very nicely in her song “I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden”. Life isn’t all roses and everybody experiences something they would rather not once in their life.

Read the complete article

Learn to forgive How

Learn to forgive: How?

Forgiving someone isn't very easy, especially when you're hurt. Yet it is important to learn to forgive. Why and how? Read on and get to know.

Read the complete article

Six things we think will make us happy, but don't!

Six things we think will make us happy, but don't!

When you think about things that will make you happy, what are the images that come to mind? Wealth, beauty, a dream house, long holidays, a top of the range car? Happiness is not a constant and how happy we feel depends on the way we choose to live our lives. 

Read the complete article

Start of spring, a new start, a fresh start

Start of spring, a new start, a fresh start

Do you find that every Spring you feel that it is time to make a new start, to make a new you? This ‘spring-cleaning’ we all yearn for is deeply ingrained within all of us.

Read the complete article

Bach Flowers are not medicinal but harmless plant extracts which are used to support health.

© 2024 Mariepure - Webdesign Publi4u

Free personal advice for your problem?

Are you unsure which Bach flowers can help you? Contact Tom for free advice.

tom vermeersch
Tom Vermeersch

Yes, I want free advice

No thanks, I will do my own research