How to deal with negativity by Graham Tomlinson

It can sometimes feel like we're surrounded by negative people and opinions. Whether it is on social media, the people we meet or in political discourse, things can often seem overwhelming and depressing.

On a personal level, we all know that dealing with negativity can be exhausting too. Having to interact with negative people is tiring, and even the most positive person can soon be ground down eventually. 

At some point in our lives, we've probably all worked with them, or had a relationship with one of these people. Most of us will have either ignored them, or eventually tried to move on with our lives despite them. 

But is there a more constructive, compassionate way of dealing with these kinds of people? Here are a few suggestions. 

1. Don't be a walkover, and always be honest

First and foremost, when it comes to dealing with negative people, it's essential that you make it very clear what you are prepared to put up with. 

Never allow yourself to be a sponge that simply soaks it all up (and certainly never an emotional punch-bag for someone else's negativity). No one has the right to impose themselves on your life to that extent, so make sure they understand that. 

Equally, don't just try to swamp them with positivity either. It's always important to be honest with people when their negativity is unfounded or seems habitual. So, don't be judgemental, but rather show them that their negativity is having real world impact on other people.

2. Practice compassion

Why is the negative person you're dealing with so negative? It's almost certain that whatever it is they are feeling, you will have also felt it yourself too, at one time or another. So be aware of that, and don't alienate them. We've all been there in our lives. 

I've also very deliberately used the word 'practice' here too. Compassion should be a practice, in the sense of something done regularly. But I know it's not always easy either – being compassionate with difficult people is also a skill that needs to be practiced for us to get better at it. 

3. Open your heart to them

This last one may seem a little vague and fluffy, I know. But when we approach other people from a position of love or caring interest, it is surprising how often they then respond to us in the same way. 

Someone who is going through a hard time, or who has become habitually negative in their outlook, still has the capacity to show love and care for others. So make sure that this is the ground you meet them on. 

It's not always easy, by any means – and never let it blind you to unacceptable behaviour. But it is always the best foundation to build a more positive relationship on, if you can. 

About Graham Tomlinson’s blog

Graham Tomlinson blogs regularly on his website and has designed the perfect platform for sharing mindfulness & self-improvement tips with as many people as possible.