Dealing With Negativity

What is it about life that sometimes it seems all you're surrounded by are Debbie Downers? And not even the funny kind of SNL fame? You know the kind of person I'm talking about, right? Someone who always has something negative to say, kind of like the following:

You: Our dryer quit, but we bought a new one this weekend – at a great price!
Them: I heard that brand melts clothes. And sets houses on fire.

I'll bet you know at least one person like this. It doesn't matter when you talk with this person or what you talk about with them, they are consistently negative. Gets a little draining, right? Here are some ideas on how to cope with pervasive, unadvoidable negativity.

Do Unto Others

So I'm not saying you have to go around being a Sunny Sunshine all the time. We all fall victim to foul moods from time to time; that's life – it's to be expected. However, keep the golden rule in mind when dealing with others, especially those who exude negativity. Treat them like you'd want to be treated if you were in a bad mood.

You can offer a sympathetic ear or shoulder to cry on as needed. Sometimes negativity can work its way out of a person if someone takes a few minutes just to listen.

Kill 'em With Kindness

When I worked as a social worker at a long term care facility BC (Before Children), I came across my fair share of gruff families and residents. Okay, some of them were downright nasty at times. Anyway, I finally learned the best way to deal with someone who was highly upset was to be as calm and kind as possible. I know, way easier said than done. My general rule of thumb became the more upset the person I was dealing with, the kinder my words became. For most people, this has a disarming effect; they really aren't expecting you to be so nice in the face of their wrath.

I think you can definitely apply this principal to someone who is being negative. After all, it's their mindset and their mood; no one says you have to adopt it, even for a minute!

Limit Exposure

If you do personally know a Debbie Downer and the above strategies don't crack a dent in that person's hardshell, negative exterior, you can always try to not spend as much time around him or her. You are only human, after all, and even the most optimistic one among us can only be Ms. Sunshine for so long until our own veneer starts to crack.

Limit yourself, if you can, to small doses of the person's negativity. Once you're on your own, do something uplifting to refill your well. Just because another person consistently sees the glass half-empty doesn't mean you have to follow suit.

Photo Source

Anonymous's picture

femmefrugality wrote:

Tue, 01/24/2012 - 17:16 Comment #: 1

Great tips! And the Debbie Downer skit was a favorite....wahhhh wahhhhh.

Anonymous's picture

American Debt Project wrote:

Tue, 01/24/2012 - 18:06 Comment #: 2

One of my best friends is very negative, but we are so close that I call her out on it and we can laugh about it. She'll find fault with everything, and I'll point out how fault-findy she's being and she gets the point. But on the other hand, I have a coworker who is extremely negative. She dislikes everyone and everything at some point in the day. It's wah, wah, wah all the time and you know how it makes me see her? As incredibly lazy and boring. So even though we all get negative at some point, I do try to limit myself from falling into this mindset of complaining and being negative because pretty you begin to embody those qualities. And nobody wants that!

Anonymous's picture

Jessica @FoundtheMarbles wrote:

Thu, 01/26/2012 - 02:58 Comment #: 3

Great tips. Debbie Downers are so draining. I say eliminate them from your day whenever you can. Life is too short to let anyone else bring you down!

Anonymous's picture

Amanda @ High Impact Mom wrote:

Thu, 01/26/2012 - 13:38 Comment #: 4

Great advice!! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous's picture

Jen wrote:

Thu, 01/26/2012 - 14:09 Comment #: 5

I have tried to really limit the amount of time I spend around people who are negative and dispiriting. It's about making a conscious decision to keep them at arm's length. I think the most difficult thing is being nice but at the same time not getting sucked in to the negativity.
Love that mug, by the way!

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