TIPS FOR HANDLING THEIR TOXIC BEHAVIOR by Ella Miller
“BE THE ENERGY THAT YOU WANT TO ATTRACT IN THIS WORLD” – Author Unknown
As a positive person, it’s not uncommon for friends, family and even co-workers who see the worst in every circumstance to suck the life out of you. At first, this can feel like a small annoyance. Over time, that annoyance can grow into great frustration to the point that you might
not want to be around that person very often because their behavior is so emotionally draining or feels downright exhausting to you.
Positive-minded people know life feels more rewarding with an upbeat
outlook. However, we have to be careful that we’re not judgmental and
push our expectations to be happy and optimistic onto others. After all,
everyone is on their own life journey and will get the lessons they need,
when they need them. Based upon that, the tips I’ve outlined below are
more about what YOU can do to navigate other people’s negative
behaviors versus how to change others to be more positive. Reality is:
You can’t change other people — you can only change yourself.
Let’s start by taking a look at common negative behaviors:
1. Complainers: nothing is ever good enough for them.
2. Easily insulted: they become defensive and do not take critiquing or
suggestions well; they feel like you’re attacking them when you only
want to help.
3. Never-ending victims: they often feel like they are being persecuted
by something or someone or that life itself is against them.
4. Always right: they think everyone else is wrong and their viewpoint is
right; they judge, complain and criticize whenever others think or act
differently from them.
5. Blame game: they are quick to point their finger looking for who is at
fault in all situations and assigning blame to others without seeing the
part they themselves may have played.
6. Slow to achieve: their own negativity can keep them from moving
outside their comfort zone, learning positive new things, and
progressing in life.
7. Thrive on stress and worry: negative individuals usually expect the
worst and worrying is a way of life for them; they share their worries,
trying to get others to join in their unending circle of stress - worry -
stress - worry.
8. Blind to their effect on others: their negative behavior has become
such a habit that they may not realize how negative they are and the
effect it has on others around them.
Sound familiar? With 7.8 billion people in this world, chances are good that we all know a few negative people. Now, let’s get into ways to keep yourself from getting sucked into their negativity...
1. REMAIN DETACHED
It’s important to know that while the negative person is consumed with
complaining, it has nothing to do with you. Remind yourself that their issues
are NOT yours. You do not need to accept fault for them. You do not need to
internalize them. You do not need to try to fix the situation for them.
Sharing my personal experience and what’s worked for me: When negative
people complain about something, I listen with an empathetic ear because I
care for them. But then I remind myself that it’s not MY stress and I don’t
have to solve their problem for them. This was tough for me at first because,
as a mother, I instinctively wanted to make things better for everyone.
Through practice, I have gotten better at remaining detached. By CHOOSING
not to react and not to feel like I have to DO something, I am able to interact, then keep moving through the day without taking on their negative energy.
There’s peace of mind in letting other people’s negativity roll off your back.
2. COMPASSIONATELY COMMUNICATE TO CREATE AWARENESS The reality is that negative people may be blind to their behavior. Perhaps
their negativity manifested in their younger years and, over time, it
became their normal everyday behavior. They may not even realize when they’re
doing things like complaining about everything. So bringing awareness
to this behavior can be eye-opening for them. This can be achieved by
communicating compassionately. For example, I had a heart-to-heart
discussion with someone about how their frequent complaining and
negativity was making me feel so uncomfortable that I sometimes did
not want to be around them. I went on to say that I respected our
friendship so much that I wanted to focus on finding solutions. I
reminded them of all the things we have to be thankful for in our
At first, they denied their negative behavior; feeling defensive is a natural reaction. Yet when they went away and thought about it, they realized they did, in fact, have room to evolve and grow. The result was life-changing as they set their intentions to become calmer, less stressed, more grateful and to see the positives in life. Our friendship is now stronger than ever!
On the other hand, what you do not want to do is attack them with
harsh words such as, “Why are you always so negative? All you do is
complain!” That can put them on the defensive and ignite an argument
that results in hard feelings and no changes. Tip #3 will explore what
you can do instead.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT communicate outright with anyone who you feel might
become angrier, explosive or put you in harm’s way. Timing is everything. Wait
until the person is in a good mood and you are in a safe place to discuss the
situation. If the negative person is volatile, then the issue goes deeper than just a
negative personality and you should seek the advice of a professional for help.
3. RESPOND WITH CALM AND CONTROL
How you respond to someone who is exhibiting negative behavior, such as
playing the victim, talking badly about people, or placing blame on others
can determine the outcome of your interaction.
shows your frustration will only add to the negativity and be counterproductive. You can show your emotional maturity by keeping your calm. While you cannot control the other person, you CAN control your response/reaction to them. When they go into a negative rant, you can
change the conversation to a lighter topic — like talking about their favorite
sports team or asking if they’ve watched any good movies lately. If that
doesn’t work and the negativity person is adamant on bringing down the
energy in the room, you can choose to politely say goodbye and walk away.
It is important to be able to draw healthy boundaries between you and
people who drain the positivity and joy out of you. This is a form of self-care,
love, and respect for yourself.
The topic of how to deal with negative people has many facets. Since this is
a subject that supporters of The Positivity Tree have reached out to me to
cover, I’m going to continue posting more tips and advice in upcoming
weeks. In addition, as vital as it is for positive individuals to protect
themselves from negative energy around them, it’s also vital to keep putting
positivi ty into practice to attract more positivity. Check out “Practice Loving
Kindness” for how you can use Meta Meditation to cultivate more compassion, generate a oneness with the universe, and carry a loving kindness state of consciousness into your everyday life. It also helps to send loving kindness to the negative people in your life through the Meta Meditation, as a spiritual way to lift them up into the light.
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