I was watching the latest vlog post from Gabrielle Bernstein and the topic was dealing with negative people. I was interested to hear what she had to say as I had written a post about it on June 3. Her suggestion was to be empathetic. Engage them in conversation. The reason for the engagement is to let them be heard. Don’t try to be all preachy and tell them about how they need to look on the bright side of things or “turn that frown upside down”. That can become somewhat sarcastic. But, I think this may only work on a temporary basis. If the person is not normally a “negative Nancy” or “Debbie Downer” then perhaps this may work. If it is someone that doesn’t want to change at all, then I can’t see myself engaging them all the time.
In my post, my solution did not talk about engagement, but it also didn’t talk about being preachy. I did say to stay positive and sooner or later those negative people won’t be coming back to you for more commiseration. I do believe you can be positive and empathetic at the same time though. The next time I get approached by a negative person, I will engage them and still be positive. For example:
Negative Nancy: “Nothing ever goes right for me.
Me: “Really? That must suck.”‘
I won’t engage them by agreeing with them because that’s when you get caught up in their negative energy and fall down the rabbit hole of pessimism. However, I will listen and have compassion for what they are going through. It may be a genuine concern. But again, I’m not going to be the one they can always run to when they want to complain about the same old things.
What do you do when you see Negative Nancy or Negative Ned come your way?