How to Deal with Negative and Toxic Folks
We've all encountered negative folks. It can leave you feeling drained and even physically exhausted! You might even feel your energy being zapped and your mood heading south. It can take hours or even an entire day to start feeling "normal" again.
So...what do we do? How do we handle such a person?
Here are several key steps you can take. Remember...you do have a choice in how you react to them.
Don't partake of the negativity!
Trust me, I know how easy it is to get sucked into the negativity pit. Watch out though...it's a pit that is hard to get out of...especially if you get too comfortable wallowing in it.
That being said, the truly negative folks are the ones who can take the most positive things in life and find something negative to say. Every thing is horrible, every one is horrible, woe is me, life isn't fair and so on and so forth.
What do you do? Well, offer them an ear...this person might just be having a bad day.
If you begin to see that this may be their usual modus operandi...try to switch topics. Do not, and I repeat do NOT, engage in the negativity or you'll be sucked into the toxic tornado. Maintain a "safe" emotional distance.
Reaffirm anything they say that IS positive. Guide the conversation if you can.
Go Light and Be Light!
Some folks are "set off" by certain topics or subjects. Stay away from those topics by all means.
Now...some folks can be negative about a sunny day with the birds chirping and a nice breeze. The birds annoy them, the sun is too bright and the breeze is too cool. In that case, you might say they are fully entrenched in being miserable...it's deeply rooted.
What do I do? I try to handle it with humor or a "light" topic. Try to stick with what you know they actually enjoy. Disarm their negativity if you can. In fact,...give them a heartfelt compliment if you can. This has worked for me many times!
Ouch that hurt!
I've had negative people in my life who were overly critical at times and dropped insensitive comments like they were farmers sowing corn.
There was one person who was so overly critical that I started to think there was something wrong with me! Was I not good enough? Ouch..how could I be better?
Over the years I noticed how this person (and several others) were like this with just about everyone.
Most negative folks mean no harm...they just can't seem to break free from their negativity. Yet, if it is hurting you...you do need to protect yourself. I had to keep my distance from certain friends and relatives. It's sad, it hurts....but you have to do what you have to do.
Set boundaries to protect yourself!
If someone is bringing you down you really do need to consider spending time away from that individual.
If it is a friend or family member, I know it is much harder. Yet, you need to remember that you do not need to answer every phone call or return every text the minute they send it.
If you're living with the negative person, consider finding ways to take a break away as much as physically possible. Errands, outside work, hobbies...whatever...think of something :)
We are all responsible for our own happiness. Much of our happiness is often dependent on how others around us treat us. The mood of others often effects our mood. Maybe we should try to be the "mood setter"
You've all heard the phrase, "If mama ain't happy, no one is happy" Well, it's proven true more often than not (don't ask me how I know that one...lol)
I have literally watched someone change from negative to laughing when I cracked a joke, smiled or brought up something funny. Sometimes we can have as much power or influence over the mood as the "negative" person. Depends.
You are who you hang with!
It is said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. It is sooo true...who you spend your time with says a lot about you and who you are.
I have personally found this to be 100% true and as I've reached midlife, I can see how I've changed and "shifted".
Not that I never get grumpy...but... I am generally a happy and joyous person. When I thought about the 5 people I spend the most time with (friend wise)...I noticed that they are all kind, caring, loving, humorous and would drop everything if I needed them.
It wasn't always this way. If you had asked me several years ago to look at the 5 friends I spent the most time with it would have been a whole different list of adjectives! Ack! We tend to take on the negativity of others whether we realize it or not.
Sometimes you must part ways!
There are times when the negativity brings you down so far that you can't possibly have a healthy relationship. I have had a few relationships that took the negativity to great levels of emotional pain. It is then that I had to part ways.
Because my time and energy were depleted by certain person(s) I had to part ways in order to protect my ability to care for myself and my family.
Did I say anything? No. I just avoided them. I had to. It hurt...but..it hurt worse being around them.
You have to take care of you or you won't be able to take care of anyone else.
I am a "fixer" and in the past I had spent a great deal of time with negative people in hopes that I could "fix" their issues. I finally realized that it was futile most of the time. I ended up feeling depleted, sad, miserable and in tears.
Yes, we want to be good Christians..we want to help others. That is what we do!
BUT.....take a moment and think how hard it is to change yourself and then realize it is that much harder trying to change someone else!
If there are negative folks in your life who make you feel bad about yourself or drain you of your time and energy...try working through the advice up above. Live life joyously and remember to pray for those who can't.