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January 24, 2015

How to Overcome Negativity

If you had a friend, colleague or acquaintance you knew had potential but was always saying negative things, how would you respond? 

What if you have already tried techniques like changing the subject, trying to find the positive in the negative, or ignoring the negativity? (And, still after trying that the person is always responding negatively...) Actually, the person feels that these responses are normal and doesn't really think of them as negative, but these utterances do bring you down and others around you....What other ideas do you have that you could try to get this negative Nelly to think positive at least once? 

(This was a status posted on Facebook recently. The below suggestions are given by people on Facebook. Note: These responses are used with permission.)  

(Note, the below have not been edited for grammar. These are copied as they appeared on Facebook.)  

Answers (Approaches to try): 

Suggestion 1: 

Start acknowledging what they say and slowly make matters all the more worse. The person will eventually try to correct you and bring some positivity. Remember that at the end, two negatives will always make a positive. ~ Alex Jyothi 

Suggestion 2: 

I like to come at it from a place of empathy. Try to understand where the negativity is coming from first before planning a course of action. The devil may be in the details. ~Matt Wade

Suggestion 3:

After all that I've been through, I've realized it's wise to run the other way. It's emotionally draining to be with people who are this firm in their negative thoughts. ~Radha Rayasam-Realtor 

Suggestion 4: 

The phrase: "Did you know that when you say this, I feel that you are being overly negative and are not helping solve the situation but rather make everyone down?" Did you know... I feel ... is a good way to broach the subject..

Suggestion 5:

Jen, this has happened to me at work with a tech who just couldn't speak one positive word at work. It got me down so much and he kept telling me how much he had worked all week long that I told him he could leave 2 hours ahead of his schedule that day. I just couldn't take it. I worked for 2 hours alone and that was like heaven!!! You can't change a way a person thinks of work. No matter what his work will be. An optimist is like that in whatever situation they are in.

If I'm not that person's mom or boss I'm not going to waste my time. Life's too short to talk to whinos. ~Vidya Hebbar 

Suggestion 6: 

It depends on the relationship we have with this individual. 

If he is a friend then we are obligated to give the right advise and support him into being a positive person. 

If he is a colleague then take him for lunch or a drink and talk to him about the situation and tell him you are there to help him out.

But If he is an acquaintance then why bother just stay out of him. ~Arthur Ramesh 

Suggestion 7: 

I think the hardest part is the fact that this person is most likely unaware of how negative they are. It's really hard to get others to take a look and admit to themselves how they are being. I think if you can muster up the courage to tell them that possibly their negativity is holding them back, they may get offended at first but it will give them something to think about. It's important to let them know that we all experience times when we fall into a negative vibe & yes, we need to voice our pains but to make it an automatic unthinking habit only causes more of it. Awareness is truly the key. Even if the person gets mad at first when you tell them, they will begin to become more aware & if they really want to grow within themselves, they will begin to change. Good luck!! 

And, by the way, if you do tell them & they don't change than it's a good chance you two will drift apart. Once we voice our truths, things do change one way or another! ~Giselle Buonomo 

Thank you for the tips everyone. We can learn so much from sharing from each other as we all approach life a little differently. Your advice has already helped others, and now that it is set in stone, here on the blog, I am sure it will help many others. 

Related Posts/Sites: 

How not to take things personally 
The Self Realization Foundation

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We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.