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Negative People

January 8, 2015

Have you ever known someone that was so negative that they sucked your spirit right out of you every time you spoke with them?  I had an acquaintance who was a gentle soul but she frequently called me on the phone and would immediately begin talking about all of the horrible things that were happening in her life; her inattentive husband, her lack of money, and her horrible physical problems.  She would literally keep me on the phone for an hour telling me about how terrible everything was in her life.

Eventually I felt as if I was being used and it became obvious that she was stuck in a cyclical (and toxic) habit of negative thinking.  The more she talked about and thought about negative people, places and things, the more negativity she attracted into her life.  She was in essence, creating her own hell and I knew that I needed to remove myself from the relationship.

Because I didn’t want to be rude and was not quite sure how to end the relationship at the time, I allowed it to go on longer than I really wanted but once I ended the relationship, she immediately found another friend that lived on her block that she had more in common with. Though I felt bad ending the relationship, I felt just as compelled to break it off because my busy family and work schedule doesn’t leave me much time to socialize and I have a deep need for meaningful friendships based on mutual support and positivity.  Everyone goes through “life stuff” and needs support from time to time, but subjecting yourself to constant drama and trauma can make you toxic.

It’s okay to end relationships with people you don’t feel you can have a healthy positive relationship with.  Though this may be a new concept, it is important to begin setting healthy boundaries and honoring your own value and self-worth in relationships.  Soon with your new improved positive attitude you’ll find yourself surrounded by other positive thinkers, often without much effort on your part.

But what if the negative people in your life are your immediate family such as you children, spouse or parent?  It may be best to stay on your own side of the street in such matters and just let other people be who they are.  If you do feel that you are being pelted with negativity, or if the negativity of others is being directed specifically toward you, you can;

  • Politely change the subject- If someone is speaking to you about gloom and doom, you can redirect the conversation by talking about some related subject in a positive light.
  • You can end the conversation-You have a right to end conversations that are negative and make you feel uncomfortable.
  • You can state that you forgot you have something pressing to take care of that needs your immediate attention (your own well-being!) and remove yourself from the situation.  You are never obligated to participate in negativity!
  • You can respond with minimal or no response.  By stating “Uh-huh.” or “Ahh.” without any further response indicates that you have heard what someone is saying while not actively involving yourself in the negativity.  This will also give you a moment to consider other ways out of the conversation.
  • You can tell it like it is- You can respond by simply and kindly stating that you are working diligently on being a positive thinker and begin talking about something positive.

When it comes to people you are closer to such as our loved ones, if they know you well and have watched you suffer because of your negative thinking, being honest and forthright about your personal goal to move past your negative thinking will be well received.  If not, remember that it is still an inside job and that your well-being does not hinge on the opinion and behavior of others.  Take personal responsibility for you, and for your feelings and actions and let others do the same.

Oftentimes, people notice positive changes in you before you even do.  Maybe you have a spring in your step or you smile more often than you used to, or someone may comment that you have a lighter attitude about you or that you seem different somehow, more confident perhaps.  Either way, it is your own evaluation of you that counts most and remember………..Optimists Rock!

Copyright 2012   Robin B. O’Grady

facebook: The Optimists Edge

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2012 4:58 am

    This is excellent Robin. I recently ended a twenty-five year long friendship with someone who I finally realized was sucking the life out of me. I had always felt obligated to stick with her since she had such a hard life of abuse. But when I got cancer and all she wanted to talk about was how everyone she had known with cancer had died, I realized it was time to “exit – stage left!”… no more drama for me. I felt really bad about it at first. But then I just felt more and more liberated. Life is short. Cancer sucks. But your friends don’t have to. Rock on sister…I love your viewpoint …keep on sharing the good stuff….xoxo.

  2. robinogrady permalink*
    June 12, 2012 3:51 pm

    Kim, I had the honor and privledge to walk alongside someone at my work with lung cancer. She is well and has a completely different perception about life after the experience. You are absolutely amazing and I really do believe that attitude is everything. Let’s not waste one more minute of this lifetime being or contributing to negativity. Ride it till the wheels fall off……hehe……xo, Robin

  3. January 12, 2015 5:46 am

    Robin, that is a great article. I think over the years we have had friends in common some positive and some negative. I have had some of the same feelings about letting go, but i have found it necessary. Kim, a good friend of mine has two sisters. One has had cancer for several years, but because of her positive attitude she continues to live a productive life. The other sister also has some health problems, and everyone she talks to hears about every ache and pain and perceived injustice. Keep up the good work.

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