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How to deal with negative people at work

Published on June 5, 2016 12:00 AM EST
How to deal with negative people at work

Are negative co-workers bringing you down? Do you see them coming and want to hide under your desk? Working with this type of person can make you dread going to work even if you really enjoy your job. While you can always quit or ask for a transfer, chances are there will be negative people waiting for you at your new position as well. You don’t have to let these people make going to work unbearable. Take action and take back control of your work experience.Try implementing some of these Tips below for a more satisfying work experience, even in the midst of negativity.

6 Strategies for Dealing with Negative Coworkers.

  1. Drown them out with music. Although this won’t always be possible in every work environment, if you are able to bring a set of headphones and listen to music while working, this can be a great way to avoid listening to someone complain all day. Listening to your favorite music can also make work seem like more fun, keep you in the flow and help to minimize distractions. Having headphones on will also send off a “leave me alone, I’m in a zone” vibe without actually having to be rude to anyone.
  2. Contradict their negativity. If someone repeatedly complains to you about the company, their spouse or their life in general, they usually will want you to share in their misery. The next time this happens you can refuse to play their game. When they tell you they hate the company, tell them you really love your job and look away. When they say what a jerk the boss is, simply reply with something like, “I disagree”, or “I actually like him or her.” If they are complaining about their spouse you could tell them that you really love your spouse and only like to say nice things about them. This will send the message that you are not the kind of person that is looking to join them in the negativity and they will quickly start searching for someone else who will.
  3. Tell them that it bothers you. This won’t be easy for everyone, but if you are the type that doesn’t care what people think, or you are at a point where you have had enough, just tell them that you find their negativity very draining and that you would rather talk about things that are more upbeat or positive. You never know, they could stop the negative talk when they are around you, or they may decide to not engage with you any further at all. Either way you win.
  4. Respect their opinion but refuse to agree with them. If the negative person is your boss, or your boss’s boss, you may not feel comfortable telling them straight up that they are bothering you or you may risk disciplinary action if you speak up or ignore them completely. In cases like this, you can do your job without letting their negativity bring you down by simply listening to any job related instructions or suggestions they provide and refuse to agree with anything negative they say. If they pushed to concur with their opinion about another person or an assignment, you can politely state that you haven’t noticed that or that your experience with that person or situation was different. This will send a message that you are not interested in bad mouthing other people or focusing on everything that could possibly go wrong.It will also eliminate the chance that they will tell someone else that you agreed with them in one of their future sessions of complaining.
  5. Set an energetic boundary. This may sound a little hokey to you, but it does work. Each time you are going to be in the presence of negative people, prepare by closing your eyes and imagining a white light or an egg-shaped physical boundary around your body about an arms-length wide on all sides. Tell yourself that you will not allow any unwanted energy to penetrate this boundary and then make a conscious decision that you are not going to allow anything but loving and peaceful energy into your space. Re-imagine this boundary as many times a day that feels necessary and watch the magic work. The people may not change, but they’ll be less drawn to you. You’ll also feel less affected when they do choose to interact with you.

Take the high road. Be sure not to imitate their behavior. If someone is driving you crazy with their negative talk, it can be very tempting to share your frustration or annoyance about them with another coworker. Don’t do it unless you already have an ally in your suffering that can help you implement positive strategies like the ones mentioned above. By bad-mouthing another person at work, you are behaving in the same manner that’s bothering you. You don’t want another coworker to view you as that someone who is negative and complaining all the time.

How to deal with negative people at work How to deal with negative people at work
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