Posted by: joannabrandi | June 8, 2010

Negative People Dragging You Down?

A question came to me yesterday that I answered, and thought I would share with you here.

“I used to enjoy coming into work every day. I love working with customers, but there a lot of negative people in the office who I have to interact with on a daily basis. I feel like they’re dragging me down with them. Is there anything I can do improve the situation?”

Know that you are not alone. The negativity in the environment today is expanding, and one only need turn on the news to get depressed. If you want to remain positive you must have a few things – starting with a commitment – to stay positive.

Over 80% of what we take in from the outside world is negative. A large percentage of our ongoing “self talk” is negative so if we really want to be positive we must CHOOSE it.  Make the decision to be more conscious of what you allow in the fertile soil of your mind. Limit your exposure to the news, sarcastic and/ or violent TV and movies, and people who wallow in ‘what’s wrong.’

Make up your mind that you will look for things to appreciate every day, to think thoughts that uplift you and make you feel good. Protect yourself from the negative people at work.

Crank up your good mood on your way to the office and remember you have control of your mind, no one else. When a negative co-worker starts in with what’s wrong, it’s okay to listen politely for a few moments and counter politely with, “I see it differently” or “I can see your point, and also I see things I can appreciate about the situation.”

Think about all the times you skillfully turned an angry customer into a happy one. You let them vent (while not getting emotionally involved in it) you expressed empathy; you built enough rapport so you could pace and lead the conversation and somewhere in the interaction you looked for agreement so you could end on a positive note. You transformed the situation with your awareness and skill.

Same thing here. Be proactive, before someone can complain set the stage by saying, “What’s the good news?” or “What’s going well for you?” By taking care to ask affirmative questions you stand a better chance of re-focusing their mind on something more positive.

Remember to hold onto your own positive “vibration.” Pay attention to your posture, your tone of voice and how you feel. You’ll be able to feel when a negative person starts draining your energy. You can get out of their way (sometimes the best choice) or change the topic before they get you hooked. “I can see how you might feel that way. Can you also see that there is a gift in this?” If you work with them daily, you may wish to make yourself a list of positive things about them (and be sure to comment on them when those positive aspects show up.)

I could write about this for a long time – this the short course for a small space. Make the commitment to be a positive person. Pay attention to your thoughts and make sure they are as positive as you can get them to be (and still believe them.) Focus on things to appreciate. Find something – even a little something – to love in everyone and focus on that thing. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Decide to be a happy person.

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Responses

  1. I had this experience in the last 3 or 4 months and the only thing that helped me was change my acttitude so I think this is a great article and Eleanor Roposevelt phrase is excellent!! Thanks JoAnna.

  2. You are sooo right! Negatively is ingrained in our language patterns, culture, self-talk and self-image. I hear the unintended negativity in language all the time. Anther lady, her name escapes me, but I bet you know who she is, used the term “awfulizing.” This describes making negative comments or asking how bad things are instead of looking or the brighter side.


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