5 Ways to Deal with Negative or Difficult People

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mad friends

Have you ever had that one negative friend who never has anything positive to say? If you have, you will know that sometimes that negative energy can effect you as well. Life is not as easy as we think it to be. And sometimes things like negative thoughts make it more complicated. Specially when people around you are negative. So here are some ways to deal with them instead of avoiding them.

1. Dig deeper, but stay out of the hole.

It’s always easier to offer someone compassion if you try to understand where they’re coming from. But that can’t completely justify bad behavior. If you show negative people you support their choice to behave badly by reacting with the same bad behavior, you give them no real incentive to make a change (which they may actually want deep down).

It may help to repeat this in your head when you deal with them: “I understand your pain. But I’m most helpful if I don’t feed into it.” This might help you approach them with both kindness and firmness so they don’t bring you down with them.

2. Remember the numbers.

Research shows that people with negative attitudes have significantly higher rates of stress and disease. Someone’s mental state plays a huge role in their physical health. If someone’s making life difficult for people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves.

What a sad reality, that someone has so much pain inside them they have to act out just to feel some sense of relief–even if that relief comes from getting a rise out of people. When you remember how much a difficult person is suffering, it’s easier to stay focused on minimizing negativity, as opposed to defending yourself.

3. Don’t try to solve or fix them. Just aim to help them.

This goes back to the ideas I mentioned above. I know my depressed friend will rant about life’s injustices as long as I let her. Part of me feels tempted to play amateur psychiatrist, get her talking, and then try to help her reframe situations into a more positive light.

Then I remind myself that I can’t change her whole way of being in one phone call. She has to want that. I also can’t listen for hours on end, as I’ve done in the past. But I can listen compassionately for a short while and then help her focus on something positive right now, in this moment.

4. Maintain the relationship based on reality as it is.

With my friend, I’m always wishing she could be more positive. I consistently put myself in situations where I feel bad because I want to help, because I want her to be happy. I’ve recently realized the best I can do is accept her as she is, let her know I believe in her ability to be happy, and then give her space to make the choice.

5. Question what you’re getting out of it.

Like I mentioned above, we often get something out of relationships with negative people. Get real honest with yourself: have you fallen into a caretaker role because it makes you feel needed? Have you maintained the relationship so you can gossip about this person in a holier-than-thou way with others? Do you have some sort of stake in keeping the things the way they are?

Questioning yourself helps you change the way you respond–which is really all you can control. You can’t make someone think, feel, or act differently. You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible, and still not change reality for someone else. All you can control is what you think and do–and then do your best to help them without hurting yourself.

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212 COMMENTS

  1. I always let them talk for a while but have prepared beforehand as I know what will happen in our time together. Then I change the topic from her negativity to pleasant things several times. Then I say something about how I am working on removing all bad thoughts with thoughts of gratitude over all the things I DO have that are good….stressing that making a list of them is so very important. I mention how thinking happy helps our health and quote the Scripture “As a man thinketh, so is he”– this means we can change our being by what we think about. If the person continues to be negative next time I see her, I ask her if she made her gratitude list yet, quote the text and smile. This brings to mind what we covered before and lets her know I don’t like negativity…it lessens the chances of it coming up again the next time, and should it come up, I again repeat the text and smile knowingly. This really works.

  2. That u for the Suuport…I use to be so negative but utmost i was hurting inside and i never knew that affected Also the surrounding…Wat i can say really made my hapiness Back was God..i turbed to God and said ‘God I wont Let myself remain The same Negative’ i stil talk n talk to him n holly Spirit is very grateful for he led ma ways dailtly..im neva negative an if i see som1 negative and always see the negative side of another person, I only say to her to choose the best way to be but not the negative side bcz negative Hurts n it begins with you!!an only u get hurt for yur thoughts..Negative is a Monster…lets avoid it.!!!! i love u all.

    • Wasn’t the whole point of this article, as is stated above:

      “So here are some ways to deal with them instead of avoiding them.”

      So…how does avoiding them help really solve the real problem? I thought this was talking about ways to continue to help the person without giving up on them? Perhaps I misunderstood this article?

  3. This is why I had to leave my last job negative people drama every single day all day long even if you ignored them it did not work. Believe me they found a way to drag me into everything

    • Do you mean to say you avoid them? I am just asking to clarify because the article above says:

      “So here are some ways to deal with them instead of avoiding them.”

      Perhaps I am misunderstanding the entire point of this article? I thought it was giving tips to help you with a difficult person while NOT avoiding them or giving up on them?

  4. I pray them OUT of my life. I pray for God to find an amicable way for us to part and he always answers and that way there is no hard feelings to the parting but you rejoice within for you know they are no longer going to continue to influence you negatively.

  5. Amen. Well 4 me, I’m going to carefully look at those stones, to see if I can find a rare jewal. 4 most never really see that rare piece, because their wasting time throwing the stones to even see what precious finds that God has placed in their hands. Not me, my eyes are wide a wake. 4 only Gods elite can see.

  6. I COME IN THE NAME OF JESUS, WHO EVER IS BORN OF GOD KNOWS HOW TO LOVE. WHEN I COME AROUND NEGATIVE PPL. THE WORD OF GOD MAKE THEM BE AT PEACE WITH ME. I SHARE THE WORD, THEY DONT TALK. THE POWER OF TESTIMONEY. IT ALWAYS OVER COME THE WICKED ONE. AMEN

  7. People who do that are usually very miserable, very disillusioned and jealous, and can’t stand to see anything good happen for anyone else
    :(. Being a good witness sometimes just makes them worse but you have to keep on.

  8. I agree Valerie God calls us to love them as you love yourself… I love myself enough not to subject myself to that just have to let them be.. Christ is the only one who saves, they have to want the change not be satisfied in the same cycle.

  9. I really like these wordz……………[Questioning yourself helps you change the way you respond–which is really all you can control. You can’t make someone think, feel, or act differently. You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible, and still not change reality for someone else. All you can control is what you think and do–and then do your best to help them without hurting yourself.]

  10. I’m married to one so this really speaks to me. It is a difficult thing to deal with on a daily basis so I can only imagine what he is going through. Any prayer for him would be very appreciated.

  11. i am trying this.hard because i feel terrible n harsh like i shud understand them n continue trying. but reassuring sum1everyday is tiring. sumtymz wish i cud do more. be sumkinda psychologist n find a way to lift this person esteem n self worth.

  12. My immediate family is disfunctional and negative. I pray for them everyday, but I don’t kill them with kindness. I love them at a distance. I am the black sheep, and I thank God everyday that I am nothing like them.

    • I feel you here depends on situation like if I got hurt real bad I say love from a distance but a lot of times im nice because it’s my personality to be nice and sweet. Some people push buttons o also thank God iam not like them and ask God to help those poor people.

  13. Am dealing wth de most difficult person in ma lyf i do everythng 2 mke sure i try 2 mke dat person happy it hard/difficult i cry everyday nd praying God it hard 2 b strong sumtyms i feel lyk am weak nd loosng ma mind bt wth God evrythng will be fine ,Amen….

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