How To Deal With Negative People

I posed the question to my Fit Fun Bootcampers yesterday, “how do you deal with negative people in your life?”

I got a lot of great responses and I wanted to share with you a few of them combined with my own strategies.

I realize this doesn’t have to do with fitness, but it has all to do with quality of life and happiness of life.  The less time you can spend with negative people and listening to negative media, the far better off you will be and the happier you will be.

So here are some ideas

1.  This is pretty obvious, but get them out of your life.  If they are people that you can easily avoid, that would be the easiest solution to the problem.  Unfortunately, many of them are your family members, coworkers, or someone you have to see on a regular basis.  It makes it much tougher then.  If it is someone at work, you can maybe try to work slightly different hours, find another place within the company to work from, or keep your door shut when they are around.

2.  Kill them with kindness.  Negative people have a hard time being around positive people, just like water and oil don’t do well together.  So when they are complaining about something, in a sweet tone, point out a positive that you see from the situation.  If someone is being negative towards you, smile and give them a compliment.  Then later on in the day, go out of your way to do something nice for them.  Maybe is it buying them lunch, bringing them their favorite coffee (although I don’t really endorse coffee much), or send them an article or funny video via email.  This will either make the person be less negative towards you, or it will cause them to not want to hang out with you.  Either way a win.

3.  Tell yourself it isn’t your fault.  Many times someone will lash out at you for something you did or did not do.  Don’t take it personal, most of the time they are dealing with other issues and it just so happened they let it out on you.  Realize it is their problem and not your own.  Smile and walk away.

4.  Try to be positive as much as possible.  This is similar to #2, but do your best to be upbeat and not let negative things come out of your mouth.  We all have our moments, I am guilty as anyone, of saying negative things, but if we consistently can stay positive, those who are more negative will leave us alone or maybe not complain quite so much.

5.  This isn’t my favorite, but sometimes kindly letting them know that it is their choice to think a certain way and show them how just looking at the situation a little differently can bring out a positive.

I am curious… How do you handle negative people in your life?  Please share some strategies to help us out.


  1. I think this question depends greatly on whether the negative person is in a position of power over you, or if they’re in a position of equality or perhaps dependence.

    For people who wield power, such as bosses or supervisors, I’ve found that taking the time to learn what it is that’s important to that person is a successful strategy. Not that you have to kowtow to every whim that a bully has, but if your boss values something like participation in meetings, or staying later at night, or other such things, it’s often to your advantage to try to accommodate those things that they think are important. Doing this can redirect the bully’s attention to these new things that you’re doing well, rather than harping on things that you might not be doing so well, or that just aren’t things that you can change.

    If the person is subordinate to you, such as a student or a patient, then patience is the key. In my field (medical), it’s important to start any patient encounter by remembering that we must approach this person with unconditional positive regard. It’s also worth remembering that every person (negative or otherwise) probably has some battles that they’re fighting that have nothing to do with you, Using these strategies can help cement a relationship built on a common purpose.

  2. I learned a lesson… Many years ago my mother died.. On going home from the hospital in a big city that I kinda knew, I found myself in the middle of a big intersection with horns blasting , and drivers giving me the finger.. Since then every time I find a driver doing something stupid my memory goes back to that day and my tolerance for the act increases. An old proverb (don’t know the origin) goes “Be kind- for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle”.. So true and worthy to live by..


  3. Negative people are a reflection of what’s happening on the inside of themselves. It can be a real drag to have to work and or live in the same house hold but regardless I find that reflecting on the glass half full (pointing out the positive) instead the negative helps the other person. Also I’ve learned not give back a response when their commenting on whatever it is negatively……they then have to sit in their own negative crap themselves……I prefer to surround myself around positive encouraging folks but that’s not always the case…..and so I just shine on and do my part. 🙂

  4. Something I try to practice is ‘leading by example’. I try to assess the situation and use skills that the other person can learn from and try to demonstrate these skills in a positive manner for their benefit. Many years ago I was a co-teacher with someone who was near impossible to deal with. We were in very close quarters for hours every day and I had no other peers to interact with. I found dealing with the other instructor in this way was empowering to me and I left each day feeling invigorated at what I had accomplished instead of beaten down by the situation. A few years after that the situation was reversed and I had a stressful teaching assignment with someone who was much more laid back and better able to handle the situation than I was. I called him “The Buddha” and instead was able to learn from his example. 🙂

  5. Personally I think life is too short to deal with negative people. Best to associate with positive people rather than dealing with negative people.

    Birds of a feather flock together, so best way to attract positive people (and repel negative people) is be a positive person.

  6. I really like Brian’s observations.

    1. I remind myself that I cannot change the person. So I just concentrate on my own positivity and try not to give them the power of controlling my behavior.

    2. I try to apply the old saying, “There are more fish in the sea.”

    3. I like visual imagery…I either choose to picture a very soothing place for myself, or imagine that the negative person is being seriously creamed in a paintball game. You can choose the humorous virtual “punishment” of your choice.

  7. I personally hate being around positive people. I don’t think I’m a particularly negative person, but I think that there is balance in the way things are and sometimes it’s better to plan for the worst than expect the best. I guess the reason I’m saying this is that I think you should try to remember the “negative” person you are annoyed by probably finds you pretty irritating too. I’m just sayin’.

  8. Ashley Williamson says:

    I kill them with kindness and never respond with negative energy back at them whether it be in the form of thoughts, words, or actions. I tell them I forgive them even when they haven’t asked for forgiveness. I know that we are all here on this earth to learn and evolve our souls, and hurting others or attempting to hurt them will only hinder that process And in reality God does not want us to hate or hurt one another in anyway, he wants us to find our way to love and light and although some people have not realized this everyone will evolve to this understanding at some point in their lives, whether in this one or the next. We are all on a soul journey and keeping our souls free from negative energy is pertinent and when others try to force their own negative energy onto us we have to forgive them, love them, and learn to understand they may not be as mentally, spiritually, and emotionally evolved as we are. Even when it seems that the people in your lives will not stop with the lies or pain they cause you and someone whom you love you still have to have patience and pray to Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father and Mother Mary or whatever God you pray to will suffice we all are different and noone has the right to judge another for what they believe so believe what you believe and find comfort through that and you will rise above the haters and they will ultimately come to the realization that they are hindering only themselves and all that energy projected to hurt others only works if that person decides to give you that power to do so. For example recently some people who have put forth alot of their own energy to hurt me emotionally and mentally and someone I love has attempted again with lies that I kill animals. Now I am a fierce animal lover, and have numerous pets myself. If you were to ask anyone in my family if I would harm or kill another animal it would literally be a laughing matter because I can’t even kill a bug, lol I force my mom or dad to scoop the bug up in a jar and free him outside before I would allow them to kill it. And that goes for all insects, animals, and living beings, even plants. I am so loving in my nature that I could never harm something else, I remember being at the bank with my stepmom awhile back and she and I noticed a spider on the floor of the bank, not harming anyone just minding its own business. We were admiring the spider for afar when a man with huge boots came up and quickly, and intentionally stepped on the spider, when we looked up he said,”your welcome”. Me and my stepmom were staring at him with our mouths wide open and I had nothing to say as I was in shock and tears came to my eyes. My stepmom said, “he wasn’t hurting nobody!” Miracously the spider uncurled its broken leg and began to walk away and the man said, “o I’m sorry but look its still okay.” That was an odd experience and I am happy the spider was okay although I think he may have had a broken leg for awhile. Anyways that is a far cry from someone who kills animals, and even though these people find it necessary to lie to harm me and him I do not give it much thought or even get upset over it because it’s not true, and if it’s not true it doesn’t matter. Not only that but people who lie are aware they are lying and if they choose to still do it they are accepting responsibility right then and there and they are the ones who will suffer from sending negative energy out to someone who refuses to accept it therefor it comes right back to the sender. Sad that they have not learned this simple truth but sometimes it takes others awhile before they are able to learn what comes simply to us. I think it all has to do with our souls, these people with hate in them and negative energy are wanting for me to retaliate so bad yet I do not and they still try harder, causing only themselves grief. Once they have enough experience and evolve their souls spiritually they will apologize and ask for forgiveness, it may not be in this life or even while in a human body but we all gotta face the music sometime. Love and Light is the only way, ASH*.

  9. sarah tenenbaum says:

    I agree with ashley! Hate is such a strong emotion and it does carry a huge amount of energy. When we build up hate in ourselves for others we are actually causing ourselves more harm. It is important to cleanse our emotional/spiritual bodies on a daily basis. If there are people around you who constantly bring you down with negative words, actions, or complaints then it is in your best interest to eliminate these people from your life. No one has to put up with negative and toxic people. In fact you will find that if you are in a situation with people who are negative and full of anger and hate the universe will realign itself to create a situation to allow you or force you to no longer be in this situation. Whether it be a living situation, a working environment or so on and usually the experience for the person full of love and positive energy is a rather traumatizing experience. You may find yourself in a situation where the negative person is screaming at you and hurting you but it is all for your betterment and take the cue and get out of there fast!! We need to love one another, sarah

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