Hanging out with negative friends can be exhausting. You used to have great times hanging out with them and they definitely have great personal qualities you can learn from (that’s why you guys were buddies in the first place). However, something has changed and you noticed that they constantly see or say things in a negative light rather than positive. That not only sucks up a lot of your positive energy but also starts bringing you down. You really want to continue your friendship with them but their negativity starting to become yours and it is affecting you.
You are not alone. Many of us have experienced the same struggles with our friends or family (there is always one person in the circle right?). Many people suggest that cutting ties with negative people is the way to go. However, it is easier said than done. What if they are your very good friends and you really don’t want to just avoid them or stop hanging out with them? The good thing is that you don’t have to give up just yet. There are actually positive things you can try to better manage the situation.
1. Take control of your own reaction
Understand that you are not able to control others; however, you can control your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. So try not to take their negative comments personally. When they choose to be negative, they could complain every little thing around them and chances are, their negativity has nothing to do with you. It is important to make sure you don’t make their problems yours and don’t make their negativity your own. Take a step back, look at the situation, and think about what you can do to make yourself feel better. The key is that you need to take control of your emotion! Sometimes it is helpful to look at the same situation through different lenses and it might change your perception and attitude towards their negative energy.
2. Be empathetic towards them
Negative people usually have a deep sense of fear and insecurity. It makes them unable to see their problems and hence, unable to take responsibility for their negative attitude. And worse, they tend to blame others, victimize themselves, and believe that bad things always happen to them.
Showing empathy is one of the best ways to help your friends alleviate those fears. One way to show empathy is to listen. Listen to their complaints without judging, and try to put yourself in their shoes and look at the situation from their views. Also, instead of telling them not to be negative, it is more effective to gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives and offer help to make life easier for them. Sometimes a small act of caring and kindness is enough to turn them around.
3. Praise your friends at those positive moments
Negative people are not only negative to others but also negative to themselves. They are usually lacking some positivity in their life. Praising is a really good way to give them some positive energy. Pay attention to the things they say or do and try to catch those positive moments to give them your praise. They might not feel comfortable accepting your compliment at first, but deep down, they should feel positive about it. At the end of the day, everyone likes to hear compliments. Your compliment might not only make their day but also carry them a long way.
Positive is much more powerful than negative
When you have to deal with negative people, it is important not to allow their negativity affects you and makes you blame others. When you blame others, you are essentially giving others the power to control your own emotions. Try to apply these positive skills to overcome the negativity. It will not only help build your emotional strength but could potentially save the relationship and friendship that you have with your friends.