I was playing tennis today with one of my tennis buddies. We play once a week and we usually chat about work, professional tennis players and local news.
Today he was very negative about the people of the area we live in. According to him they are all thieves and crooks.
Now this makes me really angry when I hear him talking like this since I have had very positive experiences with the people I have dealt with locally. I find the locals to be very friendly, helpful and considerate.
So we disagree on the facts. What can I do about his negative thinking? What can you do when dealing with negative people?
Three Ways To Deal With Negative People
1. Get specific
When someone is caught up in negative thinking they will often generalize their statements. It is a good idea to ask them questions to clarify what they mean.
For example if my friend says all dogs are aggressive I will ask him:
Small dogs or big dogs? All dogs or certain breeds? According to who? In what kind of situations?
By doing this you can shift the perspective of the negative person from a generalized over reaction to a highly specific opinion. This will ease some of the negativity and the intensity of their outburst.
2. Let Go
Let go of wanting to control the opinions of the people you deal with no matter how negative they are. By all means talk to the negative person and use your persuasion skills to help give them a more positive outlook.
However remember that each of us is entitled to be negative, wrong and inaccurate! Once you accept this you will not get so stressed about wanting to change people who are negative.
And ironically when you stop trying to change people they can almost sense that you accept them and so your words have more impact.
3. Choose to Be Positive
When people around us are negative sometimes the easiest thing to do is to join in. You do not have to. If you want to just go ahead.
Otherwise find ways to maintain a positive attitude. Look for the positives in the situation and point them out to people. Ask yourself how you can use this opportunity to become better.
And refuse to get dragged down by others into the murky waters of negativity no matter how bad it gets.
Being positive is a choice even when those around you have slipped into negativity.
About The Author
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available for a limited time only at: http://www.howtotalkwithconfidence.com/report.htm