Everyone has been around negative people before. This is an experience that can be quite a ‘downer’. Develop some coping skills to use when you are around people that are negative.

How to Deal with Negative People

Negative people

There is no one that hasn’t had a work mate or friend, even a relative who is extremely negative and at times are so very hard to deal with. This is usually the person in your office or in your life who complains endlessly about:

  • Co-workers

  • Spouse

  • Family members

  • Friends

  • Traffic

  • Shopping

  • Work

  • Life in general

The point in this long list is to show that negative people complain about everything and everybody.

Resist the urge to judge or assume

These are people who are pessimistic about life as well as everything about their life. Being around these type people is not an experience that is pleasant – in fact, it can be rather frustrating especially when you really like the person or the person is a member of your own family. In very little time they can have you thinking negatively.

When conversing with a negative person for the ‘first time’ – you can provide a listening ear and help if needed. You can even be supportive but don’t let this become a situation or habit where that person tends to seek you out every time they have a problem.

What to watch out for

These types of people are usually disparaging about life and people in general. But there are a time when being with this person is actually an experience that is not unpleasant. When the negativity is hiding the other side of this person can be quite engaging to be around; often the person has a great sense of humor but these times are few and far between. Then they turn around and start looking at life in a negative way which is draining on you.


This becomes a real problem if the negative person is a family member you have to visit or is a friend that you dearly love. To cope with these people, you need to have coping skills for dealing with negative people. In life you are going to deal with these type people often as they are everywhere so having a plan on how to deal with them. This plan should include:

  • No engaging in negativity

  • Spend little time alone with a negative person

  • Spend more time in groups

  • Don’t let negative people make comments that hurt you or others

  • It might be hard but you might need to consider dropping these people out of your life

Don’t engage

If a negative person is around often you simply can’t engage with any negative topics. Instead bring up topics that have a positive spin. Also realize that they exaggerate issues to make their predicament look worse than it really is. You might need to point that out to them things are not that bad especially if the person is a good friend or family member.

A line in the sand

Draw a line where you will not go past. Perhaps in some way you can be a positive influence in the life of this person but don’t make this a goal. You could point out to them that perhaps they can go to get help with negativity. Negativity could stem from depression and there is lots of help for depression. They will probably be offended with you and could even drop you as a friend but if they truly care about your friendship it could be a positive experience.

No sounding board

Refuse to spend much time alone being a sounding board for a negative person. In a friendship or family member that can be hard so just ask someone else to go along with you. The more the merrier is the saying that everyone knows. Refuse to be alone with those who are negative all the time. If they want your friendship, they need to change because you just can’t spend time there. Tell them that – be honest – again it could be positive.

Comments that hurt

Don’t let these people hurt you with comments that hurt your feeling. If this is a friend or family member call them out on it. Let them know that a comment they made just hurt you and you refuse to remain in this conversation. Often negative people don’t even know that their negativity has gone just a bit too far with you. Refuse to stay in the situation and be hurt by negative comments being tossed at you. The person is just throwing comments at you about something that they really fear about themselves. They fear that their new hair cut looks bad, so they made negative comments about your hair.

Limit time

If this negative person is a family member or close friend:

  • Distant yourself

  • Limit time spend with them

  • Let them know why

If this person is a co-worker, it actually can be easier as you can always be too busy to go on break or have lunch with them. Have lunch as a group with others you work with.


Having other people around is often good as different people often bring out a different side of an individual. By having another person or persons around, it might bring out a more positive side in the negative person – it’s at least worth a try!


Before you totally give up on a friend or family member; do some research? Did you know that all negative thinking is actually based in fear and do you know that negative thinking can lead to depression? Depression can lead to stress and stress can damage your body or mind. But this can also be turned around– damage or illness in the body or mind can lead to stress and be the cause of depression that leads to negative thinking.

Follow these few suggestions on how to deal with negative people and maybe you will find that you are not stressing out you as much.