We all have a negative friend or relative, and although we care for them and we want to support them, often we feel that their attitude is a downer and their presence becomes heavy and overwhelming. In each conversation, they are keen to focus on the negative side of things, never see anything good and sometimes they are cynical when it comes to others intentions. They tend to portray themselves as the “victims” and exaggerate their problems.
You want to be a supportive friend without allowing them to affect your mood, and here is how:
Be empathetic but don’t engage in the negativity: listen to them, let them know that you understand how they feel and that they are not alone. However, draw a line. Tell them that rambling on and on over the same angle does nothing to change or improve the situation.
Focus on the positive side: any event or situation, as catastrophic as it may seem at first, has positive aspects as well. Whenever they start venting about anything, stop them and point out the benefit they can receive from it.
Change to lighter topics: Some negative people are triggered by certain topics. If they start complaining about their jobs, for instance, change the subject to those that enlighten the mood and environment, like a new movie, common friends or a hobby.
Hang out in groups: Whenever you have a gathering with your negative friend, invite others to join you. Thus, if a heavy conversation starts, you can always chat with others to dilute the bad energy.
If none of these tips work and your friend insists on her negativity…
Drop them out of your life: This is a tough decision to make because you really care about them, but again, sometimes it is necessary to put some ground between both of you; perhaps this will be a wake up call about their bad attitude. There are millions of positive people and we’d better be around them.