How To Protect Yourself From Negative People

a woman gesturing to stopA positive attitude is a blessing but developing and preserving it, is a herculean task. And having people brimming with negative energy constantly by your side doesn’t help.

A regular exposure to negativity has a slow but toxic effect on your mental well being. It invariably gnaws through your positivity and leaves you emotionally drained. Before you realize it, you too start going down that path . For instance, if you are constantly with someone who finds fault with everything, you too will eventually develop that habit subconsciously.

The first step to protect yourself from negative people is to be able to identify them.

In your daily life, you encounter many types of negative people. The most common ones are:

1) The ‘Complain Box’

They whine and whine and whine some more! They delve into self pity, believing that they are being wronged at every stage of their life by one and all. Instead of finding a real solution, they prefer to find only faults!

2) The ‘Pessimist’

They are experts at using words like “Impossible,” “Won’t work” and other cousins of the word “No”. They are filled with scepticism and everything to them is doubtful, implausible or somewhere in between.

3) The ‘Know-it-All’

They are self-proclaimed Einstein. Highly knowledgeable, they believe that it’s their duty to impart information with every breath. They tend to belittle you by correcting your every single action, which can be frustrating and humiliating.

4) The ‘Judge-it-All’

Nothing is missed by their radar. They form judgements on everything and anything. For example, they’ll say things like “You paid Rs.4000/- for those jeans!” accompanied with a slight smirk. They have a knack of making you feel stupid, small and like you are always under scrutiny.

5) The ‘Sarcastic Cat’

A simple question like “What’s your name?” gets an answer like, “Why? You want to marry me?” When someone is sarcastic 24×7, it becomes difficult to remain calm around them. They will never provide a straight answer and many times, if the remarks are directed towards you, they can harm your self esteem

There are several other such ‘negative species’, each with their unique modus operandi of spreading negative energy. Just remember that any person who invokes negative emotions in you like frustration, anxiety, anger etc. on a regular basis is likely to belong to this.

The second step to protect yourself from negative people is to learn how to deal with them.

For starters, they are best handled at a distance. However, that’s easier said than done, especially, if you are working together or belong to the same family. So what do you do?

1) If this person is a colleague, you can try changing your break timings; keep your conversation to simple ‘hellos’ and most importantly, stand your ground.

2) If this person is your friend then, politely but firmly tell him how you feel. If things still don’t improve then it will be in your best interest to reduce your interaction and hopefully your friend will get the message.

3) Family members pose more problems since you are emotionally attached to them and their words can hurt more. You can choose to ignore their negative aspects, although it’s a difficult thing to do. You can train yourself to mentally block their negative influence. If you are close to them, then letting them know how their behaviour is affecting you might also do the trick.

The way ahead

When dealing with negative people, always remember that you’re not being selfish by creating a little distance.
Negativity is contagious and extremely difficult to get rid of, so staying away from such influences, whether by maintaining actual physical distance or by mentally blocking what they say, is in your best interest.


Image courtesy of [imagerymajestic]/

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