Let’s face it – negative people are everywhere and unfortunately, we have to deal with them in a variety of settings. In business, negative people can undermine a team’s efforts and even scuttle potential deals. For a business person like yourself, it’s important to know how to deal with negative people and successfully navigate their cynicism without taking on that cloak for yourself. Negativity is awfully infectious, so it’s important to have behaviors in place to combat these downers.

These five ways of dealing with negative people allow you to prioritize relationships while making sure that you can maintain your upbeat attitude.

1. Listen in your “Happy” Place: Negative people seek an audience for their grievances. Often, in order to do a deal you have to listen to them complain about the various maladies in their lives. You can listen, but don’t take it on. The way to do this is think of something that makes you happy or focus on tasks that need to be done. Look, the negative person is going to talk regardless of whether you participate or not, so look the part but don’t be the part.

2. Don’t Provide Advice: Negative people always seem like they want help. Don’t fall into this trap. The reality is you’ll give them advice, they won’t take it or they will find fault with your advice. Now you’ve fallen into the rabbit hole. This is problematic for you. The negative person will feed off of this energy and now you have provided them an outlet and taken your focus off of the important things that you have going.

3. Don’t Tell them How They’re Wrong: Negative people want to suck the energy out of you. Now, granted, this is not their overt motivation, but misery does love company. When you confront them on their attitude or how they are wrong about something, all you are doing is inviting your schedule to be mucked about with. Your time is better spent on things that can be solved, and you can’t change a negative person, so why try?

4. Always Have an Escape: If you feel yourself sucked in to a negative person’s orbit – for example, at a meeting – be sure to have some sort of escape hatch built in. If nothing else, there’s a “very important phone call” you have to take, or a problem that just can’t wait. Set a hard time limit, for example, if you have to meet with Bob and Bob is a drag, then only set 15 minutes to deal with Bob. What you’ll do is limit your exposure and you’ll be able to move Bob onto the important parts of the meeting quicker.

5. Do Something Positive Before or After: Negativity drags you down, so you have to pull yourself up. Easier said than done though. The before or after component gives you a chance to bounce back or gird your loins. You need to reinforce your attitude and in doing so will keep you from succumbing to negativity – remember, it is infectious. The positive experience doesn’t need to be something big – it could be as simple as going to Starbucks. Treat yourself, it’ll be worth it.

Negativity is something that everyone has to deal with, but don’t let it impact your attitude. Use these tips to keep your attitude in the right place. Remember, the better the attitude the more frequent your success!

“Remember that it is up to you to choose everyday to Get off Your Attitude and to create a positive lifestyle for yourself and others.”

Ryan C. Lowe

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