How does anyone overcome negativity, especially when it is an unavoidable part of human nature?
“We are taught to listen fully and be sympathetic. To overcome negativity, this may not be the best approach. Listening and listening and listening only encourages the other person to keep letting the issue upset them.” ~ Kyle Barichello
It may come in different forms, such as being “realistic,” and it might come from people in different areas of your life. If negativity is left unchecked, it can have a detrimental effect on even the kindest, well-intentioned people. Including yourself.
But we value our friends, families, and coworkers and the last thing we want to do is call someone out on this which creates more negative energy.
So how can you break these negative thought patterns and help everyone’s overall awesomeness?
How to Help Your Friends Overcome Negativity
Here are 5 tips to help someone overcome negativity in their life so they (and you) can take back their happiness.
1. Don’t let them vent
This is a tricky one. We are taught to listen fully and be sympathetic. To overcome negativity, this may not be the best approach. Listening and listening and listening only encourages the other person to keep letting the issue upset them.
Most of the time, listening so subconsciously makes them believe that they are making sense so they keep going down rabbit holes which stir up more negativity.
It’s not that we shouldn’t listen and be sympathetic. But we should instead look to break or interject the pattern of negative talk and long answers.
2. Don’t try to convert them to see the positive
When we are angry or negative, the one thing that irritates us the most is some happy-go-lucky person telling us to be happy and overcome negativity. As friends, we must not judge and believe that in most cases this negativity or anger is justified. Projecting your own beliefs can make it worse.
Sympathize by saying, “well you know, a lot of people have great reasons to be negative. Everyone wants to be positive but it is tough. “
Avoid the obvious approaches such as trying to make them believe they should see it a specific way. They likely already know what needs to be done.
Join in with the other person in a light-hearted manner. You might say, “those bastards!” or “yeah I know, I hate that too.” The trick is to make it funny and then transition the conversation into something funny.
Try to make them laugh about the situation. A lot of times what we are angry at is very petty. Instead of suggesting another point of view, simply point it out that it is kind of funny and illustrate why it might be.
You might even playfully poke fun at them. Really? That’s what you are angry at? Maybe bring up a time from the past when something funny happened as a result of anger or negativity.
4. Let them come to their own conclusions
Restate the phrase of negativity as objectively as you can. Allow them to hear it back exactly as they said it before. Then, be silent for about 30 seconds.
This is a great way for them to come to their own realizations. Or maybe you give them a trigger item that helps remind them that they are being negative again. Something to raise the awareness that they have slipped out of the present moment.
That trigger could be something happy. Give them a reason to smile.
5. Step away
We all want to be of service but sometimes there is just no way of changing the present situation. In these cases, it is best to step away. We have played out a part in offering a different perspective but it gets to a point where it starts bumming you out.
Being around a constant environment of negative energy can really wear you down. When all else fails, being open and honest with a statement such as:
You don’t seem willing to look at this from a different perspective. Is that true? I get why you feel this way but honestly, there is nothing I can do to help you. I’d be happy to talk with you when you feel like being part of the solution.
Or maybe you say something like, “it’s important for me to switch the conversation to a more positive place. It is bumming me out by focusing on the negatives.”
Among the millions of other things in life to learn about to better our human relations, dealing with negativity is one skill that I find time and time again to be of high value.
We are all products of our environments and who we spend our time with. If we want to lead happier lives, the constant reoccurrence of negative energy is only hurting our chances.
If our hearts are in the right place, the other person will understand and you will have indeed helped them overcome negativity.