FEEL THE JOY! Get FREE TIPS on creating a life you'll love,
plus a free mp3 of our latest rap!

8 Tips for Dealing with Negative People

photo: v.h.d.on flickr

photo: v.h.d.on flickr

You’ve all been there:

You’re having a great day. Maybe your best day ever.

The planets are in alignment and everything is going your way. Everywhere you go, doors open. Birds fly in synchronized patterns above your head. People smile and give you cash.

Nothing can stop your positive juju and seriously slammin’ vibes!

Or so you thought.

Next thing you know, you turn a corner and run into a friend. And not just any friend. Oh no.

You run into Grumpy McGrumperton, the grouchiest, most negative person you know.

You ask him how he’s doing, and he says “Terrible.”

You ask how his job is going, and he says “It sucks.”

You ask about his health, and he says “I feel awful.”

Before you know it, your positive mood has shrunk to the size of a wrinkled pea. You slouch away, bitter and angry.

Why did Grumpy have to ruin everything?

photo: KamrenB Photography on flickr

photo: KamrenB Photography on flickr

We all have Grumpies in our lives. Friends, family members, co-workers. Sometimes we have a bad day and we’re the Grumpy McGrumperton.

So, how do we handle the Grumpies of the world? How do we interact with them and maintain a sense of well-being?

In an effort to answer these questions, I’ve devised the following list. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be Grump-proof in no time!

8 Tips for Dealing With Negative People

1. Don’t Be a Clone
photo: Craig Sunter on flickr

photo: Craig Sunter on flickr

It’s all too easy to let the Grumpies of the world make you Grumpy as well. If you find yourself catching their mood, take a breath and release their negativity into the ground. Or out into the ethers.

It’s not yours! You don’t have to keep it!

Also, if you catch yourself critiquing Grumpy – either in your mind or out loud – be gentle with yourself. Take another breath, and let the critique go into the earth or out into the ethers.

Not yours!

2. The Nightmare Approach
photo: Tony Alter on flickr

photo: Tony Alter on flickr

Doreen Virtue suggested an approach that’s worked really well for me with the Grumpies in my life.

As they recount their tales of woe, listen to them like you’re listening to a friend tell you about a bad dream. That way, you can empathize without taking it too seriously.

Grumpy really believes that everything is horrible. That’s a hard place to be. It’s okay to show compassion for him and his beliefs about his life.

But it doesn’t mean you have to set up a tent and stay there!

Remember that Grumpy’s stories are like a bad dream. This will help you to move on.

3. Say Hello to Your Inner Grumpy
photo: Phil and Pam Gradwell on flickr

photo: Phil and Pam Gradwell on flickr

The law of attraction is always working, even and especially when Grumpy comes to call.

I’m not saying you’re exactly like him, but it can be helpful to notice where and when you maybe, sorta, have a slight tendency to be just a wee bit like him.

When you discover these places – and you will – you can transform them with positivity. With just a little effort, your nega-mations can become affirmations. Your grumbletudes can turn to gratitudes!

And you have Grumpy to thank!

4. School’s Out for the Summer
photo: Michael 1952 on flickr

photo: Michael 1952 on flickr

It is not your job to school Grumpy. Do you hear me?

It is not your job to turn Grumpy into a more positive person.

Have you ever been in a bad place, and someone tried to make you happy? It’sannoying.

You can certainly share about yourself from a positive, oh-so-happy perspective. But trying to force your Happy McHapperton vibe on Grumpy?

It’s rude and aggravating and not nice.

So put your pencils down. Class is over.

5. Bring on the Love
photo: Sean and Lauren on flickr

photo: Sean and Lauren on flickr

Really. Love is always the answer, isn’t it?

The best thing you can do, as you’re standing there listening to Grumpy and his troubles, is to love him. Let the love start in your heart and flow throughout your entire body.

You don’t have a say a word to Grumpy about what you’re doing. Indeed, it’s usually best not to.

And while you’re at it, remember to send some love to your inner Grumpy. He needs it too. Even if he thinks he doesn’t.

Whatever the question, Love is the answer.

6. Walk Away
photo: DieselDemon on flickr

photo: DieselDemon on flickr

This may appear to contradict the previous tip, but they actually go hand in hand.

Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for someone is refuse to support their negativity.

You do not have to be held captive by someone who wants to spew their toxic tales all over you.

After you’ve spread some stealth love, walk away! Do it with respect and kindness, but get those feet moving!

You have a right to be happy, and if listening to Grumpy moan and whine isn’t working for you, get a little distance.

Then you can go back to step 5 and send some more love his way.

As one of my teachers once said, Some people are better loved from afar.

7. Surround Yourself with Positive Peeps
photo: Joris Louwes on flickr

photo: Joris Louwes on flickr

Speaking of keeping your distance from the Grumpies, one of the best ways to do this is to be intentional about who you choose to have in your life.

There are billions of people on this planet. Out of all those people, we only get to hang out with a small portion.

Why not pick the positive peeps?!

Why not pick those people who will make you smile and laugh and snort your drink out of your nose?!

Life’s too short to be weighed down by the Grumpies. Including our inner Grumpy.

If there are people you have to be around – family members, coworkers, etc. – remember Tips 1 through 6. Working these steps can transform the situation so that:

A) Grumpy starts to change on his own, or

B) the situation changes to no longer include Grumpy.

And last but not least:

8. Transform Grumpy in Your Mind
photo: ewan jade on flickr

photo: ewan jade on flickr

Now that you’ve worked the steps and are surrounding yourself with positive peeps, there’s one last thing you can do for our friend Grumpy.

You’ve heard of visualization, right? Maybe you’ve used it to change your health, or your relationships, or your self-esteem.

But you can also use it to help Grumpy.

See him as happy. See him living a rich, fulfilling life.

Every time you think of him, take a few moments to picture him in the best circumstances imaginable.

We all deserve to be happy, including Grumpy. Picturing happiness for him is a step in this direction!

One more thing:

I said earlier that these tips are simple. And they are.

But that doesn’t mean they’re easy.

Nevertheless, if you practice them consistently, I guarantee you’ll see results.

Before long, you’ll be handling the Grumpies in your life with grace and ease. You’ll be such a Love Machine, the Grumpies of the world won’t even faze you!

photo: kevin poh on flickr

photo: kevin poh on flickr

How do you handle the Grumpies in your world? Add your tips to the list!

Did you like this post?
Get Z and Melissa's insights on joyful living delivered to your inbox every week.
Did you like this post?
Get Z and Melissa's insights on joyful living delivered to your inbox every week.

, , , , , , , , ,

16 Responses to 8 Tips for Dealing with Negative People

  1. Lori Louise Lawrence February 12, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    Thanks, Z! While I have used each of these tips at various times, I’ve never piled them all together like this, and I have never had so much FUN with these ideas. Thanks for giving these … well, for giving everything! … such a light touch. I want to print this out onto a page I can put in my calendar as I get ready for each workday!

    I’m SO GLAD you feel called to write, because this blog lights me up.

    All the best,
    Lori Louise

    • Z Egloff February 12, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Hi Lori Louise,

      Fun to see you both virtually and in real-life these days!

      Thank you for your comment. I’m also glad that I feel called to write – it’s fun and fulfilling for me, and I’m really grateful that others enjoy it as well.


  2. Karen February 12, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I agree with Lori, Z. You give everything such a light touch while sharing practical pointers.

    I’ve learned to not try to avoid the McGrumpies, since Law of Attraction just brings more of whatever we focus on. I just try to keep myself in a sufficiently happy place that the McGrumpies zig when I zag…our paths don’t cross for long.

    But I use all your points mentioned here from time to time. Another approach that I’ve come up with is to make a game of it when McGrumpy is whining. I challenge myself to come up with something gently positive in response to every negative statement McGrumpy makes. I don’t do it to try to teach him/her but rather to hone my skills of finding positive aspects. Plus, McGrumpy either lightens up during the game or runs like the dickens away from me.

    As a previous blogger, I’d like to say that your posts are superb.

    • Z Egloff February 12, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      Hi Karen,

      Great! I love your addition. I especially like it that you said that the purpose of this game isn’t to school Grumpy, but to hone your own skills in finding the positive aspects. Yes! This is awesome. I have done a similar game and have had the same result – either a lighter Grumpy or a gone Grumpy! :)

      Thank you for your comments! :)


  3. Jill Shinn February 12, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Hi Z, I like how you emphasize that trying to change a grump is not going to work and, if anything, it just aggravates the situation. I recently read, “the only way you can change a person is if they’re in diapers.”

    Besides, the grump gets energy coming his way by by being a grump so pouring energy into fixing him only encourages him to keep doing the same thing. Trying to change a grump is so frustrating and futile that it can turn a pollyanna into a grump faster than just about anything.

    • Z Egloff February 12, 2013 at 11:33 am #

      Hi Jill!

      Beautiful. I’m going to remember that diaper comment – awesome!

      I agree with what you’re saying here. I find that in getting stuck trying to change someone else’s negativity, I’m fixating on their negative energy, which only brings more negative energy into my life – both in myself and others. ‘Nuff said.


      • Jerrine February 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        I have noticed that my grumpiness; although extremely rare is linked with my physical well being. when I have lost great amounts of blood, I become less tolerant of short comings. If I am have a hard time I think; hydrate, breath, sometimes rest with eyes closed. Are other like this too? healthy= happy? maybe grumpiness is a symptom not that i have to be the F. Nightengale.

        • Z Egloff February 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

          Hi Jerrine,

          I too have found that there’s a direct correlation with my physical health and my Grumpiness. I do especially well when I am exercising regularly and eating well. If either of those things get off track, I’m liable to start sprouting inner Grumpies. Never fun!

          Thanks for visiting! :)


  4. David Scott February 12, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Are you really the child of Lilly Tomlin and Ram Dass?

    • Z Egloff February 12, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      It’s a metaphor. The English major in me refuses to die. :)

  5. Shanna Carson February 12, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I agree that it’s not our job to turn Grumpy into a more positive person. As strange as it may be, I’ve found that some people really like negativity and badly need it. If they don’t find something negative to talk about in their immediate surroundings, they will look into a wider circle that includes their relatives, friends and acquaintances. If nothing negative is found on a specific day, then they will expand their circle and look at the horrors that happen in distant countries. But they have to dwell upon negative things lol. I really agree with everything you’re saying here :)

    • Z Egloff February 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Shanna,

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

      I agree with you about some people’s need for negativity. I used to be one of those people! I’ve also seen the phenomenon you mention where the focus expands to include horrors that have happened in other parts of the world. The best way for me to stay off the Grumpy side of things has been to have a strong gratitude practice. Then I can keep my own mind Grumpy-Free and get on with the business of enjoying life.

      Stop by again any time! :)


  6. Martha McCabe February 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Well done in covering so many bases, Z! I especially appreciate the reminder to say hello to my own inner grumpy. She is there- alive, yet unlike your McGrumpy friend, I’m rarely grumpy out loud to another human being, just grouchy inside…. making me less tolerant, let alone loving towards McGrumpy.
    Another tool that has worked for me along the lines of #8 is to think of all the things I appreciate about McGrumpy, like his hair cut or the color of car he chose, ANYTHING, just to get my own internal shift happening- towards love and appreciation. XOM

    • Z Egloff February 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Martha,

      Awesome to see you here!

      Thank you for sharing yet another tool to keep us all Grump-free. That’s a great one. Appreciation is certainly a powerful and effective way to cut through the Grumpies – both inner and outer.


  7. ellie February 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    This is a great list to add to my child rearing tips. Children can be awesome but also so freaking grumpy. I need to remember that it shouldnt affect me so much because my inner grumpy loves a friend and it happens a little too often. Thank you (as always) for your thoughtful writing!

    • Z Egloff February 13, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      Hi Ellie,

      Great to see you here! Also glad that the list can possibly be of help with the short people. :)

      Staying Grump-free when surrounded by Grumpy energy can definitely be a challenge, but one that is certainly worthwhile. I hope all is well with you and your (occasionally-Grumpy) family! 😉


Website by Barbara Stafford