These strategies will help you stay calm and avoid absorbing negativity.
Do you want to talk about interacting and communicating with people with negative energy, difficult and rude people who are sucking your energy?
You know who we are talking about; people who always have something negative to say, have a habit of being ostracized and lower your mood and energy levels…
In an episode of psychologist Adam Grant’s “WorkLife podcast ,” Sheila Heen , who teaches as a negotiation and conflict mediation specialist at Harvard Law School, advises us to take a curious and different approach rather than holding back to angry or rude people with negative energies.
When you take this approach, “ The conversation is about just knowing about him, never about putting him in order and letting him know that next time he shouldn’t act like a jerk.” said.
Podcast Speech; “’I’m just wondering what’s going on with you right now. Because I am very confused and we have to solve it so we don’t have this problem next time.’ Talking to him in this way shows that you are producing a better conversation and taking an approach that is more likely to resolve the issue; if it can be resolved of course.” said Sheila Heen.
For more specific strategies that work; We asked members of the Thrive Global Community to share the best advice they know from experience for dealing with people with negative energies (difficult and rude).
Here are their recommendations:
1- Speak calmly and clearly
“In my experience, the best approach, especially when dealing with a number of people who exhibit aggressive behavior; is to remain as open to them as possible! You can be more calm with these three habits: Breathe slowly, speak clearly, and ask questions that will get the other person thinking about what they are saying. If the conversation hasn’t developed with a logical, respectful approach, it’s time to take control by saying something like: ‘I had the feeling that this conversation wasn’t very constructive and we haven’t found any way out. How about we give each other some time to work on this next week?’ This shows that you are professional, solution-oriented and collaborative.” Christine Homolka, Communications Manager, Luxembourg, Europe
2- Guide with love, not fear
“My Approach is “Back to Love” by Marianne Williamson Inspired by her book. Whenever I come across a person I perceive as a difficult person, I remind myself that I must move forward with love, not fear. When I can look at someone’s rude behavior through the lens of love, I can respond from my own loving world, as opposed to fear and darkness. I think this is a very powerful change and approach that can change your life.” Chris Rackliffe, Motivational Author and Speaker, New York, USA
3- Don’t get too personal
“Don’t take it personally. No matter how they act or what they say about you or about you, it’s not really about you either. This is actually about them; what they’ve been through and how they’ve managed. So do your best to remain calm and professional in your interactions. ” Margaret Meloni, PhD, Author, Long Beach, CA.
4- Breathe before answering
“I take a deep breath, almost feel where the words are running through my body (heart or gut) and remember my list of personal values that lead me to my ‘best self’ . Later on, ‘I need some time to think about my values’ I say something like, I always skim through my personal values list before I let my feelings fade enough. Offers courtesy, respect and responsibility. Then I answer. This process allows me to control the reactions from my heart and brain, which is the best part of me.” Georgina Cannon, Author, Consultant, Toronto, Canada.
5- Spread the kindness, not with a negative approach, of course
“Negativity drains my energy very quickly, so; I relate to those who have trouble dealing with it. My best advice is, so to speak, “kill them with kindness” . I always try to think that these people aren’t just disgusting because they’re obviously in pain. Try to take this as a sign that their negative behavior needs some love, and make the connection they need by aiming to talk more often from time to time.” Courtney Cannon-Booth, Brand Specialist, Los Angeles, CA.
6- Do not reframe their words, do not repeat them
“I’ve definitely always been someone who gets confused by negative thoughts and puts me in a bad mood. But lately I’ve been trying to put a different spin on these negative thoughts and make thinking about it something more positive or manageable. Someone once told me that a certain plan wasn’t going well. I immediately said to him, ‘I’d rather you be positive about it and I think it will be fine if all goes well.’ This made it easier for me to get the other person away from a negative situation without making them feel bad, and it helped them feel positive. It is an ongoing process, but one that has been taken in the right direction!” Kathryn Djordjevic, Pharmacist, Ontario, Canada.
7- Put yourself in his shoes
“Avoid getting involved in negative conversations you come across; it will give you time to breathe and recalibrate so that you think about where those people or the topic of conversation are coming from. Even if you don’t completely agree with what they’re saying, you can ask yourself; ‘Why do they say that?’ ‘What are they feeling?’ . You can see where they or the topic of the conversation is coming from, and it’s not that hard, and if you start seeing them as people, you can approach conversations and situations more clearly.” Emilia Francesca, Life and Flow Coach, London, UK.
8- Gently shine a light on their behavior
“I advise everyone to stay away from physically and mentally aggressive communicators. And I watch tough and mean people like you’re watching from the future or a movie. This prevents you from being absorbed by their bad energies and helps you respond with sarcasm or curiosity, for example. ‘So you decided to go with vinegar instead of the honey approach? Does negativity give you everything you want? Fascinating.’ Also, on an average approach, ‘What’s going on?’ you may ask. It doesn’t have to be a therapy session, but shining a light on their behavior in a calm voice will often shake them, at least temporarily.” Pam Reece, Communications Consultant, New York, NY.
9- Remember, only you can control your reaction.
“The important thing is to remember that the most important thing you can control is your own reaction when someone intentionally or unintentionally steps on your vein. Easily admitting how right you are and how wrong the other person is can get you in an equally difficult situation. Taking a deep breath and asking yourself how you would like to face this situation will help you transform your reaction into the right responses.” Emily Davis, Public Relations Specialist, Chicago, IL.
10- Put negative vibrations in an imaginary box
“Once upon a time, I struggled with negative people. In the beginning I was trying to ‘fix’ them by trying to shift them to a more positive mindset. But this consumed a lot of my energy. When I realized that I couldn’t fix others, I desperately wanted to get away from them. As this is not usually possible in a business setting, I needed various tools to avoid them taking my energy. I was putting negative vibrations in an imaginary box, shutting them down, and going about my days. I think it works!” Susan J. Hilger, Life and Leadership Coach, St. St. Petersburg, FL
“People go into seclusion by the seaside or on the hills to find themselves (their selves)… I think there is no place where people can return to their selves more peacefully and smoothly… So allow yourself to constantly find your selves and renew yourself.” Marina Khidekel
Marina Khidekel , Thrive Global Editor-in-Chief