If you expose yourself in such a manner, it is only consequential to feel pensive, vulnerable, and weak. There are steps you can take to avoid such situations, this is my focus today — how to deal with negative people. There are three things you can do, they are not mutually exclusive:

1. Express yourself

Living in society, in a family, in this world, sometimes, you may genuinely be in a situation when, due to no apparent fault of yours, the other person is negative, indifferent, a little too critical, a bit too insensitive, and so forth. If you know how to deal with such negative people and tackle such situations, your inner state of joy and peace remains unaffected.

Though before I share my thoughts on the present subject, let me elucidate my core philosophy with the help of an example:

Imagine you are a pedestrian who is out on a morning walk. A skateboarder comes from behind, loses control, and rams into you. As a result, you fall down and suffer injuries. Clearly, you were not at fault, yet, you are hurt, you are the one in pain. Even though you are the victim, it is you who needs first-aid, medical attention and time to recover. Regardless of whether it was an accident or a deliberate act on his part, giving medication to the skateboarder is not going to cure or heal you.

Keeping in mind the above, what are ‘they’ doing, why are ‘they’ doing it, how come ‘they’ are like this, when will ‘they’ change etcetera is not my focus, my focus is not ‘they’, my focus is you. To deal with others’ negativity, it’s important to understand, that we cannot change them, but we can change ‘you’. They may be wrong, they may be bad, they may be negative people, the fact is if you are hurt, we have to understand how to heal you, protect you and make you strong. Whatever undesirable things happen to you, it is you who has to take action if you wish to avoid them in the future.

When you are surrounded by negative people, those who drain you out emotionally, tire you out mentally, pass on their negativity to you, make you feel low, insignificant, unimportant, and a whole heap of other downing emotions, somewhere, it is a reflection that you are not protecting yourself, you are not watching out for yourself, you are allowing yourself to be taken for a ride, for granted.

Make it clear to the other person, as politely as possible, that you do not appreciate their comments, criticism, their demeanor. Tell them you wish to remain positive and that for the relationship to prosper, you require a certain degree of respect, acceptance, and personal space. If the other person really loves you, they will certainly take note of it. And, if they continue with their old methods, it is you who has to decide if you wish to persist and endure, or, move on. They are unlikely to change.

2. Remove yourself

If you have expressed yourself multiple times in the past and that has not changed anything, physically subtracting yourself from the situation may help you. While it may not be feasible to call it quits and break the relationship, it may be possible to simply get up and go for a walk to change the scenery and situation. It may give the other person a message. I am not suggesting you adopt this approach in every unpleasant conversation, sometimes they are natural and necessary, however, if you are facing constant criticism, from negative people, a physical change in the circumstances may be the only choice.

3. Insulate yourself from negative people

Think of the safety features of a car, the traction control system forms part of its active safety, and the seat belts, passive safety. Insulating yourself is like a passive safety system. It does not require an explosive like an airbag to swing into action. Insulation from the other person’s criticism, comments, and negativity is one of the finest, albeit not the easiest, ways to be yourself, protect yourself, or deal with others’ negativity.

A while ago I wrote a post on how to deal with criticism, you may want to read it again; it talks about four methods you can use to shield yourself. When you tackle any negativity or criticism, and you deal with others’ negativity by insulating yourself, not only do you gain great strength, you practically render the other person powerless. Their failure to solicit a response from you, their inability to alter your state of mind, gives you a definitive edge, a certain conviction, a blanket of peace, a sense of fearlessness.

Putlibai, Mahatma Gandhi’s mother, once expressed her concern to Gandhi when she found him befriending wastrels. She was worried about her son as Gandhi was a teenager at the time.

“I don’t want you to become like them. I don’t think you should play with those kids, lest you become a loafer yourself,” she said.
“Have faith in me, Ma. I hang out with them so I may transform them. They can’t change me. I’m mentally tougher and emotionally stronger than them.”

She stood there speechless and Gandhi lived by his words for the rest of his life.

Anyone can only ever relay their negativity to you when they are stronger than you. The path to staying strong and dealing with other’s negativity is not easy but very rewarding. This is why the journey of turning inward is about transforming yourself and strengthening yourself so you may remain unaffected. What emotion you allow to sprout in your heart, the thought you harbor in your mind, and the response you choose in any situation is your private affair. If you are mindful of this understanding, you will be able to deal with others’ negativity. It may be interdependent, connected, or relative, but it remains a personal matter. Be careful, be mindful.


Editorial Note

Negativity can hit the best of us when we are feeling down and out.
“Why has my life gone to pieces?”
“Everyone is happy but me.”
“I just can’t catch a break!”
All of us have thought along these lines at one time or another. Having people in our lives who feel the same makes it that much harder to bounce back. So, should we stay away from negative people altogether? No. Read on to understand how you can make the power of your own life stronger than negativity, both from the self and others.



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I feel constantly sad and negative about my life, and I’m told to stay away from negative people to feel better. Is this the only solution?

Sometimes life has no solutions because there is no problem, to begin with. In fact, it can feel most empty when we are blessed with everything. When someone feels sad and unfulfilled most of the time, it’s no longer a question of feelings but of attitude. The sadness virus has struck and it has three classic symptoms that cause persistent sadness and negativity.

Stay away from negative people: is this the solution? I am not the cause of what I am feeling or going through is the number one sign of someone who is either already a negative person or will soon turn into one. The next time you feel sad, do ask yourself this simple question: am I just feeling sad, or am I suffering from sadness? Do you feel someone else is responsible for your feelings, or that life has been unfair to you or every other person you know seems to be doing better than you, or do you feel sorry for yourself? Read more here.

Though I want to stay away from negative people, I seem to constantly attract bitter, hard-hearted people. How do I surround myself with joyous and positive people?

Whenever we show a violent, abrupt, or strong reaction to anything, we naturally draw our attention to that situation. The more attention we pay to negativity the more energy we channel in cementing (and not diffusing) our adversities and disturbing emotions. That’s how the mind works: nothing attracts it as instantly as fear does.

The day you learn to direct this attention toward the goodness around you, at the positive aspects of your existence, you will no longer attract the wrong people to your life. This happens when our own limiting self-beliefs (along with a lack of selfless living) propel us to seek our happiness from others. How fulfilled you feel in your life is directly proportional to where you invest your energy.

If you desire to stay away from negative people, your energy is still drawn to negativity. You put your energy into negativity and destructive thoughts will consume you. You invest it in creativity and positive thoughts will enhance your sense of well-being. This is the law of attraction in a nutshell. You draw energy from whatever you focus on. Read more here.

I’ve started to stay away from negative people because I want to stop being cynical about life. How can I change my negative thinking?

Excessive or negative thinking, being lazy, or being a workaholic, these are just habits. The art of breaking or modeling habits, however, requires willpower and the willingness to see the world (and yourself) differently. The easiest way to shift our perspective is to look at the brighter side of life, to be grateful, but that doesn’t always work. That leaves us with the
second-best option, which is to expose yourself to a new way of thinking. One good way to start is to see which belief makes you most susceptible to anger, hatred, and negativity.

Let go, let go, let go. You won’t know what glory awaits you unless you step out into the sun and embark upon a journey to see yourself, to know yourself. Wanting to stay away from
negative people is only a temporary fix. Read more here.

Despite trying, I am often filled with negative thoughts. Should I stay away from negative people in my life who are causing this or do something else?

Your day is not just one day but a series of moments, thousands of them. The same goes for your thoughts and feelings too. When you are feeling bad or negative, it is not just one big unit; it is a chain of multiple thoughts, a queue of feelings. It is so interlinked that it appears indivisible, it feels like one cohesive unit, like multiple drops of water in a waterfall.

So, should you stay away from negative people? Not necessarily. Talk to yourself, hold a self-dialog.  The first step is to immediately be aware and accept that you are feeling negative. Tell yourself that you are feeling negative and hurt presently. Remind yourself that you are a human being. It is perfectly normal for you to experience negative emotions, to feel down, to feel hurt, to feel pensive. It means you are human.

Never be afraid to be human. Humanity is the path to divinity. Read more here.

I normally stay away from negative people. Lately though, I find my partner becoming increasingly negative which is affecting our relationship. I love him and want to make this work. What can I do?

In a struggling relationship, if you cannot be without the other person for whatever reason, you had better find a way to be happy, to focus on the positives, the virtues of your partner. If you are determined enough to move out of your relationship, you are perhaps strong enough to make it work too. You cannot fix it by being negative. If you generally stay away from negative people, that is not a solution here.

No matter how dire the situation, it possibly cannot be all negative. Make a list of everything you like about your partner and your present life. Review and read this list. It will trigger a sense of gratitude. Positivity will germinate automatically as a result.

Your partner provides for you and is a caring and loving person. However, he does not appreciate many things you do. If appreciation is that important to you, think of moving on. Otherwise, if you accept the situation, you will experience peace and positivity. Read more here

I want to stay away from negative people, and feel positivity and peace within. Is there a way to experience this?

Anger, rage, and negativity are common, if not natural, human emotions. The majority of people experience them on a daily basis, many times a day. Now, what do we do? Should we stay away from negative people like these? We have a choice. We can either be angry ourselves and become like them or we can make a conscious choice on what we want to think, speak, and how we want to act.

The more truthful and real you are in your thoughts, speech, and conduct, the more positive and happy you’ll be. A simple heart, a content soul on the other hand is naturally at peace, and therefore positive.

Being positive comes naturally to the one who leads a life sans pretense. If you are honest about yourself, you will be realistic about what you can or can’t do. Such realism will help you in being positive. This is the secret of positivity.

Be real, be simple. Read more here.

To deal with criticism, I often simply stay away from negative people. In doing so, am I missing out on an opportunity to grow personally?

Is it possible to deal with criticism without negativity?

It is inevitable; criticism. It is always an opinion of the other person. If you agree with their judgment, their criticism may prompt you to improve yourself. However, if you disagree, you may be embracing negativity. Negative emotions weaken you. Sometimes, it can be hard to deal with criticism, especially if it comes from your loved ones.

When others try to unload their negativity and opinions onto you, at that moment, you have a choice, an option to reject, to discard, to let go. If you can let go, maybe stay away from negative people, you will remain peaceful; your heart will not be wounded, certainly not as much. That’s a straightforward way to deal with criticism.

When you are offered criticism, you may choose to clarify your position, only if you truly wish to do that. You may wish to reflect on it, for, such criticism may even be true. Beyond that, do not cause yourself grief by brooding over others’ thoughts and opinions. Reject it. Promptly.

Just like you, everyone has a right to their opinion. There are some popular methods to deal with criticism. Read more here


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