I don’t need negative people trying to bring me down; life is too good right now. I just wanna enjoy the moment.” ~ Author unfortunately unknown … perhaps our inner voice.
“Did you see Soandso’s hair?!” a certain someone says. She stands right in front of the entrance to your office/cubicle/dorm room/workspace and blocks you from fleeing. She’s ready to spew the latest bad news, and you’re on her list of targets. She’ll go on a rant with no sign of letting up. She is Negative Nancy, and this soul sucker will bring you doooowwwn!
Negative Nancy doesn’t give any thought to the fact that you’re desperately working against a deadline, eyes glued to your computer screen and fingers panging against your keyboard. Instead, she seizes the moment to vent about all things wrong with the world—down to your hair.
“You can’t get ahead with an afro! What was SoandSo thinking? Completely ratchet.” She looks at your fabulous, natural hair, touches her thinning tresses, then softens the blow. “I mean. It only looks good on some people.” Second blow.
You politely nod and turn back to your computer, but Negative Nancy is relentless. She isn’t done yet and won’t be for a very long time. “Not like it matters anyways. This ship is sinking. It’s not the same working here, and It’ll never be like it used to be. Did you hear about …” From there, she begins pouring from her pot of negativity, and all you can do is sit back and watch your Zen drown.
Does this scenario ring true to you? Have you been subjected to a drive-by from a Negative Nancy? If you haven’t, then you’re fortunate. Unfortunately, Negative Nancies are evvveeerrrywhere. In case you’re scratching your head, let me help you to identify them.
Who Are These People? (insert Seinfeld’s voice)
Negative Nancies are constant naysayers. They are the tsk-tsking, it’ll-never-happen preachers. They just can’t see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Even if they fess up to seeing gold, they’ll quickly find something wrong with it.
They often don’t realize their faults because negative vibes have pierced into their whole being. It is a part of them. Often, Negative Nancies are unhappy or sadly jealous, so they vent. Unfortunately, this venting comes in the form of complaints and projected thoughts onto others. Sounds familiar now?
What Happens When You Meet Them?
Since they are in a constant state of doubt, Negative Nancies will rob you of positivity. You will often feel exhausted after conversing with them. Your once joyful spirit will become blue, and it will be difficult to hone in and regain focus on your work. With prolonged exposure, you may find yourself even … transforming into them!
What Can You Do?
Ruuuunnnn! I’m not kidding. Run for the Himalayas! Run for your life! Run like Forrest! By all means, run! Okay, so realistically, you may not want to cause that much of a scene. Good ol’ Nancy has already done this for you. Instead, don’t engage in her talk. I know this will be tough. If you’re like me, you’re used to being polite and courteous. You’ll listen for hours, just to find your soul depleted.
Instead try to:
1. Listen. As I mentioned, some people just need to vent or be understood. I believe that each one of us gets brought into the other’s life for a reason. Maybe this person needs the consoling that you can provide. That doesn’t mean that you become his/her therapist! Instead, hear this person out for a minute. Just a minute!
2. KISS (Keep It Simple For Soul Suckers) – Okay, that’s not quite what that stands for, but you know what I mean. Maintain brief conversations with negative people. The longer you engage, the worse the situation will be for you. Try to steer the conversation towards a sunshiny lane and keep the trip short.
3. Become Positive Polly. Try deflecting negatives with positives. This is not necessarily a tit for tat, ping-ponging scenario. Instead, after Negative Nancy has announced her problem of the week, remind her that everything will be okay. She may not want to hear it, but hopefully she will listen. It may just make a slight difference in her perspective. She may not tell you this, but it can be helpful.
A friend demonstrated this to me years ago. Whenever I started stressing about work or school, my friend, Positive Polly, would simply say with a smile, “Everything will be okay.” At first, I looked passed it and continued yakking, but I soon realized that she frequently said it. Polly was so comfortable in her view, that I felt relieved hearing it. Guess what? I had transformed into Negative Nancy!! I didn’t even realize it until I paid attention to someone else’s positivity.
Life gives us enough ups and downs. Why contribute to the drama?? I hope that these tips will come in handy the next time you’re confronted by you know who. Just remember, when all else fails … ruuunnnn!!
If you have a tip for addressing soul suckers, please share them below.
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