One of the greatest challenges people in the workplace face is avoiding bad vibes. After spending enough time in the company of other people, you and I know that there are individuals that radiate negativity.

They give off such bad vibes that you can’t wait to get away. If you don’t want to constantly feel this way, then you need to find a way to cope with the negative people in your life. Once you identify them, try to use these tips to handle them.

Some studies suggest that about 70% of all conflicts in the workplace are based not on what people are saying, but how they say things. Moreover, it is estimated that in the typical workplace there are ten negative comments to every one positive comment.


See here for more on a healthy work life balance.

Read:  How to Boost Workplace Happiness



 Signs of Workplace Negativity

  •  Gossip: Gossip takes place when employees are not willing to discuss problems with their managers who could possibly end rumours.
  • Complaints: Growing complaints may not be signs of legitimate problems but of general frustration and low morale.
  • Conflict: This happens due to a breakdown of open communication systems resulting in employees asserting their own authority and a lack of consensus and cooperation.
  • Low Efficiency: In a negative workplace, employees often become indifferent, inefficient and begin to contribute less. This adversely affects the productivity and business performance of the whole organization.


Workplace Negativity


 Who are the negative people?

Who are the negative people?
 Negative people or the ones who put others down all the time because they are usually:

1) Not that successful.

2) pessimistic because they failed and never managed to tried again.

3) who already feel down.

4) who always criticize themselves.

5) who aren’t satisfied with their lives.


 Can a negative person be helped?

You may wish that you could help the negative person to become happier, but dealing with negative people to change them usually does not work. Their negativity will bring you down and make you feel unhappy and negative yourself. You can’t help another person if they don’t want be to be helped. They need to learn from their own mistakes and so do you.



Focus on your own life, making it the best that it can be.  Don’t worry so much about other people.  This is not acting selfishly. This is taking care of your own well-being.



 Don’t take it personally.

Many times when people are dealing with difficulties in their lives, those around them become the targets of their unhealthy coping strategies. Their behaviors manifest out of insecurities, fears, and anger. The most important thing you can remember is that this is about them, not you, and therefore don’t take it personally.


 Avoid them when possible.

This probably goes without saying, but the absolute best way to deal with negative people is to cut them out of your life. At work stay cordial and friendly but don’t get sucked into a deeper relationship.


 Spend more time with positive people. 

You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.  In other words, who you spend your time with has a great impact on the person you eventually become.

Does who you are and who you want to be reflect in the company you keep?  Start spending time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded.


 Detach and Avoid Trying to Change the Negative Person

Learning to detach emotionally from a negative person can greatly benefit you and the other person. A negative person will fight you if you try to change them. If you want, you can try a little reverse psychology and agree with everything she says.



There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.  The little difference is attitude.  The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.




The first thing you need to do is to set clear boundaries for your interaction with these people. What is the nature of your relationship? Is there a way you can minimize interaction with them? Determine how much time you want to spend with them.



You can control the positive space you create around yourself.



 Identity Areas You Can Make a Positive Change

Negative people are negative because they lack love, positivity and warmth. A lot of times, their negative behavior is a barrier they erect to protect themselves from the world. The key here is to be sincere in your desire to help, and to show him/her the upsides in life.


  Objectify the comments people make

We don’t have to constantly agree to everything someone says. If you feel strongly objective then politely tell the person how you feel and that you don’t see it the same way as they do.


 Deal With Their Anger

Negative people are often angry. To remain in positive control follow these directions:

  • Breathe slowly and regularly.
  • Speak in a calm manner.
  • Use the UAR process: 
Understand; listen and provide feedback
Apologize blamelessly
Resolve: specify actions




You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.



 Let negative people and negative events motivate you

Promise yourself that you will prove to the people who put you down that they are wrong. Promise yourself that you won’t let rejections stop you. Use the energy of anger that you experienced as a result of facing rejections or criticism to fuel your desire to prove everyone who tried to put you down wrong.


 Set a Time Limit with Negative People

You have two minutes to complain and then time is up. These type of people need boundaries and giving them a time limit lets them know you will only tolerate a small amount of negativity. Check your watch and allow them to vent for two minutes. After that, tell the person it is time to focus on solutions or stop complaining. Play a game with him or her. Take turns coming up with solutions to her problem. Brainstorm together until you have at least 10 solutions. If your they doesn’t like this idea, simply excuse yourself from the conversation.



If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. – Mary Engelbreit



 Critics (deconstructive)

Anybody that criticizes you in a way that doesn’t help you AND/OR offends you AND/OR boosts their ego should be avoided at all costs. I call these people haters. They’re very quick to judge and especially enjoy criticizing other people. It’s amazing, really, to have such a nasty disposition on life in general. It’s easy to be a hater because NOTHING IS PERFECT! But instead of improving things, they find it much easier to criticize. You can find lots of these online.


 Move On

There’s no point holding onto your anger. of people and events that robbed you of happiness and success. Just let go and move on.  You may feel better knowing that what comes around, goes around. and karma is as real as the air you breathe.


Do you have any personal experiences on how to deal with negative people?  Do you have other tips to avoid negativity? Feel free to share in the comments area.

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Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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