What happens when are you faced with someone who is very negative and you disagree with them? You may find that they become louder and more negative, and this can just be part of human nature – we all like to be right. But on the other hand, if you agree with them, you might find that you get even more of that negativity. If they feel like you agree with them they might feel like you are a person they want to talk to more. I don’t know about you, but I find too much negativity can be very draining on me.
Either agreeing or disagreeing with someone who is very negative is likely to produce more of the same. You may want to try a different approach. It is always best to hear the other person out – at least the first time the subject comes up. There is always the possibility that their concerns are valid and need to be addressed. But when someone’s negative perspective is draining your energy, you may want to ask them what they think will make it better and what they are willing to do to contribute to a solution.
This approach – asking for a solution that they contribute to – is like putting a monkey wrench into the gears of negativity. Sometimes negativity is just a default approach. Sometimes it is training, such as those who are taught to critically analyze and feel it is their responsibility to point out each potential risk to any endeavour. But even those who may be suffering a mental illness like depression or anxiety are able to slow down the repetitive negative or fearful thoughts to consider what could make it better or to explore potential solutions. This helps to redirect the energy and the conversation towards something more positive. And it can be helpful for all concerned, including you.
In the article Why Blame & Shame Don’t Work you can find more tips for dealing with negativity.