Difficult Behavior – Should You Avoid Negative People?
I have a number of friends and associates who refer to negative people in some very negative ways. They call them Energy Vampires that suck the life out of your marrow, and wet blankets who smother your hope in hopelessness. They accuse them of raining on everyone’s parade and ruining everything.
Of course, I’ve had my own experiences in dealing with people others deem negative. There was the lady who attended my ‘Dealing With People You Can’t Stand’ public seminar back in 1990. I had just finished talking about how to deal strategically with people who say yes and don’t follow through, and the woman in the last row of a 400 person audience stood and spoke for the first time that day and in a voice loud enough that everyone could hear her.
“That won’t work,” she said. “What won’t work?” I asked. “None of it,” she declared. “None of what?” I asked, hoping to get a bead on a noun. “None of what you’re telling these naive people,” she said, and harrumphed triumphantly. I decided to change course. “How do you know?” I asked. “It’s obvious,” she replied, as if talking to a dummy. “Um, obvious to whom?” I asked, now a bit hesitant, since I seemed to be going nowhere fast. “To any thinking person,” she said derisively. Aha! I tried contrast. “Well, ma’am, it’s sure not obvious to me.” I looked around the room for a little support. But she got in the way. “Well, now. What’s that say about you?” She shook her head as if pitying me for my thoughtlessness, and sat down.
During our exchange, I observed the energy in the room go down. When she first spoke, people were still enjoying the program, there was a charge in the air, excitement over the possibilities being revealed. But by the time it was over, I saw people slumping in their seats, shaking their heads, and even heard one person a couple rows back say to the guy next to her, “What if she’s right?”
In my next two posts, I’ll tell you what I think about dealing with negative people, and then tell you what happened with my audience member that day. Good times. Meanwhile, for the sake of perspective, remember that this is Earth, and life can be hard here. Not surprisingly, some people get down about that.
Your comments are, as always, welcome. Even negative ones!