Everyone knows that person who walks into the room and ruins everyone’s mood. Or maybe you have a friend who complains and worries so much that it has come to the point that you avoid them. What about that coworker who always has something passive-aggressive to say?
A negative person is someone who views everyone and everything as unfriendly and lets their negative attitude affect the way they treat themselves and others. Avoiding their negativity and not letting them upset you can be a challenge.
Most of the time, you’ll notice many of these 7 signs of a negative person in people who bring you down. Or perhaps you’ll recognize your own behavior in some of them.
Keep reading to learn how to protect yourself if you’re dealing with negative people and how to change and become more positive if you are one.
7 Signs Of A Negative Person
We all have bad days, but to someone with a negative worldview, every day is a bad one. A negative person feels that only bad things happen to them and they feel like the whole world is out to get them.
There are 7 signs of a negative person who lets negative thoughts and feelings rule their life. They’ll be easier to understand if we first look at an example of how negative people approach everything in life.
What is a negative person like?
Let’s say that a negative person needs a favor from an acquaintance. Most people would be nervous but still politely and warmly ask the other person for help.
A negative person first works themselves into a frenzy of negativity by thinking about how their acquaintance won’t want to help, how they’ll be rude or argue with them. So when they finally make the request, they’re already annoyed, impatient and ready to bite back.
In a way, negative people manifest a bad outcome of a situation or bad behavior from someone they have to deal with because they believe that things will turn out badly. Negative people always expect the worst.
And when the acquaintance reacts to their negativity by being dismissive and defensive, a negative person sees that as confirmation of their beliefs. Because we create our own experiences, it’s no surprise that their expectations come true.
Here are the telltale signs of a negative person.
• They don’t trust people and their motives.
• They always suspect others and their intentions.
• They don’t approach people and situations in good faith.
• They don’t do things with sincerity.
• They have negative expectations.
• They only focus on the bad parts of their experiences.
• They only remember the bad things and forget the good.
• They don’t accept compliments and they suspect the good intentions of the person who tells them something nice.
• When they pay someone a compliment, it’s often actually criticism disguised as one.
• They regularly have negative thoughts about themselves.
• They focus on other people’s weaknesses.
• They don’t rely on anyone.
• They have a bad attitude and find fault in everything.
• They’re argumentative and always ready to contradict others.
• They look for attention through bad behavior.
• They judge other people’s beliefs, behavior and preferences.
• They rarely have nice things to say about other people.
• They can’t forgive even the smallest slight and hold grudges.
• They pick fights with others for any reason.
• They always have something negative to say about anyone.
• They’re unfriendly.
• They don’t want to develop relationships with other people.
• They criticize everything.
• They always find something negative to say about something other people get excited about.
• They always have something to complain about.
• They engage in black-and-white thinking.
• They can’t enjoy success because they expect it to go away.
• They’re always waiting to be disappointed by people or life in general.
• They put a negative spin on good news.
• They always worry about what might happen.
• They always get nervous and never excited about the future.
• They turn a small issue into a disaster.
• They’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
• They believe that a disaster is inevitable.
• They’re always against whatever there is to be for or against.
• They believe only bad things happen to them.
• They try to bring others down.
• They’re vindictive and mean-spirited.
• They play the victim.
• Success of others makes them unhappy.
• They’re not grateful for what they have.
• They whine about how much worse they have it.
• They exaggerate their failures.
• They don’t allow themselves to be happy.
• They blame everything on others.
• They don’t take responsibility for their own actions.
• They don’t believe good things about themselves.
• They always find ways to talk negatively about themselves and others.
• They’re focused on what’s wrong with them instead of what’s good about them.
• They’re extremely critical of themselves.
• They’re energy vampires.
• Everything happens to them.
• They don’t work on improving themselves.
• They avoid things.
• They reject the truth if it doesn’t fit their beliefs.
• They always have excuses for their failures.
• They allow the past to determine their present and future.
• They’re underachievers.
• They’re afraid of new things and never take risks.
• They stay in their comfort zone.
• They avoid situations that have unpredictable outcomes.
• They have a fear of failure, so they’d rather just not try.
• They believe other people’s success is due to luck.
• They think they could be happy if things magically changed.
• They miss out on life because of their apathy.
• They have low self-esteem, but they cover it up with arrogance.
• They reject all negative feedback.
• They can’t handle criticism.
• They’re egocentric and selfish.
• They don’t know why people don’t like them despite their behavior.
• They can’t be wrong.
• It’s never their fault.
• They have very thin skin and the smallest comment offends them.
• They try to tell others what to do.
• They reject other people’s points of view.
• They’re a know-it-all.
• They belittle others to keep them feeling bad.
• They are control freaks.
7. Lack of empathy
• They downplay other people’s achievements and good points because they feel bad about their own.
• They don’t understand how their behavior affects others.
• They’re rude to people.
• They love to get something from others but hate giving.
• They’re unable to see things from the perspective of others.
• They love to gossip and talk about other people’s faults and mistakes.
• They turn conversations into arguments.
• They always have to win.
• They’re never happy for others.
How Do You Deal With Negative People?
We all encounter negative people on a daily basis: energy vampires, pessimists, people who pick fights with you for no reason. or people that make you feel like you have to walk on eggshells when they’re around.
When you have to interact with people like this, you must prioritize your own mental health. Setting and enforcing boundaries is the only thing that will protect you against their negativity.
They will upset you and ruin your day, and their negative outlook can be contagious. If you keep encountering such people, the damage they inflict on you can make you grow distrustful and turn into a negative person yourself.
How you deal with a negative person depends on the relationship you have with them.
1. Walk away
Sometimes you have a bad experience with someone you’ll only see once in your life, so your priority should be to get away from them as soon as possible. If it’s someone you have no commitment to and you don’t have to deal with them, just walk away.
If you’ve ever run into someone who’s trying to bait you into an argument with them, you’ve probably felt obligated to defend yourself and make them calm down, but you don’t have to do it. You can refuse to engage them instead of falling into their trap.
Ignoring someone or leaving the room instead of arguing with them might be difficult because it feels rude or disrespectful. But it becomes easier when you remember that this person isn’t trying to communicate with you and they only want to antagonize you.
Say something like, “I’m not interested in discussing this,” and ignore them or leave. They will try to continue the argument, rant or gossip they started, but it’s best if you stay persistent and shut them down.
2. Focus on your purpose
In cases where you have to interact with a negative person, the way to avoid their negativity is to keep your focus on the reason why you have to talk to them. Whatever negativity they put out, ignore it and only discuss the thing you have to discuss.
For example, you need a coworker to give you some information related to work, and this person is a gossip who likes to talk behind people’s backs.
When you come to them asking for the info, instead of telling you what you need to know, they’re trying to tell you something unsavory about another coworker. You can tell that they won’t give you what you need before they’ve had their fill of involving you in their malicious small talk.
Don’t think that the only way to get out of this is to give in and listen to them. Instead, ignore their attempts to engage you and only focus on the work-related reason you’re talking to them. Reiterate why you’re there and ignore whatever else they talk about.
However long they try to get you to gossip with them, refuse to cooperate and continue asking them for the information you need until you get it. This is the only way to escape from this situation without giving them what they want.
3. Help them
When someone close to you is negative, things get more complicated.
The fact that someone you care for is plagued by negative thinking, which makes them toxic and unhappy with their own lives, hurts and it’s understandable if you want to help them. It’s also very difficult.
The only way for someone to stop being negative is to be willing to change. (See below for tips on how to stop being negative.)
Even when someone decides that they want to do better, it takes a lot of hard work to improve their mental health. If your loved one is negative and they decide to work on getting better, you can be there for them and give them support.
But if they’re still at the stage where they refuse to see that their negativity is a problem, you won’t be able to help them.
The only thing you can do is make sure they don’t get you entangled in the negativity. The worst thing a negative person can do to you is turn you into one and it doesn’t take a lot for that to happen.
Tips on dealing with negative people
Use these guidelines to help you, regardless of what your relationship with a negative person is.
• Stay positive
Don’t react to their negativity with negativity of your own. If they yell and you yell back, you’re falling into their trap. Don’t react to their behavior the way they expect you to but stay true to your intentions and don’t engage.
• Set boundaries
Be firm about the behavior you will tolerate and how far you’ll go to help them. Your boundaries can be different for different people, but you must have them to protect yourself.
• Don’t judge
Fight back with kindness. Show understanding instead of telling them how awful they are. Realize that their behavior is caused by negative thoughts and insecurities they’re struggling with.
• Don’t take things personally
Don’t forget that it’s their own issues that are making them behave this way. Even though this isn’t an excuse for their behavior, knowing it can be helpful if you feel hurt by their actions.
• Don’t be their therapist
You can’t solve their problems, so don’t even try. Don’t give them advice. You can show them support and understanding, but you don’t have responsibility for their feelings.
• Change the subject
Try to avoid getting emotional because of their negative behavior. Instead, it’s a good idea to change the subject and try talking about something positive.
Are You A Negative Person?
If you recognize yourself in some of these negative traits, you already know how much damage being a negative person causes to every area of your life.
Negativity doesn’t only bring others down, it makes you miserable too. It hurts your relationships, makes your life more difficult and constantly keeps you anxious and on edge.
A negative mindset can affect everything in your life – from job interviews you’re sure you’ll fumble to sabotaging romantic relationships before they even begin.
Have you ever had an angry outburst that made you feel superior as it was happening, but afterward, you felt drained and hopeless? Do you enjoy raining on someone’s parade when they’re happy about something to put them in their place?
Being mean to someone might make you feel pleased for a short while, but when it’s over, you won’t feel any better about yourself.
What makes a person negative?
Most of the negativity that makes you and the people around you uncomfortable stems from the same source: negative feelings about yourself.
When low self-esteem, a lack of confidence, depression, insecurity, a fear of failure, anger or anxiety aren’t addressed in a healthy way, they come out as toxicity. You bring people down to feel better about yourself, even if you don’t mean to do it.
This kind of behavior tends to happen in the heat of the moment, and even though you know that you’re being toxic, you can’t stop. Before you can learn how to control your behavior, you need to learn how to stop letting your negative thinking affect your life.
How to stop being a negative person?
The first step towards becoming a positive person starts with being positive with yourself. You need to deal with your issues and learn healthy coping mechanisms. This won’t only help you stop being toxic to others but also help you grow as a person.
As you become happier with yourself, you’ll become a kinder, more positive person.
The first steps to becoming a more positive and happier person are self-awareness and willingness to change. It sounds simple, but if you don’t see anything wrong with your feelings and behavior, you won’t commit to changing.
If you’re always suspicious of other people’s intentions, it’s largely because you approach your interactions with people ready to defend yourself. Ask yourself why this is so. If you’re envious when someone you know achieves something, determine why you feel that way.
Work on recognizing what is behind your negative thoughts and reactions. Journaling and meditation might be helpful if you’re having trouble getting in touch with your feelings.
Changing a negative mindset into a positive one starts with being compassionate with yourself. When you know that you’re being negative towards other people because you don’t like yourself, then you can decide to be a little kinder to yourself.
Self-acceptance takes practice. If you’re used to being hard on yourself and talking down to yourself, it will take a while to change. The important thing is to recognize it and start focusing on the good instead of the bad.
Stop yourself when you notice self-deprecating behavior and start challenging your thought processes to generate positive energy.
3. Tough love
On the road to loving yourself, you’ll have to face yourself. Confronting your negative thoughts is unpleasant, but it’s an act of self-love that’s necessary on the path to recovery. It’s the first step towards becoming happy.
If you were ever in therapy – and if you’re a negative person, you could benefit from it – you’ll know that it makes you do things you don’t want to do that are for your own good. Self-reflection is the most important of them.
Facing yourself is difficult because it exposes all the lies you tell yourself and makes you deal with all the raw and unprotected feelings you try to run from. Mindfulness and affirmations might be helpful.
4. Change your point of view
The main difference between negative and positive people is that positive people look at things that happen to them and accept them as they are. Negative people focus only on the bad.
Learning how to be more positive and let go of negative interpretations of events and people’s behavior will change how you feel about it. Approach people with empathy and events without expectations.
If you usually become angry at a friend for ignoring your text for a certain period of time because you think they don’t care about you, you could instead decide to put yourself in their shoes. Think about how busy they might be and that a single text message could have escaped their notice.
5. Break the habit of negativity
You don’t trust people, so you feel lonely. You always expect bad things, so bad things happen. You feel envious if someone close to you achieves something instead of being happy.
When negativity becomes a habit, it becomes your default reaction. Challenge your negative thoughts by replacing them with positive ones to let go of negativity. Even if you have to convince yourself at first, the more you focus on the positive, the easier it becomes.
For example, if you always blame others for bad things that happen to you, start taking responsibility for your actions. Create positive habits by deciding to see things in a more positive way.
Gratitude can go a long way in helping you see the good things in your life. Thinking about the things you’re grateful for can help you change your perspective on your life. Appreciate everything, even the small things.
If you often feel envious of others because they have something you don’t, focusing on the good things you do have is very helpful. But if you’re already thinking about how you don’t really have anything to be grateful for, you’re deluding yourself.
Develop gratitude by consciously changing your thoughts. If you can usually find something negative in everything good in your life and think things like, “I like my job, but–” make an effort to stop qualifying the positives with faults.
RELATED: 146 Thankful Quotes To Inspire Gratefulness All Year Long
Most of the 7 signs of a negative person are behaviors caused by negative thinking and negative self-image. Some negative people want to change and lead better lives, while others prefer to stay in their own little bubble of misery.
When you have to deal with a negative person who’s unwilling to work on their feelings and behavior, it can be difficult to remember that their negativity hurts them too. Don’t forget that you can only help someone willing to be helped.
Make sure to protect your own mental health by using boundaries and not letting them pull you into their negativity.If you’re a negative person, working on improving your self-esteem and making a conscious effort to be more positive can help you achieve a happier outlook and escape the struggle with negativity.