Dealing with negative people: discover ways to stay calm when critical people cross your path

Citation metadata

Author: Mary Bratcher
Date: November-December 2006
From: IDEA Fitness Journal(Vol. 3, Issue 10)
Publisher: IDEA Health & Fitness
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,426 words
Lexile Measure: 1240L

Document controls

Main content

Article Preview :

Encounters with negative people can be emotionally draining and stressful. This is especially true when you are generally a positive and productive person but have to interact with fitness colleagues, family members or friends who bring you down. Understanding why some people always appear negative and why their behavior causes disruption in your life can help you develop better strategies for interacting with them.

Understanding Human Behavior

Negative people can find something wrong in any situation. They are expert complainers, cynics, tyrants, worriers and/or victims. Unfortunately, negative people may not be concerned with the effect their behavior has on others; they simply want to get rid of their own uncomfortable feelings in the fastest way possible. A quick look at basic human behavior will help you understand why some people seem so negative.

Everything we do and say in our lives is shaped by our particular life experience. We learn from a very early age that certain behaviors produce certain results. For example, if we are hungry and we cry, someone will give us food. If we throw a tantrum someone will pay attention to us and ask what is wrong. If we throw a big enough tantrum, people will leave us alone. These learned behaviors stay with us throughout our lives.

As adults we are expected to repress our feelings of discomfort (or stress) and behave in a more civilized manner. However, expressing ourselves in a more socially acceptable way takes advanced communication skills, and sometimes we haven't developed them. Consequently, when we experience stress, we may not act or react in an appropriate manner.

Typical Ways People React When Stressed

When faced with a situation that causes them stress, many people react in unproductive or negative ways. Here are some of the most common responses:

1. People turn into "know-it-all dictators" who boss others around and think no one else can do things as well as they can. ("Forget it--let me do it--you'll only screw it up!").

2. They take on a helpless role ("I never do anything right") or simply withdraw from the situation ("Okay, whatever.").

3. They behave in a rebellious or defiant way ("No...

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A156581215