How To Stay Happy When You're Around Negative People


One of the hardest things to do is to stay positive and happy when you’re around negative people. If you’re surrounded by co-workers, friends, or family members who are bitter, easily angered, constantly upset, and cynical, over time their negativity can wear you down.

I’ve been in offices where the atmosphere was so toxic that it not only stifled any creativity but it seemed to suck all the optimism out of the air.

Negativity is not good for business nor is it good for the well-being of humans.

When someone is happy and looking at the bright side of life, it seems to annoy negative people. It’s been said that misery loves company but a more accurate way to put it, is that those who are miserable want validation of their misery and they get that validation when others are just as discontented and pessimistic as they are.

Negativity has a way of spreading, and it can be especially aggravating when you’re forced to be around a group of people like your co-workers whom you might not choose to be with if it wasn’t mandatory. You can’t tell your project leader to snap out of it because they’re bringing everyone else down.

So, what can you do to prevent becoming toxic by association?

8 Ways to stay happy when you’re around negative people.

1. Take Action

Sometimes just getting out of the direct line of negativity can help, or doing something to cause the negativity to take a new direction. “When you are with negative people you can politely excuse yourself and leave the room,” says motivational speaker, and author of Choose Happy, Jill Liberman. “If that is not possible, don’t fuel the conversation. Avoid allowing them to impact you. Offer the positive side, perhaps you can influence them.”

2. See The Positivity In Others (Even If They Don’t See It)

When someone is caught up in their own negative feelings, it can be challenging for them to see an alternative. Inspirational storyteller, Nihar Suthar suggests making it a point to see positivity in the people around you. “I always try to think about 3 positive qualities in each person I am around, no matter how negative that person might be. By seeing them in a positive light, I am also able to remain positive while working and interacting with them.”

3. Create Boundaries

You can’t make someone be happy if they’re around you, but you can let them know where you draw the line. Dr. Lori Whatley says, “Help them [negative people] understand what you will and will not tolerate from them regarding their negativity, and then follow through.”

4. Don’t Take It Personally

This may sound easier said than done. If someone seems to go into immediate bad mood whenever you’re around it’s easy to assume that you’re the cause. Author Milana Perepyolkina says, “No matter how negative someone is, it’s never about you.”

5. Be Confident

Don’t let someone else’s negativity destroy your self-esteem. You know who you are, where you’re going in life, and that under no circumstances are you going to let a group of negative people cause you to doubt yourself or your abilities.

6. Treat Them With Kindness  

Whether they’re going through a bad time or are in constant negativity-mode, you have no idea what’s happening in their life. We all need some kindness and compassion—even if when we have our walls up. If you’re kind to them and expect nothing in return, you may be pleasantly surprised when they start to be nicer to you.

7. Positivity Bomb Them

Every time someone throws some negativity your way, give them a double dose of positivity. Smile at them and say “Hello” every morning, even if all you get back is a grunt or a complaint. Eventually, you may end up wearing them down to the point where they find that having a positive attitude is just easier than being unhappy and negative

8. Reinforce Your Own Positivity

Be grateful and focus on the things that are going well in your life. Look at the goals you’ve achieved, the tasks you’ve accomplished, and all the triumphs and rewards you’ve earned along the way. When you reinforce positivity, it causes more of it to happen. There’s a reason why people say happiness is contagious.

If you get sucked into other people’s negativity, it can not only affect your job performance, it can affect your health. Negativity can create extra stress, migraines, heart, and digestive issues, and can make it so that you dread going to work.

By staying positive in the face of negativity, you’re taking care of yourself, and that’s the best thing you can do. Take your positive-power back, and use it as a shield against negativity.

What do you do when you’re around negative people? How do you prevent them from turning your smile upside down into a frown?