The crucial negative people etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior for dealing with a negative person and overcoming pessimism.
What negative people etiquette is
A negative person is someone who tends to be pessimistic on most occasions. Pessimistic people often have a skeptical, cynical, and disagreeable attitude. Negative people etiquette is the set of rules to properly deal with a pessimistic person. Such rules include:
- How to limit the negative traits of a pessimistic person.
- The best ways to deal with negative people.
Follow negative people etiquette to counter pessimistic views and prevent the spreading of pessimism.
General negative people etiquette principles
Negative people etiquette is based on two main principles.
- Protect our optimistic views, well-being, and productivity.
- Avoid offending others.
Negative people etiquette rules
1) Identify the issue and give feedback
Some people may be excessively negative or pessimistic because of personal issues, such as mild depression or other conditions, or because no one has given them feedback.
If you meet a negative person casually or for the first time, it may be best to overlook the issue and move on. Instead, when the negative person is someone you need to deal with on a continuative basis, such as a coworker or a friend, it may be worth making the effort of giving feedback.
Keep the feedback quick and light. Do not venture into a full analysis of the issue. Use humor or simply smile and make a light observation “why are you always so gloomy?” A considerate person will take the feedback and appreciate it.
2) Acknowledge the negative views
Do not antagonize a negative person. Acknowledge their pessimistic views and their potential validity. Do not reject them as groundless. Instead of antagonizing a negative person, try to steer their views away from the negative elements. Present alternative views and suggests to consider the positive factors too.
3) Show there is a positive side
Pessimistic people often overlook the positive factors and focus on the negatives. You can help them by highlighting such positive factors or optimistic views. For example, when a negative person talks about the risks of a new project, counter them by exposing the potential positive outcomes.
4) Bring facts and data in support of optimistic views
Try to support optimistic views with data or factual evidence. First, facts and data will support the optimistic views and make them more credible. Second, to counter your optimistic views, the negative person will have to bring data and facts in support of the pessimistic views. It will be possible to compare data and facts, and thus have a more objective conversation.
5) Drive the attention to something else
If you are unable to come to terms with a negative person, try to steer the conversation away from a negative topic. Drive the person’s attention to something else, or switch the conversation to a more neutral topic.
6) Stop paying attention and move on
People that are consistently negative can be toxic. They can negatively affect the work environment, any social occasion, and even our well-being and happiness. Thus, if all else fails, it may be best to avoid a consistently negative person. Do not get offended or annoyed by their constant pessimism. Instead, limit the amount of time you spend with them or the attention you pay to their arguments. Excuse yourself from them as you would do with a dull or talkative person.
Negative people etiquette at work
Negative people at work can contribute to creating a toxic work environment. Thus, if you cannot help them, it is best to avoid them. When you have to interact with them, such as on a project or in a meeting, keep the discussion strictly on facts and data.
Ask negative people to bring data and factual evidence to support their negative views. If they do, objectively compare the pros and cons of a project or initiative. If they do not bring facts or data, it is perfect evidence to dismiss their pessimistic views as groundless.
Negative people etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst negative people etiquette mistakes.
- 8/10. Antagonizing negative people.
- 5/10. Getting offended by pessimistic views.
- The Neural Basis of Optimism and Pessimism: nih.gov