Have you ever met someone who was just this negative?  It’s like they are mad at the world and everyone is perceived as a threat.  Negativity can spread around us like wildfire if we’re not careful.  Here are a few ways to handle the haters:

  • 80-90% of the way people act is based on how they see themselves.  If you know someone that is chronically negative, chances are, they don’t like themselves a whole lot.  If you’re miserable, it’s easier to make those around you miserable.
  • Q-TIP:  Quit Taking It Personally.  If 80-90% of what people do is based on how they feel about themselves, it really has nothing to do with you.  When you make it personal, you make it a problem.
  • Focus on getting it right, rather than being right.  You can’t play tug of war alone.  Let negative people have their power struggles and self-induced frustration.  You don’t have to take part in it.
  • Set boundaries.  Remember, no one can force you into negativity.  Keep your boundaries very clear.  For more information on setting boundaries, check out my previous post.
  • Avoid them.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of avoidance, because it generally makes things worse, but in this case, stay away.  The less contact you have with negativity, the less likely it will rub off.
  • Forward this blog post.  Often people aren’t even aware that they come across so negatively.  Sometimes, gently pointing it out or saying, “Now tell me something positive”, can create self-awareness.

Negativity is contagious.  It is a nasty little virus that spreads if we let it.  So to all the haters out there, relax, life is too short to be so negative.  Smile…it makes your face look better, and it will make you a whole lot happier. 


  1. Spot on info. Need a little more advice: what if the negative-o is someone who is chronically ill and that is the main factor in their negative attitude? I try patience but sometimes I just have to run away – fast!

    • Hi Cindy,

      I can relate, trust me. The biggest gift you can give yourself is to not take it personally. It really is about this person dealing with their own illness and emotional/physical pain. Just be grateful that you are healthy and let the negativity roll off your shoulders. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but it is possible. Just remember, it’s not about you. Hope this helps.

  2. Thanks Anne, I came to that conclusion about 20 years ago about a co-worker and finally decided if I wasn’t going to become another “Negative Nellie” I had to seperate myself from her. She would come by my desk to go to break. It took about two weeks before I figured out that every time I came back from break with her I had a lousy attitude and was feeling “low”. After I figured it out and started making excuses why I couldn’t take a break, right then, it didn’t take long before she quit asking. I was working with her when she got married a third time they took a four day weekend and went out of town. When she got back I congratulated her, her response…”we’ll see how long this one lasts…”?!!
    It’s good to know I made the correct move, away from her, even though it’s 20 years later.

    • Good for you, Lesa! It’s really tough, especially if you like the person, but you’re right, if you can’t change the situation, you can change who you spend time with. It’s tough to do, but it sounds like you handled it beautifully. Way to go!

  3. Your Q-TIP remark really rang true for me. My director at work never has anything nice to say about me. The only feedback she gives my immediate supervisor about me is negative, nothing ever positive, and she never says thank you for the work I do for her. She is short and dismissive with me. When I approach her with a question, she looks like it is absolutely painful to address me. I’ve always been supported by my senior management, even mentored and promoted by many. However, I’m getting nowhere with this one. I think it is important to have good working relationships with your senior management team, especially if you work in Human Resources like I do. My only consolation is that she treats everyone in her division like she does me. She is only slighty nicer to those that report directly to her. The last two directors I’ve had have been women. Is there some magic trick to working well with women in senior management roles when you are their subordinate? I’ve never had any problems working for male directors and it has nothing to do with sex. I’ve never been hit on or propositioned by any of my male superiors. Only encouraged, empowered and given room to work productively and be myself.

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thanks so much for your comment. Unfortunately, I have had a negative situation with a female boss in HR as well. In hindsight, I realize she felt threatened by others due to her insecurity, and it came across much the same way you’re describing. While I know it sounds silly, I would forgive her. She doesn’t know any better way, or she would use it. She’s most likely unhappy and doesn’t know how else to behave. Keep your chin up. Remember, it is what it is.

  4. *giggle* Being near-sighted can be fun…When I first looked at the image accompanying your post, I didn’t notice the caption at first or the look on the kitten’s face. I looked at what seemed at first glance to be an uber-cute, fluffy kitten and thought, “How to Handle Haters…Give Them a Tribble!”

    But, in lieu of a tribble, a smile sometimes works wonders. Sometimes, telling someone you’re glad to see them not only jars them out of the bad mood–for at least a moment–but it also magically makes you genuinely glad to see them, too–for at least that moment.

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