No Complaints!  No Problems!  No Bad Moods!  No Negativity! 


What would happen if you put a sign like this outside of your office, cubicle, bedroom or house?  What if for the next 24-hours, you heard no problems, no complaints, no negativity, no venting and no gossip?  My guess is that you would feel pretty darn good.

Whether you are a victim of letting other people dump their problems and negativity all over you, or if you are in the habit if dumping on yourself, follow these steps to get your 24-hour pass for a dump free zone:

1.  Stop dumping on yourself.  Are you guilty of saying negative things to yourself about yourself?  Do you find yourself thinking negative, self-defeating thoughts?  Create a no dumping rule for yourself.  Every time one of those thoughts comes into your head, yell at it, “No Dumping!”

2.  Create a no dumping sign.  Our brains respond to visual ques.  If you want to remember to stay positive or create an environment of positivity around you, make a sign or get some other visual reminder that you’ll see often.

3.  Stop enabling the dumping.  Remember, you train people how to treat you.  If others are coming to you full of negativity, complaints, and drama, you have to ask yourself what you’re doing to enable the behavior.  Even just passively listening gives people the invitation to continue.

4.  Practice extreme happy.  You’ve heard of extreme sports?  Practice extreme happy.  Every time you head down a path of negativity, claw your way back to happy, kicking and fighting if you have to.

5.  Just say “no”.  I’ve had people say to me, “Yeah right.  When someone is complaining about something, what do you want me to do, stop them?”  YES!  Either gently change the subject, change the direction of the conversation, or move on.  You get to choose what you listen to.

6.  Give yourself a “holiday”.  If the thought of overcoming negativity, complaining, and dumping all together is too overwhelming, make up your mind not to engage in it for the next hour.  Baby steps.

7.  What’s the payoff?  Every behavior has a reason.  If you can’t seem to escape the negativity, you have to start asking yourself what benefit you’re getting from the behavior.  Once you figure it out, find a different way to get it.

Make it a great week, and remember, NO DUMPING!


  1. I remember a colleague that constantly complained about others. I’m not sure what possesed me, but one day I acted like her complaint was not a complaint at all. I said “You must feel sooo lucky to be surrounded by idiots. I bet you look like a superstar everyday. I mean, if everyone else does such crappy work you must be a real asset in eyes of upper management. I bet you don’t even have to try very hard. Relative to those guys, you must look like an absolute genius!” She stopped complaining…to me anyway.

    • Hey Nicole,

      Great to hear from you you. I hope you and your family are doing well. You crack me up. I would have liked to see how big her eyes got when you said that!

  2. I will starting practicing this as of right now.. I hear a lot of negativity and I just think “that’s a sample of what not to do” .. Thank you for the advice. You are awesome! =)

    • Hi Juanita,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I like your idea of making it “what not to do” rather than think of it as negativity. Even that little shift in thinking can really change your perception of the situation. Keep me posted!

  3. When someone complains to me about the same thing over and over, I finally reply, “That must work for you, or you would have found a way to change it by now.” They might come back once more after that (only to get the same reply), but then it’s done. Either they fix what ails them, or at least stop sharing it with me.

  4. What’s the difference between listening compassionately to problems and allowing someone to dump? Everyone is going thru struggles to one extent or another.

    • I think the difference is in the attitude of the person asking for your ear. If they truly have a problem, I am happy to help them think of solutions or offer some consolation. If they have something to whine about everyday and just want someone to commiserate, then I might have to ask for the dumping to stop.

    • Hi Rick,

      You make a great point. I think the difference is in the intent, frequency, and impact on you. I am all for lending an empathetic ear when someone has a hard time. We all have tough times and want someone to talk with. If, however, it’s happening regularly, the person is complaining or being negative for the sake of simply being negative or complaining, and it’s bringing you down, then, it’s dumping. Of course everyone has to make their own personal judgement call, but I think too often, we feel like if we don’t listen, we’re not being good friends or caring enough. It’s ok to create boundaries and make chronic complaining and negativity out of bounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment