There are two kinds of people in the world.
There are those whose energy encourages, uplifts, and strengthens us whenever we are around them. They are the "affectors" because they affect us in positive ways.
And there are those whose energy discourages, downgrades, and weakens us, especially if we are in a vulnerable or unprotected state. These are the "infectors" because their negativity contaminates us if our "immunity" has been compromised.
Personally, I'd rather be around people whose energy leaves me feeling more energized than depleted, but sometimes these "infectors" can be hard to avoid.
Just the other day I told a family member that I found a pair of Yellow Box flip-flops on sale at a local store for nearly half the original price. Knowing that she is a fan, I wanted to pass the information along to her. She looked at the pair on her feet, then looked at mine, and said, "That store only carries seconds."
I shook my head. She just couldn't help herself with that comment.
Our shoes were the same brand name, identical, except for the color.
While I was happy to have found such a deal and willing to share it with her, she couldn't wait to qualify it with a negative remark.
But I chose not to let her energy infect me. Instead, I quietly blessed her and moved on.
While dealing with negative people can't always be avoided, there are some things to understand about them to help you in your dealings with them.
First, they are creatures of habit. Their negativity is part of a pattern, and criticism is part of their character. These are not isolated incidents. Recognize the pattern and realize that you can't change it. They have to want to change their way of thinking.
Second, more often than not, they are against things, rather than for them. Do they know what they stand for? Rarely, if at all. But they will certainly tell you what they stand against.
Third, they can't give compliments. What starts out as a compliment is always followed by a qualifier. For example, "I enjoyed dinner, but..." That qualifier negates whatever positivity was intended.
Fourth, they lack passion. They aren't accomplishing much in life. They don't have a vision for the future. There's no attempt at or no room for personal improvement. Trying to involve them in activities is met with criticism, defiance, and in some cases, anger. Since they are against so much, few people want to be around them or work with them.
Fifth, they gossip about and criticize others. If they talk about others in front of you, chances are they are talking about you to others behind your back.
Sixth, they are master complainers. Sadly, nothing is ever good enough for them because they will always find fault. On the road of life, they focus on the potholes instead of the beauty and excitement of the adventure.
Seventh, they bring the past into the present. They refuse to let bygones be bygones by continually rehashing incidents that have happened. Forgiveness is not their forte, unfortunately.
Try this little "test." The next time someone's name shows up on an email, text message, or caller ID, note your immediate emotional reaction. If the person is someone who energizes you, you will be happy to respond to that person, but if that person's name makes you wince or curse upon seeing it, that's an indication of the negative influence this person has in your life.
We're not always going to be able to avoid dealing with negative people, but we don't have to let them infect our lives. When we have an understanding of their actions, then we are more equipped when we do deal with them.
In my next post, I'll examine what we can do to handle negative people in our lives.
In the meantime, what are some of the ways in which you deal with such a person? Please share in the comment section below.