Larry Broughton: My 3 Simple Strategies For Dealing with Negative and Critical People

Negative and overly critical people can suck our lifeblood and inspiration, which is why I call them “energy vampires.” Here’s how to combat those negative Nellies.


If you’re alive and kicking, it’s likely you have someone negative in your life. Perhaps your boss goes nuclear because your mind-reading skills are not up to par. Or maybe your sister-in-law never has a single nice thing to say. You might have an employee who wants to make a huge fuss over tiny, insignificant matters. It takes all sorts of people to make the world go ‘round, and not all of them are sugary sweet and pleasant. Sooner or later we all have to deal with negative people.

Or do we?

Here are some simple strategies to help you deal with negative and critical people.

1. Weed Out Toxic People

Negative coworkers, angry neighbors, and even pessimistic friends can really bring you down. No one has a right to ruin your mood or your day, so don’t give them that power!

While you may not be able to completely avoid the coworker who is always, always complaining about something, you can limit your availability. Cutting ties may not be as easy, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Do what you have to do for your own well-being.

If you’re in a management or leadership position, don’t keep toxic people on your team. One bad apple can severely affect morale, disrupt productivity, and bring the whole team down. Make sure to set policies about direct and respectful communication, encourage and reward positive interactions, and do whatever you can to improve team cohesiveness.

Don’t be afraid to add a little fun to the workplace to help keep your team upbeat.

2. Pick Your Battles

If you address every single issue, or every tiny annoyance that comes across your radar, you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly angry, and emotionally exhausted.

Some things are just not worth the hassle.

Stand your ground when it comes to major issues, but let little things roll off your back. This is particularly important on social media. You might very well post something as obvious as a note about the sky being blue, only to have some snarky, possibly colorblind jerk argue about it.

Don’t get sucked into useless online battles.

When reading news stories, you may be happier if you don’t even bother reading the comments.

3. Be Positive

Positivity is a choice.

How you perceive yourself, and the world around you, has a huge influence on how happy you are.

Understand that being a positive, better person takes thought and effort, but the rewards are priceless.

On a bad day, stop to take in the scenery at a local park on the way home, take a walk at lunch and soak up some sunlight while listening to a favorite tune, and take off your shoes and socks and just stand in the grass for a while.

Remember to be grateful for what you have.

Despite what you see on the news, the world is a beautiful place! If the ugliness we see on the nightly newscasts were commonplace, it wouldn’t be news…focus on the positive. Put things at your desk that make you smile or laugh, and choose calendars or screensavers with profound, positive quotes. Here’s one we love, by Mahatma Gandhi:

Be the change you want to see in the world.

And Finally…

Start each day reminding yourself of these 3 strategies, and look for small wins every day.

Although these are simple strategies, some of them will not be easy. Don’t despair! Try again tomorrow, and the next day too. In time, you’ll find that most negative and critical people will have been exorcised from your life, and that you repel them with your superpower of positivity.

Can you identify one action item from each of the three strategies that you can begin implanting into your life today? Go ahead, tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

Shareable Nuggets More Nuggets