If you can’t say something nice…

I have always felt it is energising and uplifting to be around positive people. If you are feeling low or uninspired seeing someone making the best of things, not allowing set backs to leave them defeated, and accepting situations they don’t like but can’t change rather than constantly complaining about them does inspire similar positivity in those around them. 

I try to be generally positive but sometimes it fails me and I find myself bitching and moaning about my situation, usually work connected. If it makes me feel better to do this that feeling doesn’t last, so I need to take some deep breaths, maybe have a walk and get myself into a more positive frame of mind. I think of myself as a cup-half-full person for sure, so I can usually snap out of it quite quickly. 

The other side of the coin is that sometimes work forces you into a situation where you have to spend a lot of time with very negative people. In your personal life you can choose to avoid the moaners and the pessimists. So, how to deal with a work arrangement where that isn’t possible? 

I work quite closely with someone who appears to find offence in almost anything anybody says that doesn’t entirely agree with her view of the world. She will tell a story and give it such a negative slant it is like a different version of everyone else’s reality, a parallel version of the universe in which everybody is out to make her life difficult. She has on numerous occasions accused a colleague or customer of saying or doing things that simply aren’t true. She isn’t lying exactly; it is as if she has twisted events in her mind to the point where she believes her version even when people around her are telling her otherwise. 

I have learned I can’t change her, so I avoid her as much as I can and try to avoid getting dragged into the pettiness. Nevertheless, it is wearing a bit thin!

I feel like turning into my mum and saying ‘if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all!’

How would you deal with someone like this? How do you shield yourself from life’s moaners and avoid turning into one yourself?

9 thoughts on “If you can’t say something nice…

  1. Anna

    Oh my goodness, I think we are twins. I am naturally a very positive person, quite bubbly actually. But I have a friend who is so, so negative it is hard. My ex always bitched about everything (because he felt inadequate) and my friend is the same. I know the reasons but it is actually hard to be around someone who is a constant drag, I don’t know what the solution is. Frankly I am exhausted from my ex and think stuff him it’s time to put the big boy’s panties on But for my friend, goodness, what do you do except keep plodding on. I can see it so clearly but she is such a negative person to be around. Having said that I know there is a good person under there. I suppose not babysitting everyone is an answer. Who knows. But for sure negative people drag you down A

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  2. Julia

    Some people just seem to be born with a chip on their shoulder and think think the world is out to get them personally, don’t they?
    Luckily my contact with such people is few and far between, so I usually just ignore them. I’ve learnt that it is impossible to reason with such people, so what’s the point in trying?

    If it is impossible to avoid contact altogether, keep all conversations to a bare minimum.
    If she starts up, is it possible to excuse yourself eg “Sorry, I really need to go to the loo/see X about Y/fetch something from another part of the building! Will be right back! ” and hope it kills the moment?

    If she is moaning about something she needs to do for work (as opposed to bitching about her life in general) try not to get sucked into helping her with it. A “sorry, I can’t help right now” or agreeing that it’s hard/unpleasant/too bad it got dumped on her to have to sort out etc, might help, but offer nothing more!

    Failing that, are you allowed to use earplugs to listen to music at work?! 😀

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  3. Pauline

    I have a friend and we got her to write down one good thing that had happened each day (no matter how small). We all did it. Amazingly within a relatively short time – a couple of months her outlook had changed entirely.

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  4. sandra t

    With a work colleague of this nature always cover your back and document everything – never know when you might need to go back to it – I used to manage a team of 21 men – 6 of which were complete dinosaurs and thought that everyone was out to ‘get’ them – I had a file on each of them, which was updated on a regular basis and which came in very handy when I had to take one of them down the disciplinary route – give her a wide berth and any dealings with her document – it’s a great shame that we have to resort to doing things like this but cover yourself. Good luck xxx

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  5. aeioukeducation

    I agree with Sandra, a CYA (cover your arse) book may be useful here. She sounds horrendous, you have at least recognised that she poisons the air and are taking steps to avoid her. Best of luck with the situation and keep smiling.

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  6. LizZ H.

    I wish I could say I’m 100% positive. But I’m not. I catch myself being negative and questioning other peoples intentions on a daily basis.

    Maybe just smile her way whenever you see her!? Maybe that will help brighten her day?

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  7. Jmac

    My mil used to moan about people and I would just say in a lighthearted way – my mum always taught me if I don’t have anything good to say about someone don’t say anything. After a while she got the hint I guess bc she is much better now. Could try that.

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