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We all know one: that person who just can’t help but be negative about everything, the “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nancy.” It can be really trying to have even the simplest conversation with someone when — no matter what it’s about —he or she has something negative to say. Whether it’s a coworker, a friend or a family member, dealing with someone like that can take its toll on your own mood.

I’ve noticed that negative people have a tendency to exaggerate the situation they’re in, which leads them to ignore the positives. It’s important to remember that people who do this may be storing a lot of unhappiness inside and are letting their ego take the lead in their lives.

Here are a few ways to deal with the Debbies and the Nancys in our lives:

  • Acknowledge that negative people are negative for a reason: Maybe they’re going through a really rough patch or are lacking love or guidance. Offer them a shoulder to cry on and some assurance — a little love and support could be just what they need to get back on track to living a happier, more positive life.
  • That being said, don’t allow them to turn their problems into your problems. While you might feel like you’re helping by letting them vent to you or ask your advice, after a while you may end up questioning your own positive outlook. It’s times like these when we need to remind ourselves that we create our own happiness and nobody — not even Debbie or Nancy — can change that.
  • Lastly, keep in mind that the people you surround yourself with are a reflection of you. Ask yourself what you’re getting out of the relationship. If there is entirely too much negativity, maybe it’s time to cut ties and remove the person causing it from your life. Depending on your history with him or her, this might be really difficult to consider — but doesn’t it make more sense to put effort into the positive relationships in your life instead?

When you take a step back to evaluate the relationship, also take a look inside yourself to understand why such behavior and emotions affect you. Taking the time to work on you may just be the key to helping those Debbies and Nancys.

Good Luck!

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