You and Your Relationships. A Positive Perspective on Negative People.

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-11-20 22:47:24 -0600
Started 2014-11-08 22:54:23 -0600

Got some negative people in your life? At home? At work? Or some days, just about everywhere you turn?

It seems like I am often running into discussions that include the word negative, or even “toxic,” in relation to other people. There are certainly lots of people out there who are difficult in one way or another and, as a result, have a negative impact on you. People who make insensitive or just plain rude comments. Or try to tell you what to do. Or maybe try to pull you into complaining and hating and spiraling down into negativity along with them. And so on…

Here’s a question. As someone living with a chronic condition, do you sometimes feel especially vulnerable when you come into contact with people who might sometimes, or often, fall into the negative camp? You’ve got a lot to deal with as it is, right?

It’s only human nature to let ourselves slide into negative territory when we’re feeling scared, disappointed, angry, or frustrated. We see examples of that every day. And these are also feelings that living with a chronic condition can bring up.

I wrote an article awhile back on dealing with negative people. Here’s a link:

I’m really interesting in how you deal with the negative people in your life. Compassion? Avoidance? Or just feeling like you’re stuck?

Any advice to share? Stories? Need some help?

18 replies

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-11-15 22:01:00 -0600 Report

Hi Dr.Gary
I completely wanted to be a part of this discussion not that I have something. profound to say but rather the subject is near and dear to my heart. Now that I am in a relationship where we're both diabetics I can look back and see where I was pulling out of relationships because of the diabetes. I actually was told once "I can't believe you hooked me into this knowing you have s disease that I can get. " I still can't believe I dated such an idiot. Now I only surround myself with positive people. James is really a positive man on just about everything. The point is I met a lot of peoplre that either were completely ignorant to diabetes or those who just didn't care to know. That's sad. Thank you for letting me vent.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-11-20 22:47:24 -0600 Report

Hi Valentine lady,

So good to see you! It is amazing how many people are so ignorant when it comes to conditions like diabetes. Your example really takes the cake! And yes, lots of people are so caught up in their troubles they can't really be there for anybody else. They miss so much of life.

That's a good decision. Keep the positive people close at hand. Especially James!

Thank you!


RosalieM 2014-11-14 10:34:42 -0600 Report

Dr. Gary,
Another perspective on negative people. I was a positive person all of my life and pretty fearless too. However my method of dealing with a whole string of
things in my life over which I had no control, starting with my husbands sudden and unexpected death, was to pump adrenalin. As time went by and more things happened, I pumped more and more adrenalin, which gave me the energy to handle the ongoing stresses. Soon I couldn't sleep, didn't even get sleepy. Had a ton of energy, from the adrenalin, and I became really negative. I was mad at everyone and let them know it. Remember I have been pretty fearless too. After a number of years the symptoms I was experiencing looked like anxiety. My doctor wanted to treat me for anxiety with drugs that cause weight gain not good for a diabetic like me. The anxiety and anger came from the excess adrenalin. I figured it out myself with a lot of research. I took actions to reduce the need for pumping adrenalin and the negativity started going away and so did the anxiety symptoms. I sleep better too.

Negative people may need understanding. My experience has taught me to
not take negative comments personally and to see negative people as perhaps in need of compassion. It was a valuable experience, I learned a lot.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-11-20 22:43:03 -0600 Report

Hi Rosalie,

Great to meet you. This is a very good point you bring up here. People don't choose to be negative, and one cause of negativity can be body chemistry. With all that adrenalin and fatigue, it would be really hard to be a positive person. I am glad to hear you found a way to reduce the adrenaline in your system. That is no way to live.

And I agree, negativity is often not personal, it is just someone's way of coping with a difficult life.

Thanks for sharing this with us!

Gary 2014-11-10 13:36:58 -0600 Report

It's not easy dealing with negative people because it's not easy dealing with yourself at times. It's already a challenge having to deal with being a diabetic.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-11-12 08:22:24 -0600 Report

Hi Valerie! Thanks for checking in. A good point. Staying positive and upbeat with the challenges of diabetes can sometimes be difficult. So it's important to protect yourself from being brought down by negative people.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-09 16:59:40 -0600 Report

Dr. Gary, I cut all negative people out of my life including people who are now former friends because they are so negative.

I think the hardest negative people to avoid are those you work with and immediate family members who live with you. The thing is you can't change therm. Someone has to really hurt their feelings at times to get them to turn around. Exclusion often helps.

I worked with a woman who never spoke to me from the day I started the job. My favorite cousin and I worked for the same agency. We were always hanging out. She would come home with me or I would go home with her. This woman was a friend of my cousin and another co-worker. One day for lunch my cousin called and asked me if I wanted to go to a dairy to get their fresh home churned ice cream. I said okay I will drive. I gave my keys to my cousin and our other friend was going with us. I got in my car to find the woman who never spoke to me and never said anything nice about me in the back seat. I made her get out of my car. My cousin said to her that she told her if you don't speak to her and you never say anything nice about her, the last place you want to be is in this car. She got out. The next day the woman sent someone in to ask me if I had jumper cables I said yes. i was told she wanted them and I said no. Two weeks later she finally started speaking to me.

Looking back, I think she was negative towards me for two reasons, one she didn't know me and never tried to get to know me. The other reason is I think she thought I was taking my cousins friendship with her, away from her. She finally had lunch with us and learned that we grew up together and our moms were sisters and we always are going to be close but that doesn't mean you couldn't be friends with both of us. My cousin has since passed away and I miss her very, very much.

People can be negative for various reasons. Sometimes excluding them or bringing it to their attention can change them. However, I find that people who feel they have lost all sense of hope and faith can be the most negative and the hardest to help.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-11-12 08:16:44 -0600 Report

Hi Joyce,

Thanks for checking in. I know what you mean. I have also had to limit my exposure to certain people who can't look beyond their own dark view of the world. It becomes so hard to listen to. And you are right, people don't change unless they are motivated to.

Interesting story about the woman at your job. It is always a mystery to me why people can automatically have a bad attitude about someone else without even knowing them. It's a shame when people can't seem to get out of their own way. And jealousy and insecurity are often behind that attitude. A missed opportunity to be with someone nice and who could be a good friend.

And yes, sometimes that negativity comes from a sense of hopelessness. It's tragic when people just give up and not only expect, but welcome, the worst.


GabbyPA 2014-11-09 09:50:35 -0600 Report

My biggest problem is when the negative person is me. I can get into a funk and then it just seems the world is out to get me and I tend to bristle up and fight everything. Even things that don't need a fight. I am usually pretty good at getting out if it with some help from some fearless people. Thank goodness.

As for negative people on the outside, I tend to try to encourage at first, but some are just not open to that, so I usually just move on. I try to surround myself with more positive people. It is a huge relief to me to have access to positive energies. I can get so much more done and life is much more fun that way.

For the negative people that I cannot avoid I have learned to try to check my self after being with them. Actually, I asked my husband just yesterday after such an encounter in a meeting if I was turning into a particular person we both dislike. He said he hoped not, because he didn't want to kiss THAT person. LOL. It was a light hearted way to work though it.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-11-12 08:06:51 -0600 Report

Hey Gabby!
I appreciate your honesty here. I have weeks where I kind of run myself ragged, and when I'm overly tired, I can find myself losing perspective, and at risk for seeing what's wrong rather than what's right. I fortunately have a couple of friends who notice and remind me to get some rest.

In my work, I listen to lots and lots of negativity, and there are times when it's really hard to listen to all of the complaining. I always try to encourage clients to look on the positive side, what's working in their lives. I have found that people who are just stuck in anger and bitterness don't want to hear this, and often don't come back. I have learned to tell new clients upfront that I am all about looking for the positive side of life. Venting is fine, but we don't move forward in life if we stay stuck in the muck.

I love your husband's comment. Very funny. I once had a client who was cussing and swearing and I finally said: "Tell me something. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" He got the message and we had a good laugh. And then his language went from X-rated to a solid G-rating.


GabbyPA 2014-11-12 08:19:09 -0600 Report

I cannot imagine being with people who need so much help all day long. I am sure the break thrus and triumphs make it worth it. But that can be a fragile place to be even for your own sanity. I admire people who can be up beat and genuine after dealing with those kinds of things.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-09 17:11:18 -0600 Report

Gabby, I have never noticed or thought of you of ever being negative. You always have a positive outlook. I may not have always agreed with you but that has never changed my opinion of you.

I agree with you 100% you simply cannot encourage some negative people because they are not receptive to your gestures and you have to walk away.

We have a Captain at our police station who is an egotistical, pompous a$$. I literally threw him under the bus and drove over him in front of his peers at a meeting. To say he was angry is putting it mildly. I was sitting on the panel for his promotion to the next rank. I only asked one question. A month later I called him and talked to him. I told him why I did what I did. He wasn't promoted and I told him why he failed a part of the questions. I also told him I didn't ask questions because I didn't want him to think I sabotaged him at his interview.

Today we have become friends. When he found out I was catching the bus to handle our districts community business, he informed the command staff that if I needed a ride, I am to call the station and they better find an officer to pick me up and bring me back home. He isn't as bad as he was and I told him to resubmit his resume for the next round of promotions.

I don't think he would have made any changes in his behavior for the better had I not ran him over with my Non Stop Express Bus. Sometimes throwing people under the bus will change them.

lilleyheidi 2014-11-09 03:03:54 -0600 Report

I'm not sure that having a chronic illness makes me anymore susceptible to negative people or not. I ran into them before my diagnosis of diabetes, and I still run into them. How I handle them has, however, changed since I decided to get healthy. If I know them, and know that they are negative nellies I tend to avoid them, it's just easier but not always possible. When I do encounter negative people, I smile, speak with them and give them as much polite chat as I can before politely ending the conversation.
Sometimes I run into strangers who begin a conversation that turns total negative, and it is hard to get out of. I'm fortunate it doesn't happen often, but when it does, I will usually end the conversation as quickly as I can, even at times involving a "little white lie" (the dog needs to go out).
I know sometimes, being bipolar, and having diabetes and not being healthy, I have been the negative one, for a lot of people. People have run away from me for years. It's hard for me now that I'm regaining my positivity and my mental and physical health to let family and friends know it's okay to say "hush up your being negative right now" or "way to go, you've been so upbeat all week". The family and friends are the ones who sometimes help me monitor when i'mbeing appropriate in my negativity sharing and when I'm not. It helps to have good friends.
Good topic and good article.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-11-12 07:59:03 -0600 Report

Hey lilleyheidi! Thanks for checking in. Really good point you bring up here. You can choose to take the high road and not be drawn into the dark side. It's always a shame to me when someone is so caught up in negativity that they are looking for strangers to unload on. And I really appreciate what you shared about yourself here. It may take some time for people to recognize the changes you have made. But I suspect they will. That's great to hear! And I agree, having friends can have a positive impact on your attitude. Gary

robertoj 2014-11-09 02:50:19 -0600 Report

I have too many positive people in my life to engage with negative ones. Even with family I only engage in short. polite conversation. The one exception is my wife. She isn't negative but she is sometime infected by her sister. We live with her and her husband. I try to point out that I'm the only one in the house she doesn't mess with because doesn't know my triggers and is extremely predictable. Sometimes she spots the signs of trouble an avoids problems and sometimes not.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-11-12 07:49:45 -0600 Report

Hey Roberto! Nice to hear from you. That is a good strategy with family members who tend toward the negative side. Polite but not getting drawn into the negativity. Sounds like you are trying to help you wife keep on the positive side. Thanks for sharing this! Gary

sweetslover 2014-11-09 00:24:43 -0600 Report

At this point in my life, avoidance of negative people has become my strategy. I don't need their bad influence on my emotions. What really bothers me is when someone seems to make light of my feelings saying that "it could be worse" or "at least your problems are not as bad as …" Those comments do not give me the support I need right now.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-11-12 07:42:23 -0600 Report

Hey sweetslover! That is a good idea. I know what you mean. It's really disappointing when someone treats you like a whiner when you are just trying to express how you are feeling. Stay close with positive people! Gary

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