Evolve with Rick

How Do I Deal With Negative People At Work?

I’ve just received a very good question from one of our friends which goes like this…

“How do I deal with negative people at work? Sometimes, I wonder if knowing about these positive thinking stuff actually acts as a curse, especially when I don’t even know how to avoid them nor make them think positively.”

I understand that you are at work, doing your best to give your best for the company and for yourself, and I also do acknowledge you for being conscious of that!



If something external is affecting you, its time to look within.

If something external is affecting you, its time to look within.

Nobody is born “negative”, except for a razor thin minority. Yet, their presence on the surface of the earth also serves a purpose. I’ll save that for another article.

Quite frankly, all of us are negative at some point of our lives. We get unhappy from time to time due to unrealized expectations. We may choose to voice it or we may choose to keep it to ourselves. But the feeling negativity is there.

In fact, our reaction of negativity is paving the way for more negativity to come in. First of all, you are paying attention to the negativity. Next, you are already giving it more focus when you label it as “negative”. Now this “negativity” is in your life, let’s take a look at how you can release these “negativity”.

Negativity is like this one customer who has paid for his drink but has yet to be served. So he will always stay in your café and demand his attention until you serve what he requested.

Serve? How do I do that?

First of all, you have to understand the needs of such negativity into your life. If someone in our lives is making us feel negative due to their complaints, you have to ask yourself…

What exactly are they saying that is allowing me to feel negative?

Do they remind you of something that someone else has said to you in the past?

If so, am I willing to forgive?



Nope. That's not what you're supposed to do with them!

Nope. That’s not what you’re supposed to do with them!

Most of us are grow up having that inertia to want to do great things in life. I bet some of these complainers and negative people have their own dreams some time back, however, due to some issues, they failed to get achieve their dreams and eventually resign to the fate that they are destined to be at this very job. To them appears therapeutic. It feels like a huge chunk of their toxins is being released, except towards people who may not deserve it! If it turns into a long term habit, it becomes a way to find excitement in an uninspiring job landscape. It could also be a subconscious way to create attention for their most ignored life.

To reiterate what I’ve previously mentioned, these “negative” people are just like any of us! They are just blinded with a dark cloud where they could not see the light of the day. In fact, I could confidently say that you used to be one of them! No offense intended!

Well, let’s take me for an example. Just a few years ago, I felt very stuck in my job as a motivational trainer in schools. I really wanted to do something more. I wanted to deal with adults. Someone whom I kind of trusted told me that I’m a diploma holder and adults will not listen to me because my education could not provide any “value” for them. I was emotionally paralyzed that I became frustrated with my current career situation. Subconsciously, I started to turn my frustrations inward and continued becoming an angry person with no goals. I also started to use sarcasm as a defense mechanism when conversing with others. Fortunately, that negativity did not last long. I was resilient enough to start attending seminars and seek out brighter pastures.

Not trying to sound like I’m mighty great here, but I did channel my negativity in a purposeful way. However, what about those who are deep within the trenches and are not able to channel theirs?



Who knows? My experience in my office will be told by Andrew Lau and remade by Martin Scorsese.

Who knows? My experience in my office will be told by Andrew Lau and remade by Martin Scorsese.

I feel you there. I really do. I know you want to quote them something form Tony Robbins or Brendon Burchard. And you know what, I love their material and they are very good! However, are these materials able to reach into their hearts and minds when they are of a different consciousness?

Now, think back during the time when you were down and depressed and you cared about was whether someone understood you. There came this person who chose to give you some of these quotes, how would you feel?

Bottom line: No one likes to be preached at.
What I would suggest you to do is simple. In fact, to be honest, you can stop reading here right now if you do not wish to interact with any of them. The materials that I had above would be sufficient enough in dealing with other people’s negativity yourself. However, if you like to offer your help to them, read on!

Whether you like them or not, if you wish to help them, you have to be their friends. You don’t have to hang out with them during lunch or join in the water cooler discussions, but you can just offer little values in their lives.




Coming into the light. Walking the talk.

Coming into the light. Walking the talk.

Before you wish to help others to get out of negativity, you have to show that you be someone they can look up to. Hence, if you are a sloppy and under-performing kind of person, would you think they would want to look up to you? Or do you think they will rather have you join their ranks and engage in a complain fest?

BE the person whom you think they have the potential to be.



Look at us! We're different but we're chilling together!

Look at us! We’re different but we’re chilling together!

Saying “hi” is a very good way to start. Smile at them whenever you enter your work place, make sure that they understand that you are on their “side”.

Offer help to some of their minor tasks, like asking them if they want anything from the nearby supermarket if you are heading down or loaning a piece of stationery to them when they need. Best of all, show some interest in some of their interests. This is one sure way to make them open up to you. You observe great landscape changes on their faces – From dull and unmotivated, to bright and animated. Let me tell you a secret, the interest and hobbies of people are usually a key to unleashing their greatest talent. I know of a friend whom got fired from watching hours of martial arts video instead of doing the spreadsheets. He went on to run a very successful martial arts school, spanning across different countries around the region.

However, make sure you maintain your boundaries as you would not like to be seen as a doormat that they can step on. Your intention is just to show them that you are a friendly figure in the office that they could possibly turn to. Yet, it does NOT mean that you have to cover up for them, do their share of work or even loan money to them.



I'm ready. Bring it on!

I’m ready. Bring it on!

By now, you would have built up enough rapport to engage with them. Whenever they feel like telling you something unpleasant, deal with it using the approach.

“I UNDERSTAND how you feel. I could possibly IMAGINE how you are feeling now. In fact, I USED to have the SAME SENTIMENTS as you, UNTIL…”

First, you have to understand and empathize with them. Next, let them know that you used to be the same as them to establish a common ground, finally you share with them your Eureka moment. This is the way to win over their negativity.



The above 3 steps to deal with negative people can also apply to dealing with potential clients or anyone whom you wish to establish an influence on. Remember that people will only follow you if they like you as a person.

Go try it out! You will probably realize that they are not as “negative” as you think!