Life Advice



Barton Goldsmith: How to avoid negative people

Barton Goldsmith, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Eight more steps to happiness

When life hands me lemons, I do try to make lemonade, but when it hands me negative people, I usually make my way to the nearest exit. I deal with real pain in people every day. Others who just complain to be negative, I can do without. Perhaps you feel the same way. Here are a few ways of dealing with the negative people in your life.

1. Stay off social media

Much easier said than done, I know. It’s nearly impossible for me to do, since I’m contracted to post daily, but some days I just post and shut down. I have gotten into arguments with people I didn’t know and been insulted by people I have complimented. People no longer get drunk or high and call their friends or enemies; they post on Facebook.

2. Steer clear of angry acquaintances

Sometimes people you don’t really know get angry with you: neighbors, old schoolmates, even friends of former friends may get in your face, or they may create distance from you. I prefer the latter and demand it if they try the former. Honestly, when someone shows me their ire, I hit my off switch, and I am done with them. You should be too.


3. Ask for a sit-down when a family member gets upset and projects it on you

Yes, you could move or have them abducted by aliens, but talking is so much easier. Usually people aren’t upset for the reason they think they are, so a little bit of empathy may help your family member focus on the real problem. It will also be easier for both of you if they know they have your help and understanding.

4. Set limits when you need to

For example, do you know a constant complainer? If so, you must treasure the friendship, but be aware that being bombarded with someone else’s negative issues can be emotionally taxing. So set some boundaries. You can say, “I need to go now.” Or suggest, “You might want to talk with a therapist.” If you do this consistently, and your friend values you, they will stop.


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