Using my keen, highly developed, Scooby sense I discovered something quite interesting last year. There are two types of negative people and two very distinct ways of dealing with them.
Before I continue though I’d like mention that negativity is nothing to be feared, and is in fact, a key part of your life. It has it’s purpose and it’s purpose must be acknowledged.
When someone is in a negative frame of mind and seeks assistance from you, to get into a more productive mindset, before you can help them, you firstly need to understand what type of person they are. Sometimes it will be obvious because you know them well, but at other times, it may be slightly more tricky to establish.
There are two main types of negative people: The first will be the kind of person who generally has a positive outlook on life and may be going through a brief bad spell. The other will be the kind of person who lives in the negative sphere of life. No matter what happens they will find a way of putting negative spin on everything. They’ll win the lottery and they’ll focus on all the bad stuff. I think we all know one of those! 😉 They are a unique breed and need a slightly different approach.
From this point on the former will be known as POSMOT’s (Positive Most Of The Time) and the latter will be known as NANPAA’s. (Negative And Never Pleased About Anything!). I learned about these two types of people from clients I was coaching last year.
How To Establish The Personality Type
1. Ask a very general question, like ‘so, what’s going on?’ You don’t have to make the question complicated; in fact the more simple the question the better.
2. Listen carefully to the answer. A POSMOT will generally give a fairly brief answer specific to the problem. A NANPAA will give a longer, drawn out, answer and extend the answer to other problems.
3. If after the first go you haven’t got there yet, ask one or two more simple questions and use your Jedi powers to carefully asses which type they are.
How To Deal With A POSMOT
1. POSMOTS are generally easily to deal with and all it takes is some re-framing. Get them to firstly state the problem clearly. If you’re unsure of something, ask them to clarify.
2. State the problem back to them in a simplified, re-framed way. Begin the sentence with ‘so, as I’ve understood it, you…’ and if you’ve listened well you’ll be able to give them a summary of what they’ve said.
3. Sometimes the re-frame might spur them to say: ‘Oh I think I’ve just got the answer!’ In which case, problem solved! If not find out what they’ve tried and what else they think they could try. You can even ask something like ‘if I was in the same situation what advice would you give me?’ Often that can be a good way of getting a solution to their problem.
How To Deal With A NANPAA
1. Don’t let them vent. They will swirl away into a whole spiel about everything that’s wrong with their life. Break their pattern by interjecting with something completely unrelated but in a way that makes it sound related.
2. Trying to convert them out of negativity will be about as fruitful as trying to convert someone out of their religion, so don’t do it! If they curse people, join in with them ‘those sons of bitches! Those ungrateful bastards!’ Or anything of the like.
3. If you try and resist or go against their negativity it will fuel them for longer. It will give them more power to find the bad. The best, and in fact, the only effective way of bringing about change in their attitude is humour! It takes away their fuel and the the fire will burn out quicker.
4. You can poke fun at them, the way they’re saying it or something funny about the whole situation. Just make sure it’s funny! You have to find the funny and keep injecting with it to break the repeated patterns they’ve habituated.
5. Repeat the process until they’ve run out of fuel. (That is, until they find something else to bitch about) They will eventually stop though as they will unconsciously realise that their negativity won’t bring you down to their level.
Things To Keep In Mind
1. This works well with people who are bitching and moaning about day to day stuff.
2. If they have a deeper disorder like severe depression then it will mask the problem in the same way pain killers do but it won’t solve the deeper underlying problem.
What other methods do you use for dealing with POSMOT’s and NANPAA’s?