“Don’t let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” –Dalai Lama

Have you ever noticed how being around certain people seems to immediately bring you down, even if you ere in a fantastic mood before they showed up? Most of us have at least one or two negative people in our lives who manage to destroy our inner peace – at least temporarily – within just a few minutes of them entering a room.

People that are negative often like putting others down. It may appear like this is the only thing they enjoy doing. So, what should you do if a negative friend, coworker, family member, or colleague approaches you? You listen at first, lending a sympathetic ear and hoping that their negativity is only a phase. After all, we all have bad days now and then.

However, if you’re dealing with someone who is negative by nature, you may find yourself emotionally drained every time they are around. Negativity really is contagious, and if you don’t take steps to guard your mental health, you can find yourself infected with their rage and negative.

Running from them isn’t a good option, and if they are a coworker or close family member, doing so might even be impossible. Try these six simple techniques to disarm their negativity and protect yourself from their hostility.

1. Don’t Be Drawn Into Their Negativity

Allowing yourself to become infected with toxic negativity is not a good idea. Do not indulge in the skepticism that a difficult person is prone to. Do not, under any circumstances, stoop to their level. Keep your emotional distance from the situation.

This does not imply that they should be ignored. You shouldn’t attempt to see the bright side of everything, either. Trying to persuade someone to quit being negative may simply encourage them to become more hostile.

A difficult individual is likely to be trapped in a negative perspective that is ingrained in his or her nature. Negative people are frequently demanding and put pressure on others around them. They want others to love and respect them, to “be there for them,” but they are unable to provide emotional support to those around them.

When dealing with them, keep your expectations low. When you’re sad, a negative individual isn’t the best person to turn to. Use noncommittal words when you do engage with them. Recognize their contributions without endorsing what they have to say. Agree with them to the extent that you can, then reframe their criticisms in a less loaded manner. You won’t be able to change their personality, but you might be able to neutralize their harmful attitude.

2. Don’t Try to Solve All Their Problems

It is not your responsibility to make someone happy who is sad. If you try to change someone overnight, you will fall short and may become dissatisfied yourself. Your own pleasure is the only thing you have control over. When dealing with negative people, you can (and should) stay cheerful, but don’t kid yourself into thinking you can make them happy or change their minds.

Telling someone in a foul mood to be happy is a surefire way to offend them, so abandon the Pollyanna mentality and refrain from giving unsolicited advice. Instead, lend a sympathetic, nonjudgmental ear. If they ask to hear your thoughts, kindly and calmly share them.

Finally, being secure and confident is the best method to defend yourself emotionally from a negative person. Allowing a negative person to make you doubt your talents or undercut your motivation to achieve your goals is not a good idea.

3. Take a Break

Setting boundaries is one way to protect yourself from an intruding negative individual. After dealing with someone who emotionally drains you, you need a safe place to clear your thoughts. To prevent being overwhelmed by a negative person’s toxicity, keep them at arm’s length.

Even though you have a smartphone tethered to your hand, you are not obligated to answer every call or text right away. Take some time to collect your thoughts when you’re frustrated or annoyed with a difficult person. When you’ve recovered your composure, contact them. Allow yourself time to replenish your batteries so that you have the stamina and patience to deal with them gracefully when the time comes.

When at all possible, restrict your contact with the individual. You are not obligated to invite them to lunch or coffee. If you have to hang out with them, do so in groups so you don’t have to deal with them one-on-one.

4. Don’t Speak without Thinking First

It’s easy to give in to rage or frustration when dealing with a negative person, but save yourself the suffering. Responding angrily just adds to their negativity. Keep your mouth shut and pay attention. When they realize you won’t give them the reaction they want, they’ll express their frustrations somewhere else. It can be tough to control your emotional responses, yet it is necessary for that all important inner peace.

Try not to be offended by insensitive or tactless remarks. Negative people are frequently so enraged by imagined indignities that they are unaware of how offensive they appear. Listen without making any judgments. Even if it’s buried in doom and gloom, they may have a point. Look for a takeaway from which you may learn.

If you must answer, do so objectively and without passion. Carefully and thoughtfully explain your ideas. Do this, and you’ll never regret having a nasty talk again.

5. Take Command of the Discussion.

You can utilize a technique called appreciative inquiry, which is the process of asking questions to help a person achieve a more optimistic outlook, when they are continually moaning about specific events or subjects.

Ask questions that focus on the good aspects of the person’s experiences or upon the future if they are ruminating over a past event. “What are some positive aspects of that experience?” or “What would you like to see happen next time?” are examples of such queries. Reframing the negative language allows them to concentrate on how to create a more optimistic future.

Before moving on to something new, softly acknowledge what they are saying to steer the conversation into neutral themes. “Yes, I see you’re upset about how that meeting went,” you might say. Have you had a chance to review the report that was sent out, by the way? There are a few intriguing concepts in there.”

Be the Force for Good (Vibes)

Make an effort to personify positivity. Wear your enthusiasm as a shield against the hostility of a negative person. Do nice things for a negative person on occasion to reinforce your positivity. They don’t have to be massive.

Compliment them on something they performed exceptionally well. Remind them about a time when they were happy and everything seemed to be going their way. “Remember when you were able to bring in that big customer and everyone was so impressed?” you might add. That was a fantastic day for the business.”

Their negativity can often be chipped away at with small gestures like these. They might find happiness in the end, but if they don’t, so be it. Doing good for others will make you feel good about yourself and reinforce your positive attitude.

If your expectations are realistic, you can have a successful relationship with a negative individual. Don’t anticipate big changes will happen overnight. Focus on your happiness because you are the only person over whom you have control. Maintain a positive attitude and rise above the situation.