Have you ever noticed how emotionally and physically drained you felt after spending time with a friend or colleague who is constantly complaining and criticizing?
I call these people “energy vampires” debilitating the sunshine out of your life.
It’s healthy for all of us to vent once in a while but chronic grumbling creates a poisonous environment that doesn’t serve, feed or fuel our souls.
If you’re a kind-hearted and emotional giving person then you are more susceptible to attracting Negative Nancys.
Perhaps your upbringing or religious values have shaped you into believing it’s your obligation to help anyone and everyone.
Allowing a Gloomy Gus to seek refuge in your bright aura is inviting nothing but chaos and drama in your life.
Hmmmm … Gloomy Gus and Negative Nancy sound like they are a depressing match made in heaven!
But I digress..
Forgo the garlic and wooden stake … try these 6 helpful tips to handling the energy vampire in your life:
1. Be compassionate and sympathetic
When your friend starts to complain, respond “I’m so sorry you going through this.” Most of the time, your friend is looking for an outlet to unleash their unhappiness or anger. Once you offer support, she will calm down and start feeling better.
2. Focus on the positive
If a friend is complaining about a situation/boss/boyfriend/end of The Good Wife, ask her to list some of the positive attributes and opportunities. Realigning the energy into a constructive space will make her appreciate the other side of things.
3. Change the subject
Switch the conversation to a light-hearted topic can bring your friend out of the darkness and detract her from the issues at hand. Alternatively, watch a funny movie to switch up the mood.
4. Set Boundaries
A toxic workplace can mean more than high-VOC paint in your office. If a colleague starts ranting then it’s best to interrupt the conversation and explain that you are working on a project with a tight deadline. Try offering a more suitable time to chat like lunch. It’s best not to suggest coffee or drinks after hours or else you are setting yourself up from becoming a colleague to therapist.
5. Advise them to seek professional help
Your friend may feel relieved after talking to you but her euphoric state will only be temporary if she has serious emotional challenges. A therapist is trained to provide the support and resources for those who need professional help. Leave it to the experts. Just make sure he/she didn’t receive their degree from Hollywood Upstairs Medical College!
6. Walk away
Let’s say you’ve been sympathetic, changed the topic during a raging rant and offered the name of a therapist but your friend is still bringing you down. Then it may be time to cut the energy umbilical cord and call for a break. Her problems shouldn’t cost you your own emotional health.
Letting go of negativity doesn’t mean you no longer love your friend, it just means you love yourself more to stay in an unhappy and unhealthy friendship.
Do you have a negative friend or colleague in your life? What have you done to help her out?
P.S. A big shout-out to my dear friend Mitch who brings an abundance of positivity, support and love with his words of wisdom and stunning photographs seen in this blog post.
Check out his photos accompanied by awe-inspiring captions:
Twitter and Instagram: @MitchPopilchak