Social Question

Kardamom's avatar

Have you ever had a friend, acquaintance, co-worker, or family member who viewed things very negatively?

Asked by Kardamom (31432points) August 12th, 2015

Not only did/does this person (people) view things negatively, they talked about things/people/situations in a negative way, out loud, in front of you and others, on a regular basis, and seemed to have an impossible difficult time putting a positive spin on anything, or seeing anything or anyone in a positive light?

Did that person (people) make you feel un-comfortable, or drained, when you had to listen to them speak about things so negatively all most of the time?

How did you deal with them (or the situation) so that you could manage to not end up feeling drained and/or depressed when they spoke like this?

Do you suspect that this person (or people) suffered from clinical depression? Or do you think that some people are just wired in such a way, that they tend to view things more negatively than other people?

Do you think it’s possible to help these negative nellies, either by your/our own actions? Do you think the only way to help them is if they are willing to get professional help? Or do you think that there’s nothing anyone can do to help these folks feel better, and in turn, not be such a downer?

How do the rest of us help ourselves, short of running away from these people (which is often not possible, or desirable)?

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10 Answers

Unbroken's avatar

The draining feeling you described is what a counselor once told me people with borderline personality disorders or other like disorders. In which case I say they can only help themselves.

But my. Mother was always like that. She still can be. It is due to her type a personality. But also due to over twenty years of emotional physical and verbal abuse.

I have picked up on the whole being critical thing as well. But I am hyper aware of it and can usually turn it around. By making a decision or commitment to put as much or more energy into seeing the positive as I do the negative.

I also find that if I persist in vocalizing the positive I can influence others to be just as positive. Also the brain is very prone to suggestion even one’s own suggestion. So if I can maintain and persist I can convince myself to be more optimistic.

Although there are times when using observation to note both the positive and negative can help me evaluate a situation appropriately and with a certain amount of caution.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That sounds like a fairly good description of myself. And I can state with confidence that the older I get, the more I whine. As for being depressed, I can’t be certain. It seems to me that those of us who transit life with glass half empty optics should be overjoyed at how often our perspective is vindicated. After all, if I’m depressed, there’s certainly no shortage of crap to be depressed about.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I used to work with a woman who was so dour, I could feel my positivity ebbing away when she was around. I’ve mentioned her here before. We weren’t allowed to say hello to her in the morning and she found happy conversation annoying. Part of the problem is she looks miserable, even when she isn’t. I remember her discussing a colleague and saying they seemed unable to get when she was joking, and I could totally see why! She complained about everything. Nothing was ever her fault. It was hard work to be around her.

I’m as guilty as the next person of having a bit of a whinge, and especially if I’m stressed, but normally I’m a positive person. I hate when I find myself getting into a cycle of complaining and will try to avoid doing it. However, I think some people are really just wired that way. They’re just negative. They might not even be particularly unhappy, they just seem to be to us more positive types. The woman I have mentioned wasn’t depressed or unhappy from what I could see. She just has a very negative personality.

My response was to avoid her when possible. I was always polite and friendly, but I didn’t go out of my way to be around her. I think that’s about all you can do unless you really want to tell them how they come across to others. In most cases, I’m not sufficiently invested in that person to warrant expending the energy.

jca's avatar

I try to not spend too much time around people that are overly negative. Just like @Earthbound_Misfit, I am not invested in the average person, to warrant spending the energy on them. I wouldn’t become friends with someone like that. I have nobody in my family like that.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If it’s in the workplace I just tell the person to go away. I don’t have a problem with telling someone off. My mother does it at times too. I only have to give her my glare and she turns it off. For some reason I have a really intimidating gaze. I’m really a teddy bear, but I scare people with my eyes.

ibstubro's avatar

When I was a kid, if the dog was not home in the morning my mother would invariably say, “Aww. He probably got run over.”
Yes, she was depressive.

rojo's avatar

My sister-in-law cannot allow herself to be happy.
She seems to always look for the worst possible outcome to any situation and convinces herself that this is what will or has happened.
Very self-depreciating, nothing she does is ever good enough for her.
She will take it upon herself to do certain tasks, such a cooking, at family get-togethers and refuse help then complain about how she had to do everything while everyone else was having a good time. We literally have to force her from the kitchen in order to assist in cleaning up then she will complain about being excluded.
She has always assumed that when bad things happen, as they do to everyone, that she deserved to have it happen to her.
Still, to this day (and she has been my SIL for over 25 years now) she will invariably ask “What did you mean by that?” to whatever I say to her. And not only to me but to anyone who has the audacity to make a statement to her (or even near her for that matter).
Just a very negative person with very low self-esteem but which came first? Quien sabe?

jca's avatar

@rojo: I would find it hard to tolerate someone like that.

Coloma's avatar

Not really, I seem to always end up around either dominant, pushy know it alls, or passive aggressive manipulative types. The trifecta of toxicity. lol
Just yesterday someone I know took it upon themselves to advise me on something that I have already researched into the ground. When I politely told them “Thank You but I already know that” they then proceeded to argue with me about how their source was more reliable than mine.

Gah…no, if anything I am becoming the negative one, but not in a self depreciating manner, I’m just sick of other people I have to deal with. haha

dxs's avatar

I definitely know some people who are negative and complain about virtually everything. I try not to waste time judging but I can’t help it. It’s important to note that there’s a difference between (1) being realistic & vocal about the negative aspects of life and (2) completely blinding yourself from these things because you’re blessed with the opportunity to chose such an option. I prefer not to associate myself with people of the latter philosophy.

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