Negative people. They exist everywhere. If you’re like me, you try to ignore them or at the best, tolerate the behaviour. But negative attitude can really wear thin during the Christmas season. Bah humbug – if it isn’t your style, it will really annoy the crap out of you. How do you deal with negative people?

According to Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D. one obvious solution to dealing with negative people is to ignore them. Walk away. If you can. That’s right out of the fight or flee book of survival. But it’s really hard to walk away from a family member, spouse, friend, co-worker or boss. I mean, you can do it but the fallout can be nuclear, with radioactive anger spewing over others. Then your Christmas gets a whole lot worse because everyone is now angry about something.

Raghunathan’s second approach seems less destructive. A practical way to deal with negative people is by understanding the reasons for their negativity. “In brief, almost all negativity has its roots in one of three deep-seated fears: the fear of being disrespected by others, the fear of not being loved by others, and the fear that “bad things” are going to happen. These fears feed off each other to fuel the belief that “the world is a dangerous place and people are generally mean.” (Psychology Today, March 19, 2013)

Bad childhood, parents or other reasons can cause deep-rooted issues of anxiety, anger and fear. I don’t recommend being a psychotherapist, unless you’re one already and want to spend your Christmas analyzing friends or family. Instead, practice understanding and only be responsible for your actions.

Practice understanding means you see the good and the bad in the person equally. You recognize what makes the person grumpy or what sets him/her off. You’re not going to change the behaviour or attitude overnight, so don’t even try. Understanding what a person is about doesn’t mean he/she has the right to walk all over you. It simply means you get where all that cynicism, sarcasm, nitpicking behaviour sprouts from.

Being responsible for your actions means just that. You aren’t responsible for how the other person feels. It’s not you who is miserable or sees the bad in everything. Instead of trying to change the person’s attitude, focus on yourself and how you want to feel. Do things that will make you feel good even if it means taking time out from your miserable person. Be responsible for bringing joy to yourself. Take responsibility of your actions. Don’t blame the negative person for going on ski trips if skiing makes you happy. It’s your choice so take responsibility for your action.

Terezia Farkas is an International Bestselling Author, Huffington Post and CNN contributor, and columnist of Depression Help. Her bestseller Heart of Love Evolution – Surviving Depression is available on Amazon. Her website is Follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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