Negative Nancy: 17 Traits and Ways to Deal with their Attitude

Negative people can bring down even the most positive person. Here are the best tips for dealing with any Negative Nancy in your life.

Everyone knows at least one person in their lives who can make an exciting pregnancy announcement or any good news seem like an apocalyptic proclamation. You know the type. That aunt or relative or co-worker who, no matter what sunshine you happen to bring into the world, they can seem to tear it down in five seconds flat. This person is what we call a Negative Nancy.

While an interaction with a Negative Nancy may leave with you a host of stories to re-tell at parties *on account of how ridiculous this person is*, they’re also the most emotionally exhausting people you will come across.

Since life is full of unexpected circumstances, the odds that you will end up stuck at a social gathering with one of these life-leeches is high. For this reason, you’re going to need to learn how to deal with them in an orderly fashion.

Here’s the low-down on a typical Negative Nancy, what they do, and how to deal with them. [Read: 13 creepy signs your friend is secretly an energy vampire]

Why a Negative Nancy is bad for your soul

A Negative Nancy is generally considered someone who is excessively pessimistic – not exactly thrilling company for a night out. One study performed by Carnegie Mellon University revealed that patients sick with the flu or common cold who maintained positive attitude actually produced less mucus than those who were a Negative Nancy. 

What does this mean? Put simply, negativity can ruin your life both emotionally and physically. Do you have a Negative Nancy in your life? Here are 11 characteristics of a negative person.

#1 Inability to be happy even when their life is seemingly idyllic

#2 Constant worries

#3 They enjoy having secrets

#4 Stuck in their comfort zone

#5 They love revealing bad news and dirty gossip

#6 Bored with life

#7 Eternal pessimists

#8 Overly sensitive

#9 Constant complaining

#10 Most of their sentences contain the word, “But… ” in them.

#11 They can talk for hours about themselves or other negative topics without once asking how you’re doing. AKA… they’re selfish.

What to do about a Negative Nancy

Don’t let negative thinking ruin your enthusiasm. You’re an awesome person with good thoughts that shouldn’t be drowned out by someone with a negative life view. Here are some things you can do about a Negative Nancy in your life. 

#1 Be on guard against participating in negativity. Negativity is contagious. It’s easy to get caught up in a Negative Nancy’s drama and forget that you have a happy life and a great outlook. Instead of agreeing with what negative point your company is making, try putting a positive spin on the situation!

This may seem tiring after a while, but don’t give up. Not only might your great attitude help cheer up the person in question, it’ll also show them that you don’t accept their negativity.

Be especially on guard against gossip. Negative Nancy will gossip about anyone, especially if it’s bad news. They will shamelessly talk about marriage infidelities, serious illness, and job losses without the blink of an eye.

Also be on guard against sharing personal information with these people. To them, your personal life is just another subject to gossip about.

Be aware that Negative Nancy types are attracted to people with positive attitudes. This can be unfortunate for you since that means they’ll want to hang out with you all the time, because you bring such a cheery atmosphere to your visit. 

#2 Hang out in groups. Sometimes negative people are much easier to deal with when you have a buffer around. Only schedule coffee, hangouts, or movie night when there are other friends joining you. This will lighten the load of making conversation and bearing the negativity.

#3 Try and be a positive influence. “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr

This is an excellent quote to keep in mind when you’re stuck chatting or lunching with a Negative Nancy. Just because they can’t see the good in life doesn’t mean you can’t.

Dealing with negative people can be extremely frustrating and emotionally draining. But remember that you’re not the only person Negative Nancy is being hard on. They are also being hard on themselves. Offer plenty of praise about their good qualities and empathize with their problems – even if you’ve heard them a million times. 

#4 Don’t take things personally. Negative Nancy doesn’t mean to insult every facet of your life. Or hey, maybe they do! They feel fine insulting you, your beliefs, your way of life, and your mate. They get jealous on occasion and might lash out. This is all a part of the game. This is Nancy’s calling card.

If this person insults you, try not to take it personally. They can’t help it, they’re Negative Nancy. [Read: 10 simple ways to calmly deal with difficult people]

Try to ignore nasty comments. This might help them to see that you don’t take crap from anybody and that his or her comments roll right off your back.

#5 It’s not always your problem. If you have a Negative Nancy in your life, you may feel compelled to cheer them up. We’re here to tell you that while this is a noble gesture, it is also very likely an impossible task. Negative attitudes are hard to break.

Spread your positive attitude around like sunshine, but don’t over-extend yourself to the point that you come away from every interaction with this person with a migraine. Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and understand that you need to put yourself first. 

#6 Avoid Negative Nancy like the plague. Or alternatively, be a grown-up. If you’ve tried your best over a long period of time and still can’t seem to shake your friend’s negative attitude, it might be time to reassess your friendship.

What are you getting out of this relationship? True friends give and take, and if your “friend” is all take and no give, it may be time to avoid them like the plague. Or at least limit the amount of time you’re spending with this person.

Instead of dinner and a movie, try a grabbing a quick cup of coffee instead. Pull away slowly and eventually you will have successfully cut off contact without them staging a meltdown.

This may sound cruel, but if you’ve tried your best and still walk away feeling down, this is simply not the friendship for you. You should be surrounding yourself with people who build you up and encourage you, not those who take your friendship for granted and tear you down.

If you have a Negative Nancy in your life who could rival The Grinch for the world’s biggest grump, it might be time to kick them to the curb! Your life is too awesome to be filled up by someone else’s negativity.

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Rob Myers
By Rob Myers 02/16/2017 09:31:00