In college, you will meet dynamic, positive people who may inspire you to do better and push yourself more. But there are those that continue to drag you down and wear you out with their negativity. How do you deal with those?
College is an enriching experience, but toxic people or those with negative thoughts on life slip through the cracks of even the most selective institutions. When you meet someone who drains your energy and makes you feel bad about yourself with their whining, be alert. Here are some thoughts on how you can maintain your positive outlook even when you’re around people who pull you down.
It doesn’t matter how good you are with others, you will have trouble keeping your spirit when you constantly deal with this kind of people. In fact, the better you are with others and the more you try to stay on track, the more you will attract negative people who may gravitate towards you naturally. Your bright outlook draws them in like a beacon.
Here’s the thing. It’s not your job to provide constructive advice or give a psychological evaluation, and unless you’re a professional therapist, there’s little you can do to change a person’s attitude. Now, you should be keen enough to delineate between those that simply need a morale boost, and those that whine about and hate on anything and everything. For those that seem to be down temporarily, give them what they need, a pat on the back or an encouragement. But avoid those that end up messing you up, driving you up the wall and keeping you from your goals.
Tip #2: Avoidance
If you haven’t done anything to that person except to fade into the background when he or she is around, you don’t have anything to answer for. Stay civil but distant, especially if you know you’ll lose a significant portion of your morning just by interacting with that person. Whatever the situation, you can’t lose your cool.
What if that person is your roommate or someone you can’t avoid, like a classmate who’s in all your classes? The same thing applies. Be cordial, but don’t linger. When the negativity starts, change the subject or find an excuse to move away, wear your headphones and bury yourself into your books. The cooling of your attitude towards that person will give him or her clues about your hesitation to talk. Snapping at the other person will lead nowhere.
Tip #3: Shake Off Your Guilt
A truly good person would feel guilty when it seems like he or she is turning away from someone that needs help. Having an emotionally needy person around reminds you of the times when you’ve been needy yourself and someone was there for you. What would you do if you were in a pinch and your only hope for survival is avoiding you? Do unto others what you want them to do unto you, right?
These guilty thoughts and feelings may compel you to listen and stick around. But you don’t have to. Pointing that person in the right direction may be enough to ease your guilt, especially if you really cannot do anything about the situation. Use your best judgment and recommend an intervention if the person’s problem is too great.
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