How to Handle Negative People

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I have a weekly radio show on Hay House radio every Wednesday. The show before mine is hosted by one of my favorite authors, Dr. Christiane Northrup, so I often listen to the last fifteen minutes of her program. Even as a passive listener of Dr. Northrup’s show I always pick up some kind of incredible wisdom and advice. On one show a caller complained that her mother loved to rant about how miserable she was. The caller went on to say, “my mother hates life and doesn’t believe in happiness.”

When I heard this comment I perked up with curiosity wondering how she would answer. As usual, Dr. Northrup’s response was spot on and when I applied it in my own life it greatly helped me handle negative people. In this video I share her tip and offer you the opportunity test-drive this exercise in your own relationships. Practice this tool and let me know how it goes by posting a comment below. I expect miracles!

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  1. I often wonder that if the person I love who needs to truly stop living in such a negative mindset stopped and could hear how they sounded would they change. This is perfect, because vocally counteracting their negativity hasn’t worked. Even alerting them to be positive to bring more positive hasn’t worked. So this definitely is my next step. Thanks Gabby for really having my back today. You are my guru girl!

  2. This is great! I’m always looking for tools to handle negativity without going all savior or sour puss on people. I will practice this next! Btw… Loving on your sweater! Wherever did you get it?

  3. I feel like I’m always looking for the magic bullet to deal with my negative spouse, and once again I was like “Ooh, perfect, Gabby has some advice” because I just asked another mentor of mine today (waiting on her thoughts!), but I feel let down by this advice. Maybe it gets lost in translation, because my husband is a native Spanish speaker so I have to console him in Spanish as well, but this just feels heavy and weighty to me still. He is so low in self esteem, so insecure, he’s not the strong man he could be because of past hurts and discrimination as well as depression and paranoia, and thus every day I feel like I have to check in with him, monitor his moods, wonder if he’s taking his medication, all the while understanding that I can’t control his happiness (even though he thinks and has told me that it is MY responsibility). I get it; I do. It’s a disease. But he does not view it that way. He views it as terribly emasculating, and sitting back and watching a loved one flounder while you’re trying to fly is…suffocating. I want to be supportive, and he wants me to love on him. That’s hard to do when it feels constant, and unattractive, and I sound like a horrible person and then I start feeling like a horrible person.

  4. Strange as this may sound…. Depending on the individual, I think it can actually help a person whose really stuck and in a negative funk feel supported, rather than being told to buck up and just get over it. When an individual feels hurt and powerless and begins to feel supported often then they can begin to make a u-turn and release the yucky and negative energy and return to a more positive state. However, it can also backfire and there is the danger that they don’t come around and now see you as their go to person to complain to… had that happen too…

  5. Tahnk you so much for this piece of advice! I will certainly try it out – I am soon meeting such a person.

  6. If you only want positive comments and no negative,critical comments you can not grow. I do not think you just want only yes people around you,do you? Bush surrounded him self by yes men and look where that got us.

  7. The best way is to not attract people of a vibration that is not welcoming to you. Everything outside of you is a reflection of what is going on inside of you. Whenever I notice I am attracting people or situations not welcoming, I dissect myself and not them. Congratulations, Gabby, on your recovery. I share quite a similar story as you and hope to join you on the “lightworking” circuit on a global scale. Always expanding and growing!

  8. This lesson couldn’t have come at a more relevant time! Just the other day I had big battle with a guy I work with who was putting a dampener on all our efforts with his negativity and pessimistic thinking. I fought (tried to counteract) will all my positive might but actually was left frustrated, drained and feeling pretty down for the rest of the week!
    I will most definitely try this technique and observe the effects. Thanks for addressing this topic, Gabby. Much appreciated.

  9. I cannot imagine this technique working. It seems like a recipe for a horrible, negative conversation but I am willing to consider it and try it sometime. I just want to make sure that I am using this technique with loving intentions, otherwise I know it will come off as me being sarcastic.

  10. what perfect timing –as you say the universe gives us the tools as you have just done for me.thanks for this..I will put it to work today.

  11. Hi Gabby!
    Thanks so much for that. I love your vlogs and look forward to your wisdom. I have written about the same thing on my blog here:, but with a different outcome. I will try your way (or rather Christine’s way) as well, but if it doesn’t work after a time, I’ll have to go back to my way for my sanity! I love you and I hope you read and respond to this!
    Thank you so much!

  12. Great advice, Gabby. I’ve found that when someone reinforces my negativity/anger about a situation, I feel relieved more quickly and the negativity lifts from me. Within minutes, I want to turn the page and stop being so negative. I never realized what was happening until you brought it up in this blog. I will definitely apply this when other people are ranting to me now! Thanks! :0)

  13. Wow!!! My heart just jumped when I started reading your article, this could not have come at a better timing! Cant believe it! I watch your videos every week, ive been reading your books and have been learning so much from you, youve really been a blessing, thanks to you I see life with love, light and a clear vision, you’ve lead me to discover so many inspiring articles, books, mentors, you’re an inspiration. I really wish I could say the same for my mom, who’s negative outlook on life situations lead her to suffer from psychosis for the second time now! And while im living with her, I’ve been doing my best to support her, and all your advice will no doubt come in really handy, for lifting up her spirit. Thank you for this Gabby!

      1. Thank you Gabby! Blessings to you too <3 It seems to really be a miracle, but my mom is already doing so much better!! As a family we've focused on the simple things like cooking, baking, taking care of our garden, and as a result it made her more grounded and lifted up her spirit, there is so much love in everything we do together now! I'm so grateful for all the advice you share, it has awesome influence on the world! Keep doing ur thing!! Much love xoxox

  14. Found your response interesting and enlightening. As a person who has been on both sides of the fence (i.e. been in both a negative mindset and a positive one) – I must say that empathetic listening is ‘exactly what the doctor ordered’. Speaking from my own personal experience, sometimes in life we do face negative periods, injustices in life both personal and professional. To have someone ( family/friends) insist that its all ‘your own doing’ its because your thoughts create your reality and every other cliché about energy and positivity is not only annoying but detrimental on so many levels. It actually creates a distance between me and my family because in that moment when they are saying you need to do this or that, be positive, you are in control etc it diminishes the pain and emotion I am experiencing, it diminishes the severity of real issues, it creates a feeling of judgement and superiority. I feel weak, inadequate,unimportant and misunderstood. What I would want is my family to say it must be hard for you, you are so dedicated to your work and this is truly an injustice. Nothing more, just want to be validated that yes indeed something is not right about the situation. Instead I see their reaction and shut right down and walk away feeling like I cant share this with my family or share anything that is difficult for me. I feel isolated and disconnected from the very people I believe should be there to support and love me. If your intent is to be ‘present’ to someone and truly listen with an open heart, this is not a ‘technique’ or handling of people, this is being a compassionate and empathetic person, with a deep understanding of what our humanity is truly about. For some reason being able to be present to and feel the ‘negative’ things in life has become a sin. Since when are we only allowed to feel happy and positive in life? When I hear my family talk about being positive, and changing your thought patterns etc, it sounds very ‘preachy’. What I find laughable is that often times those that preach this positivity cannot identify when they become negative, they label it as something totally different. My mother for example is the most negative person I know but listens to my brother’s rhetoric around this topic and repeats what she hears him say. Her famous comment is why should I spend time with them what joy do they bring to my life….she forgets that she brings no joy to the table either. Appears its always the other person’s responsibility to bring the joy. and now my “rant” is complete. Thanks for listening and for the confirmation.

  15. Thank you for posting this , gabby! I’m going through a rough time right now in my marriage. My husband has lost his job and is COMPLETELY negative about everything! There is nothing I can do or say to pull him out of it. I am definitely going to try this technique and try “ranting” with hi to see what happens…wish me luck!

  16. Thank you Gabby for sharing with this tip. However I feel bit confused. I am not sure if it can be applied in every case. I had rather tough experience at my previous workplace where I had to deal on a daily basis with two negative people. I went with my instincts and allow these people to tell whatever was on their mind. I was compassionate and was trying to understand them. I did actually what you suggested in video. However after some time I understood that it was only the game they wanted to play as victims because it was just simply a very good way to manipulate others and to do what they wanted. I ended up frustrated and depressed and actually after prolonged time I started to become negative as well. Thank God I was able to realize that and I started to remove that negativity from me.
    After that experience I think that every time when we deal with negative person it is absolutely crucial to set up healthy boundaries and that we don’t allow this negativity to enter our energy field. I also think that this is very important to set up our subconscious that no matter where we are and with whom we deal that we always tune to the divine energy and not (through the empathy) to the other person. I didn’t know about it and then I was in a trouble.

  17. Sometimes, we just need our feelings acknowledged by others, even the so called “negative” ones. Just to be acknowledged, loved and accepted where we are in any given moment by another human being is healing. It must be done with true compassion without the intent to “fix” the other or to reap reward for yourself.

    Loving kindness without judgement is the greatest healer of all.

  18. You mentioned an important key word, “victim”. People living in a negative state of mind feel vicitmized for reasons we may never know (and sometimes, they may not know). Being a “victim” doesn’t necessarily mean a crime was committed against you (ex., raped, assaulted, robbed, ect.), although this would be the ultimate meaning of the word. Being victimized could mean having been betrayed, insulted, abandoned, etc. I think it’s unavoidable to not come across someone who is a negative conversationalist at some point in our life. I’m the fixer-upper. If you have a problem, I want to help you “fix it”. Afterall, one of my philosophies is “Where there’s a problem, there is a solution, or at least try to find one”. So, when I hear someone being negative, I want to help by offering suggestions that can help remedy the problem, if not solve it. But, I’ve learned a big lesson! If someone doesn’t come to me and say, “I have a problem I’m hoping you can help me with”, but instead they are just venting/complaining, I listen instead of analyzing how the problem can be helped or fixed. More times often than not, the negative people are the ones who feel unloved, unheard, or misunderstood – a “victim”. Listening to them and validating their feelings like Gabby mentioned (“go ranting with them”), most likely works because chances are in the past most people either ignored them or tried to offer unwanted advice, only leaving them to feel more frustrated, thus continuing the negative spell. The negative person needs to discover the road to becoming a survivor which takes time. (I was once there.) I truly believe that ranting with them may actually help them make that first step.

  19. Thanks Gabby – great as always.

    Reminds me of a very funny scene in a old comedy ‘Fawlty Towers’ that you may not be familiar with in the states (it’s English and I’m Australian) – it’s a comedy so it’s not staged as eloquently as you describe however a hotel guest is complaining to the hotel owner about everything under the sun. The hotel owner just listens and chimes in with “oh I know”…”it’s terrible isn’t it?”…etc until the ‘complainer’ says “hang on a minute I was supposed to be complaining to YOU”.

    I use that technique often in life – as soon as someone complains – I agree with them. Then they’ve got nowhere to go! And, if they then understand their behaviours as you suggest, they may even start to turn around.

    Sat nam.

  20. I love this method as a means to honour the other person and let them be heard. If it is just to do that it is worth it. I am often a sounding board and by openly listening without waiting to dole out the tools and responses I have learned it serves me better. It is as if I don’t take the struggles on as my own, trying to solve them. Listening and reaffirming what they say provides a far greater benefit to me too. It just simply honours them when voicing their struggles is a part of their journey. Listening is part of my honour and my journey.

  21. Thank you for this tip! I’ve been friends with this girl for a little over 2 years now and when she’s doing well in life and in a positive mind set, she’s the most amazing, strongest woman to be around, and I genuinely enjoy her company. However this friend has an above average tendency to become an extremely over-the-top negative person when things aren’t going right for her. She’s usually fairly confident but sometimes gets very insecure and weird. Like one day she’ll be happy for me and excited that I’m working on bettering my life and happiness, but then the next day I’m suddenly a “horrible friend” for making plans with other people and not her or for hanging out with people that were “her friends” first. She’s freaked out on me multiple times, by yelling, crying, name calling, and just exuding a very effective negative aura. I have a deep loving place for her in my heart, as I’ve seen her at her best and I believe goodness lies in all people and that everyone deserves a chance to have support and empathy, but her constant negative flipping the switch attitude is starting to become something I’m not sure I want in my life anymore, even though I cherish her. It’s weird. She’s the type that gets so angry and jealous when it’s not all about her, or she isn’t the center of attention (the flip side of seeing her at her worst). When I came to her with my recent heart wrenching breakup, and really upsetting problems I’ve been dealing with, she called me selfish and told me that I need to stop talking about myself, and “get over it”, which completely crushes me cause I’ve never disrespected her in that way and I’m always a good listener and support system for her. So most of her ranting is directed towards me, even though I believe I’m a great friend towards her and don’t deserve to be blown up on. So I definitely want to try this method on my friend and see what happens. I know that’s a lot to read, so Gabby I totally understand if you aren’t able to reply, but if anyone has any advice on the best mirroring technique I can give this friend that would be wonderful! I completely understand and will be using the technique from the video when someone’s sad or ranting about their life, but I’m not sure what to say to my friend exactly when she’s ranting about me. I do love her, and I’m a fighter who doesn’t like giving up on people, but maybe it’s time move on from this friendship if she continues acting this way? I know she has it in her to be a beautiful person inside and out but she’s struggling internally and I truly truly want to be there for her, especially when she comes around, I just don’t want to be treated like sh*t anymore and I’m not really sure how to handle it…

    1. Kathryn, I had a friend like that and in the end I couldn’t be around her anymore. I couldn’t stay in a good grounded place when I was with her, she brought me up when she was happy, and she dashed me down when she wasn’t getting enough of my attention. I found out later that she had a personality disorder (histrionic) and when I read about it so much made sense. I still admire her and think she’s a beautiful, kind and talented woman, but I don’t have the energy right now for her dramatic games and demands, and put downs.
      I wish you well as you find what works for you as well as honouring your friend and her path.

  22. Mmm i am totally going to try this one out!
    I often find when I am personally in a negative nancy mood, and if a friend is the witness to this, all I ever want of them is to simply ‘be’ just to hold that space for me. When they try and fix me, and give me solutions, I get annoyed and feel as though I’m a victim, there is something ‘wrong’ with me. But the best thing friends have done is just ‘be’ there, just listen, and allow me to rant, then i will go away and feel lighter and figure it out for myself.
    But on the other end of the stick, being that ‘space holder’ requires us to be neutral and strong in our centre. So we don’t get caught up in the negative nancies drama, and get our energy sucked dry. Detachment baby detachment!
    Sat nam gabby love your work
    Love nadine lee. xxx

  23. Like every lesson, there seems to be a necessary set of qualifiers here. There’s a good point in the video- *everyone should be allowed the right to their own feelings/choices/behaviors without facing control from others. As a fair measure for the person on the receiving end: you have a choice, too:

    1. you are not obligated to hear something that effects you negatively or to accept a behavior that affects you negatively.

    2. you are actually doing each person involved a favor when you refuse to be hurt by another’s negativity.

    …the situation varies, but the general rules are the same: *have respect for others’ rights to choose their own mood/destiny while maintaining respect for yourself in the process.

  24. Interesting….I will have to try that. I am concerned about going down the negative path…but I can see what you are saying about going with the flow. You have never steered me wrong so I will try it. I LOVE YOU WOMAN. Sat nam.

  25. Respectfully disagreeing from a place of personal experience

    To the girl: protect and elevate your own energy, your own happiness. Sharing that negative space does not allow that, so begin reducing as much as you can. In my life, that means making distance to grow into your own joy and stay in a certain space and proactive healing when you do come in contact and end up being hurt. When you can become focused on what makes you happy instead of on someone else’s behavior, things and people around you can start to look different. I agree that trying to change someone from their negative state is not the best answer. It’s actually about healing: finding as much joy, truth and authenticity in your own experience and thereby growing into being okay with the idea that this may or may not positively affect those you were closest to at the start of it. Good luck to her, she can find peace (which is what I think she’s might really be seeking when she tries to change her mother). If she finds herself wanting to change the other person, more than likely she requires the peace inside of herself, the feeling of knowing she will be okay no matter what…and, that will allow her to feel okay while others make their own choices. What I had to learn: people are in charge of their own lives- she may want to spend her last years on earth in misery, in sickness, in anger…where will you allow that to take YOU if that is her decision…she has the right to choose for herself, and (even though it may not look like it) her “bad” choices might be exactly what she needs to face for the next step in her own evolution. (That doesn’t include the right to abuse or hurt you, though. When it hurts you, it’s your responsibility to make changes that stop that, even if some of the bigger ones take some time). Also, be generous to both of you. Have kinder ways to think about yourself and her. And, reorient your mind to some new focus when it tries to focus on her and her decisions continuously; You want your mental, physical and creative space to become more about the positive things in your world and your growth.

    1. Tina it may be true that this girl needs to find peace within her own self but this will be a massive challenge for her considering the negative state of her mother. You make a valid point however having empathy and compassion, especially for your own parent, is natural and important. This mirroring technique sounds like empathy to me. I hope she is strong enough to not let her mother bring her down xxx

  26. So true!!! My nearest and dearest often drive me mad and make me more negative by not allowing me the space to be negative at times. Sometimes just having someone to get things off my chest with is enough for me to feel better and let the thing that’s bothering me go. If they fight me on it and try to correct my perspective, I just get stuck with the feeling. I know this and I wish more people knew this so that I got more support from people when I’m processing unpleasant feelings. I like to offer this to other people… but there are some people that I forget to use this with, so thank you for the reminder.

  27. I wonder if it works because they feel heard. If you are trying to change their negativity, are you trying to change them?

  28. Actually, that technique could be perceived as sarcasm by the person who is complaining. Mirroring is a better technique. When they say their job is terrible, respond with “your job is terrible? It’s challenging to work at a job that you don’t enjoy.” You’re validating their feelings while they are hearing their words come back to them. By the end of that conversation, chances are good they’ll be saying that their job is not too bad after all.

  29. What if you’re the subject of the rant? Are suggesting that I go along with agreeing what a horrible burden I am?

  30. It reminds me of what i heard Tich Nhat Hanh talking about on Super Soul Sunday. He was talking about deep listening and said something about being the space for your loved one to vent and not trying to fix or offer solutions.

  31. Thank you Gabrielle for posting this video, you put things. in perspective.. Handling negativity this way can help you understand or even relate to the person ranting. Instead of trying to have the person ranting see things your way you allow yourself to be genuine. & show the person ranting that you know where they’re coming from. That negative can blossom into something positive. It’s an awesome tool to keep in mind. Thanks again:-)

  32. Gabby! I am so thrilled that you created a Vlog for this topic. This situation happened to me a couple of months ago, except I was the one being negative. A while ago, I was complaining to my colleague about my boss and how I dislike my job and want to quit. My colleague’s response to me was, “Wow, every time I talk to you, you remind me of why I don’t like working here. I want to quit now too”. I felt so astonished at what my colleague said and once I saw the “mirror” and energy I was projecting, I made an internal pledge to never complain about my job. Right now, I am actually creating a gratitude list specifically about my job to help offset how negative I can be about it sometimes!

    Thanks again Gabby!

  33. Accepting people for who they are, and where they’re at, gives us the opportunity to be unconditionally loving. That is a blessing.

    Thanks for the precious video.

  34. People want to be seen and heard. Acknowledging the negativity is acknowledging that you see and hear them.

  35. Makes people want to be see and heard. Acknowledging the negativity is acknowledge that you see and hear them.

  36. Thank you for this. My mother has been sucking my energy for years. It has been a struggle communicating with her. I will have to give this a try.

    1. I agree Katie! The entire time Gabby was talking (and great information by the way, as always) all I could think about is “Where did she get that jacket?” Please share Gabby!!!!

        1. Thank you and by the way a huge thank you for transforming my life. I found you about 3 years ago (on a call with Alexandra Jaye Johnson) and my life has not been the same since. I’ve read ~add more ing, Spirit Junkie, and MCM and am a member of your “All Access Club” … I listen to your audios over and over again and you’ve been such a wonderful teacher to me. Sending you BIG THANKS!

          1. Thank you! Me too Ginny! Gabby is such an amazing light! I got chills reading your story of how she changed your life, because she changed mine in the exact same way! I love listen to her auidios over and over…I call her old lectures vintage gabby, it’s great I essentially have them memorized!

  37. Interesting… I can totally see how this would work, just by placing myself in the situation as the complainer. If someone were to agree with me, yeah, I’m sorry you’re going through that, I would immediately switch to, “oh, it’s okay, it’s not so bad!” Funny. PS – love the hair, love the sweater 🙂

  38. First off, before watching this video, I was stressed out and feeling a little depressed. Once I started watching, your energy soothed me so much that I literally felt the weight of my worries just slide off of my shoulders. So, I just wanted to share that with you – you have such an amazingly warm energy that touches other people a great deal. Thank you for offering me this shift in perspective and attitude – I needed it.

    On to the video – wow! I have always known about the “mirroring” practice, but watching this completely gave me an Aha! moment and allowed me to understand exactly why it works so well. It’s amazing what simply allowing people to be in their space (sometimes it’s their messy victim space) and kindly putting up a mirror can do. Just completely reinforces the fact that we, as coaches and spirit healers and spiritual beings, are only the messengers – we don’t do the work for the people we help, we only shine the light on the road that they need to take and support them while they do their own work. Thank you for this beautiful reminder and candid video.

  39. Hi Gabby, That is usually what people want you to feed into, their pity party! Saying, yes I know these negative feelings have been going on for a long time and must be draining your energy. I think another approch is to sincerely ask them, “What are you going to do about it and how can I help”? This opens up a new direction of thinking and thought process of choices. You can stay stuck in this or lets try something new. Like Porcha Nelsen’s Poem, “A Hole in The Sidewalk”.

    1. Karena,
      I love your suggestion of asking the complainer “What are you going to do about it and how can I help?” I’m going to try it next time to see if helps the complainer and me explore new ideas and possibilities.

  40. Great advice, Gabby! My therapist uses this tool and I found it so helpful that I’ve been using it myself instead of always providing people with solutions and suggestions to try and “fix” things as I did in the past.

  41. Denying the negativity is totally destructive…it does have to come up and out, in the most positive way possible. Creating the space to hear the person’s truth is a very generous and noble act of compassion. We all have our crappy moments, days, months…and can I say I am totally sick and tired of the problems that are being dumped on my lap now for WAY TOO LONG? Yes, writing and talking about it gets the energy out and moving….and that is all helpful in the process of navigating our lives. Love you Gabrielle….come back to Fairfield, CT soon for a lecture….XOXO

  42. I have tried this but it doesn’t help. In fact, thus behaviour backfires by making the victim find solace in his victimhood. It becomes his comfort zone. The more I “rant” with him, the more he wants to bask in that victimhood because he feels safe in that zone. He feels like I’m an eternal partner in ranting with him. In other words, my behaviour indirectly perpetuates his victimhood. What to do?

  43. I think this is a great tip. It sounds counter-intuitive but life´s a paradox. We all need to find ways to release our stress (& we all do this in different ways), most importantly we all want to be heard. This tip sounds to me like effective listening where we are LISTENING ACTIVELY. This is where we can reiterate in our own words what a person has just communicated to us in order to check we have understood and to validate their feelings and experiences even when we don´t agree with what they are saying or we don´t know what it feels like to be them or experience what has happened to them.
    Also, we need to allow a person to process their feelings in their own time. We all need to release what we think and feel so not to repress our feelings and so we can move on with the healing process and move forward towards our natural joyful selves. It´s natural for us to want to help someone and take away their pain by trying to make them look on the bright side, say something positive, smile, get over it; but perhaps this has more to do with how we want to feel rather than us just trying to make someone feel better because when we see someone upset it causes us stress and upset too. By trying to force someone too quickly to get back to their happy self or to just be positive inspite of what´s happening we are missing the importance of vulnerability that Dr Brené Brown researches and writes about which connects us to our joy, gratitude and have more heartfelt connections in our life. Let´s not miss this opportunity to lean in to the discomfort of unpleasant emotions and empathise with how another is feeling and just sit with it and listen to our family and friends as this will help strengthen our bonds and connect us to the emotions we all want to feel and live together.

  44. Hi Gabby!

    You are such a beautiful spirit! I was curious how the law of attraction applies to negative people. Are we attracting it, or is it just a lesson for us to have more patience? No matter how positive you are, there are those energy suckers that sneak in sometimes. Also, what do you suggest to say to those who are chronic complainers of traffic and politics? Thanks much!

  45. I love this advice! People are dying to be REALLY heard and by moving away from a judgement you can sit with them and let them be heard. Great advice, excited to start applying it!

  46. Hmm.. Unfortunately I don’t this will work for everyone. I have tried this .. path of least resistance and it seems to just exacerbate the problem. While I’m sure it might work for some people… for others it just enforces their victim identity. Some people just “like” feeling sorry for themselves and they end up complaining more and more. Some people find comfort in complaining and whining..and when you play into that they just complain more and more or settle into this “woe is me” mentality. “Oh my work is awful, my dog is sick, my arm hurts….blah..blah..blah” Worst yet when you don’t try to quiet the misery or turn the energy around they think they can always come to you and bitch and moan…which is sooo annoying and it eventually starts screwing with my good vibes.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      I completely agree with you – ranting along with the negative person doesn’t necessarily stop some people. The principle of holding up a mirror to the negative person is sound but sometimes people can’t or won’t look into the mirror. I find that if I am empathetic towards some people, they take it a license to have a ‘complain fest’. That’s when my patience really wears thin. Sorry but it just does.

  47. Hi, Gabby,
    Thanks for your amazing work. You rock. Just wanted to ask a question about the “dealing with negative people” vlog.
    When you first said that we should rant with someone negative, I thought you meant almost being comical in parroting back what they were saying to snap them out of it by making them laugh or see the exaggeration. Like saying “Oh, yeah, your life really sucks. You got that right, sister! ” But what you conveyed sounded more like empathy. I was wondering if it’s the empathy in that case that makes them feel better. By saying “yeah that must really be awful” or something along that line in a more compassionate tone, they might be validated in their experience and may not feel so alone in it, which might help them release. But then it can set up the recurring pattern of their building up negativity and seeking to release it on the listening sponge. The first kind of ranting would demonstrate, on the other hand, that the listener is not going to go into their zone with them. Just wondered what you thought about this.

      1. Thanks for the clarification. I wouldn’t actually take the sarcastic route myself and agree that empathy is miraculous. But I like how you suggested that once they release their negativity in the moment, it’s an opening for offering some positive tools to encourage a more enduring shift. It’s hard sometimes to join in the rant, though, because it can feel like capitulating to distortion and negativity with someone who is chronically negative. However, maybe I need to shift my own perception and have more faith in the process for a better outcome.

  48. Hi Gabby,
    Thanks for sharing this but don’t you think some people will go for the old ‘misery loves company’ and keep ranting??!

    1. Rania, at first I thought so too but the thing is you’re not really saying anything yourself to further their ranting, you’re just putting up a mirror. You’re making it all about them, and just opening up your presence to them. Instead of trying to change them out of the negative place they’re stuck in, you just allow them to be there but keep them aware of where they are.

  49. I also learned early on to do this with my children when they were crying about something. I would say oh that must really hurt or make you feel really sad, you go ahead and cry all you want and I will hold you. Often once they are given permission to cry they are able to stop and feel much better. Sometimes just letting someone know they are being heard is all they need.
    Thanks for your awesomeness!!!

  50. That’s amazing, I never thought of that. When my boyfriend says that it all sucks, I always show him what he should be grateful for which takes some energy to try and shift his. Now, I will just rant with him. I have a feeling that it will cut it short. Thank you Gabby!

  51. Thank you for this advice! As a hairdresser I deal with a lot of negative personalities; when certain people come in the only thing they seem to want is a cheap therapist. I never mind dishing out advice but some of them become energy suckers because they have a negative retort to any positive possibility. In tun; in my personal life I have pushed away people who are constantly critical & negative because I am emotionally worn out already because of this same thing at work….it drains me to hear too much! By the time I’m done with everyone else, I need a meditation session to reload on happiness:))

  52. This is a great coaching technique to allow people to open up. By showing empathy towards someone’s situation we allow them to vent out their feelings without being judged or telling them what to do. It’s empowering to let someone figure out their own feelings and how to let go of negativity. 🙂 Great video, Gabby!

  53. Ooooh, juicy! That sounds super risky and I feel resistance when I hear it. I get what you’re saying about the energy of victimville, but are you not patronizing the person? I feel like when I have got caught up in those negativity feeding conversations, the issues grow bigger and bigger (and we both walk away feeling worse). Maybe I fear not being strong enough to take the negativity until they make it out on the other end? What “things” (for lack of a better word) do you think are essential to have in place to make sure this technique works? (like, strong spiritual foundation, good intentions etc.) I need more guidance before I take this one on the road 🙂 Thanks so much for this eye opener!! xoxo

  54. Wow, I would have never imagined the solution would be to rant with them. I was always afraid of going down at path because I didn’t want to breed more negativity. But I’m impressed by this idea and will try it this week. Thanks gabby, you are amazing xoxox

  55. I love this. And sort of have been applying this approach to handle the negative people in my life. But I am finding that with some family members they keep wanting to have the same negative conversation over and over. I listen with compassion but am having difficulty because rather than “lightening” they seem to get stuck in the rut. Suggestions?

      1. I guess my disgust with the negative conversation is what makes me resistant to this idea-I don’t want to engage in it-I don’t even want to have to hear it EVER AGAIN. When I engage in it, it’s like an invitation for said person to continue bending my ear. Next they think, “hmmm, this is one person I can continue to complain to over and over and over and over….”

    1. Remind them of the conclusion that you both previously drew about the situation and then tell them you’re not going to waste time rehashing topics that have already been settled. This is what I do with my mom and it seems to work. Sometimes you can distract people with more pleasant thoughts too. Know the thing that gets them excited and that they enjoy talking about and then throw it out there every time they go to a dark place. That’s something that’s hard to resist. For example, my mother breeds dogs which I am sick of hearing about, but if she gets upset and I ask her to tell me about her latest litter it immediately re-shifts her focus to something that will lift her mood.

    2. Maybe they really need to get to the root of the problem and the emotion/hurt behind the ranting, in order to deal with it and let go.

      A while ago I was ranting like a mad woman about my Auntie, and was totally obsessed and fixed on my ranting loop. I literally couldn’t come out of it cos I was so involved in the story.

      It wasn’t until I got to the hurt and pain I felt that I could out of my loop of ranting, really address the situation and solve it.

      Could you help your family members get to what’s behind their ranting and help them address the issue from there?


  56. I thought about this. I know you mean well, but isn’t this approach dishonest? Do people need to be handled?

    1. I initially thought the same thing. However, it seems we need to do this with compassion and integrity, not sarcasm or manipulation. We can take either path. Also, cajoling someone out of a dark place with lessons on peacefulness can also be judgmental and controlling, no? It is an interesting thought. I’m going to sense my own resistance to this idea (“it will never work…”) and do the opposite!

    2. I’ve experienced this unintentionally. Was speaking with a coworker and thought I was being empathetic/sympathetic to his plight and he flipped 180° on me! I was confused by it, but now I understand why he flipped. He was able to hear how he sounded and probably felt a little (or a lot) pathetic so he jumped track and made an immediate U-turn to save his ego. I honestly find this as a genius method of coaching someone out of their misery.

      1. thank you gabby. that was just what i needed to hear right now and i had no concious idea that it was a blockage that i’m ready to have lifted today.
        have an awesome day.

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