You know these people. No matter what you say, they can’t help seeing the negative all the time and offering their criticism – without being asked!
When I was young, I tried to help these people. They bothered me a lot.
I used to be enthusiastic about many things in life and enjoy sharing my exuberance with the people around me. Yes, anyone who is always too happy is really annoying. I wasn’t in this category. As we all know, it is so easy to see what’s wrong with something. Its the default setting. We are hard-wired to catch exceptions. We look for mistakes, errors, screw-ups, or anything that is out of place.
Consider this example. What do you notice about the following three calculations?
12 + 3 = 15
9 – 2 = 5
19 – 10 = 9
I bet the first thing you noticed was that one of the answers is wrong? 95% of the people doing this exercise see the same thing. What’s wrong. Just 5% see what’s right with two of the three.
As I got older, wiser, and more battle-worn, I gave up on trying to change people.
It’s true, some people need to change. In fact, in today’s world of fast-moving changes, we all need to change and adapt to keep up. Who wants to be told that they have to change? No one. So don’t do it.
Instead of focusing on changing others, it is far more effective to change ourselves.
How do we change when we encounter these negative people? By choosing differently. By developing the skill to recognize them from a distance and to decide not to take them personally.
If they are a friend on Facebook, don’t try to win them over with superior arguments. Don’t try to convince them to see the world differently. The sooner we realize that these people are attached to seeing the world as they do, the sooner we can let them be.
Can you imagine what it’s like to live inside their negative facade? With all that negativity and criticism? It must be miserable.
Just ignore them and get on with your life. Go find people to share with who are like-minded.
When it is your turn to offer constructive criticism, make an effort to deliver what you like before saying what you don’t like! This will go a long way to having your feedback received.