How Re-Structuring Routine Interactions With Others Can Promote Positive Growth


Imagine waking up, greeting one positive person, receiving an e-mail from a person passionate about what they are doing, then sending an e-mail to a person about something you are passionate about, before you go about your other activities. A daily experience like this is not out of the realm of your potential routine. Getting to a point like this involves adjusting who you interact with, and approaching the people you don’t want to interact with, but have to, through a new mindset.

First, I want to preface this by saying this isn’t meant to create a pseudo-reality that is separate from the one others are in. At the same time, there are some who are in a state of growth who are positive to be around, and promote your good health and low stress, and there are some who have a negative demeanor, with little to no concern for you, who will likely only end up raising your blood pressure and stress levels. I often point out that personalities are fairly fixed in place, so the same person that causes you unnecessary stress today is very likely the one who will do so at some time in the future.

Focus On Your Dependency, Not The Person

How to set up who you interact with and how you encounter them requires you to take charge of the situation. You have to pinpoint who you regularly benefit from dealing with. These are the people you don’t need to adjust much for. Then, you want to think about who usually causes your attitude to go downhill. Is there something about dealing with them that you can change? Maybe you can get something that they provide you with from someone else. Usually, the only reason you will keep dealing with a negative person is because they provide you with something you haven’t reached out to acquire elsewhere.

Prepare So You Don’t Get Surprised

The other facet of this is the mindset you have when you encounter or hear from negative people you routinely deal with. You can prepare for the meeting of your minds by thinking about past experiences with them. If their negativity has caught you off-guard many times, know that it is likely to catch you by surprise again unless you consider it as a possible occurrence. If you regularly give them the benefit of the doubt, try not giving them this benefit, and see if you come out of your discussion or interaction with them feeling better. As an alteration of a well-known quote, if someone passes their negativity on to you once, shame on them; if they do it twice, shame on you for letting it happen again.

Connection To Watching News

It is similar to how you want to approach watching the news, if you watch, as there tends to be much negativity present in the stories you see. In the same way you wouldn’t want to wake up and go straight to seeing various problems occurring around you, and would want to first have a resilient attitude built up to handle publicly reported hardships, you want to do the same in preparation for time spent with or around routinely pernicious people.

An added aside to this is that it can also alert individuals to the fact that their methods of interaction are abrasive or demotivating to you. You are doing them a favor when you subtly bring it to their attention that their behavior caused you to create distance, and they may start to adjust in their own ways once the realization takes place.

Photo by Simon Blackley

5 thoughts on “How Re-Structuring Routine Interactions With Others Can Promote Positive Growth”

  1. Thanks for this post, I smiled a bit while I was reading it. There was someone in my life who I refused to speak to first or last thing because she was very negative. She knew she was negative and readily admitted it but would do nothing to change. Every time I talked to her she brought me down to rock bottom. I gradually interacted with her less and less until I finally severed the connection.

    I have also been looking at myself to see what I could be doing differently and how I can improve myself and the way I respond to people and situations. Thanks for your post.

    1. @Avil Beckford, I appreciate that. It is cool to hear that you connected with it the way you described. That scenario makes sense, because why waste your energy for nothing right? You severed the connection and maybe she got a sense of what kind of effect she was having. If not due to you, eventually she would find out how her personality was affecting others. Often these same folks don’t really want to be using up your energy, but have become accustomed to it, so it is up to you to adjust.

      That is cool about your reflecting on what you can do. There are lots of little methods to use. I read somewhere that when dealing with a negative person who says many negative things about their day, you can respond with “tell me something positive about your day”. This can lead to hearing something good for a change, and alerts them to how they are coming across.

  2. I am very sensitive to negativity. In the house, as much as possible, the tv is open only for our favourite tv shows, not for news. I don’t watch news, I don’t read newspapers, and I don’t want to listen to people talk about hardships and disasters and death. Whenever I get exposed to this news, I feel like some parasites have clung to me and I have to bath or do some symbolic movements like whisking them away to get myself free of them.

    Thankfully, I have found some techniques from my meditation group to protect myself in instances where I have no choice but be exposed to such environment.

    1. @James M., I hear you there. I think most are highly sensitive to negativity, but some remain around it and some put in effort to get away from it. That is a great point about the TV not being for news, which would seem atypical to some, but I can completely understand it. Who wants to hear material that doesn’t actually have much practical relevance, and is filled with negative occurrences, when they could instead read positive material that propels them forward? We are on the same page.

      That is interesting about using learned meditation techniques to buffer yourself from negativity. It would seem like that would put you into a state where you could better handle, or quickly understand, negative material that is tossed at you. It is good to hear your thoughts.

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