Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dealing with People Disguised as Energy Drains

You've probably noticed that when you spend time with certain people, you come away feeling positive and energized. Most likely, when people spend time with you, that's the way they feel. And then when you spend time with some other people, you come away feeling low. Like you hadn't realized things were THAT bad, that world was about to end, and that things can never get better.

Chellie Campbell calls people who bring you down, "tuna." In her way of viewing the world, people are either fearful "tuna," bullying "sharks," or clear and optimistic and competent "dolphins."

This post is about dealing with tuna -- people who even get you talking about how bad things really are. And that's so easy today, it's the spirit in the air right now: F E A R.

I know Mixonian readers want to support their friends, family, and co-workers, but dealing with "disasterizers" leaves you with less positive energy, not more. Here are some tips for loving these people while establishing healthy boundaries:

1. Blame your therapist. Use an unnamed third party to explain. My coach/therapist/boss/guardian angel says I can't afford to complain, criticize or gossip right now. She says its harmful to my psyche. See ya'.

2. Guide the conversation to discuss which related factors are under our control, and which are not. Either propose a plan of action, (like let's tell Ms. Boss how we found her critique unhelpful) or agree that since running the national economy is not under our authority, you'd prefer to focus on what's growing in your own garden.

3. Make a quick exit. Could be to the bathroom, or one Mixonian reader drives to a mall to powerwalk during lunch. That way she gets endorphins running, and comes back to work feeling stronger.

4. Start writing a blog, or an upbeat newsletter. If you develop a reputation for being extra positive, people will fear complaining in front of you. No joke!

5. Whatever you do, don't criticize the criticizer or you're getting snookered into the same negative game. Pushing against people, literally or figuratively, only strengthens their resolve to fight back.

It all starts with awareness...and soon you've got a reputation. "Don't talk to her, she'll just get all positive on you." (smirk) Happy Thursday!