Have you ever been around someone who is maddeningly positive and full of life and zest?
Did they annoy you so much you wanted to just stamp on them?
Or maybe YOU are one of these highly positive people with boundless energy and zest for life?!
Well, if you are, then many congratulations!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a positive and effervescent outlook on life.
(by the way, I really like the words “effervescent” and “effervescence” – they evoke colourful images of energy and gas bubbling out of a huge bowl – and honest, I am not on any drugs, just high on life).
If you are such a positive bubbly person, have you noticed how it is the norm for people around you to be “realistic” and always look on the downside of everything?
You tell them it is nice and sunny and they say, yes but it will probably rain later.
You tell them it was a great meal and they complain about the dessert.
You get my point.
My friend Amit Sodha has even come up with his own unique quick guide to dealing with negative people.
At the same time, being so positive, are you in danger of losing all your “boring” friends?!
I have gradually come to the conclusion that sometimes you simply have to let negative people be. I used to try so much to get them to see things differently, but now learnt that it’s a waste of time and energy to try and make others around you see a more positive outlook.
The worst thing you can do is to let your positivity and optimism be dashed by negative, draining people.
I would say that the challenge for positive people is two fold:-
1. How to maintain that positive outlook on life.
2. How to spread their positivity and effervescence – and still keep their friends.
(I told you I liked that word effervescence)
Though it is key to remain upbeat and positive, you have to be realistic about what is and what’s not possible for your friends and their outlook.
Expect the best from life and you will invariably get it.
Expect the worst and you will not be disappointed!
The last statement above is actually what some people live their lives by – they have low expectations so as not to be disappointed – meaning that they never even get around to raising their expectations.
To me that seems like a rather sad way of approaching life. At the same time, everyone has a different life journey – I accept they have to go through and I do not wish to take away anyone from their desired learnings and chosen life.
However there is so much one can do, so as to escape from this dark pool of negativity, if they wish to do so.
Your life may not be going great right now, but by adopting a positive approach and working on your life, things will improve.
As for people who are already relatively positive and have a zest for life, how do you continue to do so without annoying your “boring” friends?
Here are some ideas for maintaining your positivity and still hanging on to some of your not so positive friends at the same time:-
1. Accept and Embrace Your Positivity
As I said, there is nothing wrong with being positive and happy. Just keep it up and enjoy it.
At the same time, appreciate that everyone is in a different space, so if you are around someone very negative, curb your enthusiasm a little bit, without losing your grounding.
Learn to gauge where the people around you are at and tone down a little if necessary.
2. Empathise with Your Friends
When you are with your not so positive friends, understand and accept where they are coming from and what’s behind their outlook. You don’t have to agree with what they say – just try and relate to them.
Hear what they have to say and humour them if necessary.
3. Reframe Their Arguments if Necessary
Some people do change their outlook quickly and you can help them by reframing their arguments about how things are the way they are.
Get them to see an alternate viewpoint and you may just life their spirits.
4. Let Others Be As They Wish to Be.
At the same time, some people are just not ready to change and adopt a new outlook – and nor is it your responsibility to do so.
Instead focus on yourself and let them be.
5. Do Not Buy into Their Story
Most negative people have a story about why life is treating them so badly and how things will never get better.
Do not buy into their story. You stick to your own story – and also look for some key learnings from what they say – you can learn a lot by reflecting on how people are the way they are.
6. Be Generous and Share Your Resources.
For some people, their negativity is a call for help and if so, you can offer to help them by sharing your expertise. resources and contacts, but do not make them dependent on you.
Do keep your boundaries and do not become a door mat for others to dump on.
7. Disassociate and Ultimately Let Go as a Last Resort
Ultimately, if you find that a person is simply too draining on your energy, then you have to be kind to yourself and let that friendship go. It may sound cruel but at the end of the day, you have to think about your own well-being.
Just because you are a compassionate and loving being doesn’t mean that you have to be a friend to the whole world!
The Way Forward
I challenge you to spread your optimism and zest for life, and infect the whole world!
In summary, it is good to be positive, high-spirited and with a zest for living life to the full.
At the same time, remain grounded and base your optimism with an underlying reality check – and most importantly continue to be effervesent:-)
Remember – your positivity and bubbly nature should not be annoying but rather it should always be endearingly infectious.
That way at least you will still have some friends!
And they too will eventually be just as positive and full of life as you.
Top photo courtesy of Elvire.R.