Talking about othersOne of the hardest thing sometimes is to deal with people who talks about others. Sometimes it may come off as harmless chatter, but other times this “chatter” can lead to problems for the person including a distruption of their personal as well as professional lives. Some people call these people, haters or just plain gossipers. People have lost their jobs,, relationships, business deals, and much more because of slanderous chatter. Slander, whatever the presentation, can be brought on by many things including: jealousy, joining the crowd because of what they hear other people say, envy, hate, stepping stool, political smudging, misery or nothing else better to do. They can be a stanger, a friend and a worse case senario a loved one. Why do people talk about others anyway? There are seven basic reasons or what I call the seven deadly pillars of slander. >1) Jealousy: People talk about others when they feel jealous. A person who feels jealous will try to put the one he is talking about down so that he feels good about himself. If the person has really bad intentions then he will talk about the person he is jealous of in a bad way that makes others hate him >2) Envy: Sometimes the person likes the person they are talking about: One of the signs that shows that a person is interested in someone else is talking about him a lot. In such a case the talk will be positive or at least his mood will be positive while talking about that person even if he was saying negative things. In many cases, gossipers may feel jealous of the person that they are gossiping and they use gossip as a way to end their grief. >3) Fear: Sometimes people may feel it is necessary to talk about someone in attempts to defame someone so that thay person may not appear to be better than themselves in the eyes of others. They may attempt to talk about the person becase they themsleves may feel that they will or may be presently be denied of an opportunity or position that that person may hold or may aquire. >4) Lack of courage to comfront the person they are talking about: Some people hate to confront others directly and as a result they prefer to talk about them in their absence after they do something bad to them rather then face them directly. If a person talks in a bad way about someone all the time because he did something bad to him then know that he lacks courage. >5) Joining the crowd–What they hear other people say: Conversations can sometimes seem like fad. “What’s in”. Just as some people will wear certian clothes because they see other people do it, or buy a car because it “popular” so is how some people choose their conversation. As they see other people picking on a person, they join in. Bullying does not always mean you are doing it to the victim’s face. >6) Hate: Why a person would hate another person can be for any of the reasons within this list. It may be for no reason too. People don’t always have to have a reason not to like you. In fact it could be your best friend, a person you think loves you. They could smile in your face, but their heart is frowning at you inside them. >7) Misery: Life sometimes doesnt seem to be or havet been working out for them. You ever heard of misery loves company? Well, its true. >8) Personal Insecurity and Inferiority complex: People talk about others in a bad way in their absence in order to appear better than them. If a person feels inferior to someone then he might talk about him in a bad way in order to appear superior to him in front of others. People talk about others in a bad way in their absence when they believe that they can’t get their rights back from them. If a large muscular person punched you in the face then you kept talking about him in his absence then know that you are doing so because you believe that you can’t knock him down and that you are trying to release this energy of revenge by talking about him. >9) Stepping stool: Sometimes people may feel it is necessary to put someone down in order to make themselves feel of value. The gossiper may lack of personal merit and need the story or weaknesses of someone else to have something important to share with others. These gossipers often try to find bad things about a person as to justify or vindicate their own weaknesses. They will use your mistakes to draw attention from themselves. They will even lie and exaggeratecertain details to steal a moment of progression. >10) Nothing else better to do; the busy body: People talk behind others’ backs sometimes they find gossip to be very interesting and a lot of people would want to listen to their stories. People may gossip may just be bored. Some people may feel that they should always have something to share. They themselves may run out of things that the person may find interesting. More often goosipers may feel a need to impress others. They are in the middle of everything. They dont know how to take a back seat in a coversation. These are sometimes the most dangerous, because they speak very recklessly. They will go to any extent just to be heard. Why are these types of people necessary in life? Well, I always tell people that there are three tyoes of people in life. There are those that do things, those that watch hear about what you have done or are doing, and those that talk about what they saw or heard.People who spend time talking about you, takes themselves out of the competition of what you are striving for. They spend so much time looking at the mistakes of others, that they become blinded by the tortoise that passes them. Remember that people dont usually talk about people who arent important to them or their psyche. So when someone talks about you, thank them for making you a part of their standard. 10 Ways to Deal with Negative or Difficult People–What could I do? 1. Resist the urge to judge or assume. It’s hard to offer someone compassion when you assume you have them pegged. He’s a jerk. She’s a malcontent. He’s an–insert other choice noun. Even if it seems unlikely someone will wake up one day and act differently, we have to remember it is possible. When you think negative thoughts, it comes out in your body language. Someone prone to negativity may feel all too tempted to mirror that. Try coming at them with the positive mindset you wish they had. Expect the best in them. You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised. 2. Dig deeper, but stay out of the hole. It’s always easier to offer someone compassion if you try to understand where they’re coming from. But that can’t completely justify bad behavior. If you show negative people you support their choice to behave badly, you give them no real incentive to make a change (which they may actually want deep down). It may help to repeat this in your head when you deal with them: “I understand your pain. But I’m most helpful if I don’t feed into it.” This might help you approach them with both kindness and firmness so they don’t bring you down with them. 3.Maintain a positive boundary. Some people might tell you to visualize a bright white light around you to maintain a positive space when other people enter it with negativity. This doesn’t actually work for me because I respond better to ideas in words than visualizations. So I tell myself this, “I can only control the positive space I create around myself.” Then when I interact with this person, I try to do two things, in this order of importance:
- Protect the positive space around me. When their negativity is too strong to protect it, I need to walk away.
- Help them feel more positive, not act more positive–which is more likely to create the desired result.
Negative people often gravitate toward others who react strongly–people who easily offer compassion or get outraged or offended. I suspect this gives them a little light in the darkness of their inner world–a sense that they’re not floating alone in their own anger or sadness. People remember and learn from what you do more than what you say. If you feed into the situation with emotions, you’ll teach them they can depend on you for a reaction. It’s tough not to react because we’re human, but it’s worth practicing. Once you’ve offered a compassionate ear for as long as you can, respond as calmly as possible with a simple line of fact. If you’re dealing with a rude or angry person, you may want to change the subject to something unrelated: “Dancing with the Stars is on tonight. Planning to watch it?” 6. Question what you’re getting out of it. Like I mentioned above, we often get something out of relationships with negative people. Get real honest with yourself: have you fallen into a caretaker role because it makes you feel needed? Have you maintained the relationship so you can gossip about this person in a holier-than-thou way with others? Do you have some sort of stake in keeping the things the way they are? Questioning yourself helps you change the way you respond–which is really all you can control. You can’t make someone think, feel, or act differently. You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible, and still not change reality for someone else. All you can control is what you think and do–and then do your best to help them without hurting yourself. 7. Remember the numbers. Research shows that people with negative attitudes have significantly higher rates of stress and disease. Someone’s mental state plays a huge role in their physical health. If someone’s making life difficult for people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves. What a sad reality, that someone has so much pain inside them they have to act out just to feel some sense of relief–even if that relief comes from getting a rise out of people. When you remember how much a difficult person is suffering, it’s easier to stay focused on minimizing negativity, as opposed to defending yourself. 8. Don’t take it personally, but know that sometimes it is personal.
Conventional wisdom suggests that you should never take things personally when you deal with a negative person. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. You can’t write off everything someone says about you just because the person is insensitive or tactless. Even an abrasive person may have a valid point. Try to weigh their comments with a willingness to learn. Accept that you don’t deserve the excessive emotions in someone’s tone, but weigh their ideas with a willingness to learn. Some of the most useful lessons I’ve learned came from people I wished weren’t right. 9. Act instead of just reacting. Oftentimes we wait until someone gets angry or depressed before we try to buoy their spirits. If you know someone who seems to deal with difficult thoughts or feelings often (as demonstrated in their behavior), don’t wait for a situation to help them create positive feelings. Give them a compliment for something they did well. Remind them of a moment when they were happy–as in “Remember when you scored that touchdown during the company picnic? That was awesome!” You’re more apt to want to boost them up when they haven’t brought you down. This may help mitigate that later and also give them a little relief from their pain. 10. Maintain the right relationship based on reality as it is. With my friend, I’m always wishing she could be more positive. I consistently put myself in situations where I feel bad because I want to help, because I want her to be happy. I’ve recently realized the best I can do is accept her as she is, let her know I believe in her ability to be happy, and then give her space to make the choice. That means gently bringing our conversation to a close after I’ve made an effort to help. Or cutting short a night out if I’ve done all I can and it’s draining me. Hopefully she’ll want to change some day. Until then, all I can do is love her, while loving myself enough to take care of my needs. That often means putting them first.
By Dr. Gary Cameron-Xavier, M.D.