One of the most important human needs is to experience connection. The reason why our happiness depends so much on the quality of our relationships is because we are tribal and social creatures.

The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. It is easy to walk away when someone mistreats you at the supermarket, but how to respond to negativity coming from your parents, partner, children, friends or even someone at work?

The reality is deep within negative people do not feel respected and loved enough, so their negativity is simply an unconscious way to ask for help. Trying to stay positive while in the presence of someone negative can feel almost impossible at times, but when responding to their negativity with your own it just creates more fire.

The power here is to realise that it is not your responsibility ‘to fix’ others. When a loved one is pessimistic and negative, understand that their behaviour is not about you. You can always guide them to see how they can get help, but it is not your responsibility to walk their journey. It is always important to place personal boundaries with love and kindness, but you do not necessarily need to become involved in their drama.

One way to deal with negative people is to change the subject when a negative topic comes up, without arguing. Just refuse to engage in the conversation – you may even have to leave the room if you feel negativity creeping in.

If their negativity starts to trigger you, and you start to experience feelings of guilt, hurt, anger, or anxiety, take the time to reflect on why you are feeling that way. It may be worth trying to perceive the deeper issue and see what it is yours that needs to be healed.

‘Being positive does not mean you do not have negative thoughts; it just means those thoughts do not control your life’. – Dalai Lama