Dealing With Negative People

Friends With a Grumpy View on Life That Try to Bring You Down

Negative friend.
Negative friend. Robert Daly/Getty Images

We all have friends that are negative. So negative, in fact, that they bring you down no matter what you say. These people have a dim view of life, always looking for fault with people and situations. They are the downers who bring down a conversation at a party or make you feel bad after spending time with them. 

When determining which types of people will make great friends, it's important to note who might be considered a negative friend.

A negative friend is slightly different than a frenemy in that they actually do want the best for you, but they focus on the downsides to any situation. For example, if you have great news, they will look for the one thing that might be considered bad and focus on that. Such as:

You: "I won the lottery!"
Friend: "You'll just have to pay taxes on it now."

Or:

You: "I finally got that new job!"
Friend: "Now you're going to have to work so many extra hours."

Negative friends really can't be happy for you because they can't really be happy for themselves. They will take the joy you have and temper it with negative comments. Negative friends are often the ones that "dump" on you the most, meaning that they will whine and complain to you about their life more often than they will have something positive to say.

It should be noted that negative friends are also different than a negative influence. A negative influence is someone that encourages you to slack off or engage in dangerous or morally reprehensible activities.

Negative Friends Versus Toxic Friends

Negative friends are often called toxic because of the kind of feelings they inspire. Very often negative friends are the ones we spend a lot of time on, those we try to get to see the good in life or in situations. While there might be people who get along well with them, most people will find the negative friends in their life exhausting.

Despite this, most of us have a negative friend in our life. One survey found that 84 percent of women and 75 percent of men admitted that they had a toxic friend in their life. Some of these people are likely referring to someone who is negative. 

A negative friend may be someone who was supportive of you when your life was going badly, but can't seem to find the same level of support once things improve. They are the original "misery loves company" type of individuals, who can leave you feeling down and sapped of energy.

In terms of friendship, negative pals can take an emotional toll, and as a result it is not uncommon for one friend to eventually get tired of dealing with it and end the relationship. This may happen when someone just wants to find more positivity in their life and be happy. The negative friend may wonder "what happened" when at the same time the other friend might feel guilty about walking away from the friendship.

 

Examples:

"I finally had to break up with Sally. She was such a negative friend that I dreaded seeing her."

"John and I used to hang out and talk about how much we both wanted a girlfriend. Now all he does is complain and tell me my relationship with Jane won't last.

Who needs negative friends like that?"