I need to vent for a minute–partly because I want to talk about how to respond to negativity and “mean” comments, and because I have been so frustrated with how many people think it’s OK to say mean things to friends rather than lift them up.
Once, I was having lunch with some friends. I was commenting about Graves disease (which I have) and how the medication I’ve been taking has completely slowed my metabolism, making it hard for me to eat anything at all without gaining weight. I’m sure she meant no harm, but one of the women in our group responded to me with, “This will make you feel better. I can’t lose weight either, but it’s because I’ve been eating crap and not working out.” Another time, on the same subject, I was talking about how my clothes were fitting differently. A friend of mine said, “Well, lucky you are really good at hiding your flaws, like with that sweater you have on. ”
Hmm…how do those comments make me feel better? I’m the one working out all the time and being super-careful to follow a strict diet; and you tell me that your weight gaining situation is supposed to make me feel better about mine? Wouldn’t “That sucks.” or “I’m bet that’s so frustrating” or “I think you look great!” have been more positive responses?
I am guilty too, I’m sure, without probably even realizing it. I’m sure I’ve responded to someone where it was taken negatively and I could’ve said it in a nicer way. But what about those folks who always seem to say words that leave you feeling angry and upset? Some friends and family seem to only have a “respond negatively” button and never have anything happy or positive to say to you. They point out the negative, they bring you down, or they are just plain mean. How would you respond?
I’ve thought long and hard about this. My response: silence. I believe that by not responding to negativity is showing that I am not going to get involved in their drama or their meanness. Silence is the most powerful response. I am going to move on and leave their response behind.
Being rude doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Making ugly comments doesn’t make you any prettier. Lift others up, care about them, give them positive words to encourage and support. Those words will get you (and them) further in life than the negative ones.