All of us either have to deal with negative people all the time, or we are a negative person. One of the aspects of being the best version of yourself is knowing how to behave in every situation in order to reap maximum benefit from that situation. Most of these lessons I've learned the hard way, though, so I thought they'd be helpful to others.
Cut the energy off as soon as you leave
This is super important for the rest of your day. It doesn't matter if I'm spending 5 minutes or 5 hours with this person, as soon as I leave them I say to myself "I give your energy back to you with peace and love" and push it off of my body. If you don't need the visualization then you can just take a deep breath or whatever. I, however, do need to visualize that negative energy leaving or I carry it with me all day.
Try to stop them from complaining
This is where knowing the difference between complaining and venting really comes in handy. Venting, in my opinion, is when a person is telling a story about something bad that happened to get it out of their system so they can move on, like mini therapy. Complaining is talking about bad things that they either can't change or are unwilling to change. I'll listen to anyone vent, granted I might cut them off if turns into rambling, but everyone has to do it and it doesn't make them a negative person. Complaining is something negative people do, and I do not have the time for that. When I notice complaining I just simply say "what are you going to do about it?". If they say "I don't know", I say "well I can either give you advice or we're moving on to talk about something else". They usually get the point. Since I've set boundaries with the people in my life, including coworkers, they know I don't take bullshit and I won't sit through it, it's just my personality. If you need to set your own boundaries I wrote a post that will walk you through it here.
Be an adult
As an adult you don't HAVE to take anyone's BS. You also cannot be an asshole about it. Finding the sweet spot in the middle takes practice, but you can do it. Adults don't let negative people walk all over them, but they don't just stop doing business with them either. There's a way to talk to them that might not turn them into positive people, but it will at least shut them up. You can tell them to stop complaining as I mentioned above, you can be overly positive when you're around them because attitudes are contagious (although this can be exhausting), you can motivate them to be positive, such as, "that comment isn't going to help us move forward in an efficient way, I'd like to keep comments as positive as possible" for business environments at least. You can use similar language for personal environments. The point is... you're an adult, so act like it. Stop acting like a child who needs to conform and let people walk all over them.
This is slowly becoming my favorite word. When I'm with a negative person I try one of these tactics and make note of the result. Did it work? Great, use it again. Did it not work? Okay, tweak it and try something different. Negative people are seriously my least favorite to be around. I'd rather be with someone who fundamentally disagrees with me on every platform than one who complains and is negative, but agrees with me. However, every person is going to be different, meaning, there is no catch-all for negative people. You gotta use different formulas for each one.
Make sure you're not a negative person
If you're surrounded by negative people, chances are you are one. Misery loves company and I'll say it again, your vibe attracts your tribe. Have a good, positive attitude and you'll be surprised how much good karma is going to come back to you, how many people are going to be more positive around you, and how much happier you'll be in general.