Mental Health

“Should” You Avoid Negative People?

Good vibes only – why shouldn't there be space for negative people? –  images of crying faces

Along the lines of “choose happiness,” you may have seen the message “good vibes only,” or something along the lines of getting rid of negative people from your life.

But where do people who aren’t well fit into this?

To be clear, I’m not talking about people who are negative about you.  If someone is putting you down, that’s a very different bunch of rutabagas.  I’m talking about people with negative views about things to do with themselves.

It seems like a lot of this “good vibes only” idea is influenced by the law of attraction. It claims that negative thoughts vibrate at a certain frequency (there’s no scientific evidence whatsoever that this is true), and this magnetically attracts matching negative things to come your way from the universe (ditto on the no evidence).  I, as a negative person, just might trick the universe out of sending someone the Good Vibrations that they want.  And no, I couldn’t resist throwing in a little Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

Who’s saying get rid of negative people?

Okay, getting back to business…  Lifehack has an article by executive and life coach Shawn Doyle titled 10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Negative People.  The author writes:

“I don’t know about you, but life, I believe, is short, and I really do not want to spend my time being around negative, crabby, grumpy or grouchy people. They tend to make life miserable and I want to live a life of happiness. I want to live a quality life by being with quality people. So one of the ways of doing that is to limit my contact with negative people and to increase my contact with positive people, to bring me joy and happiness.”

Quality people?  Really?  Isn’t that a bit eugenics-ish?

I found a “Grant rant” video by author, and person who appears to think he’s rather special, Grant Cardone.  According to him, “the way to avoid negative and distractive people is to vibrate at a rate so fast, that you’re out in front of them.”  I think that might be called having a seizure, but then what do I know?  He also mentioned telling a cop who pulled him over for speeding that he was going so fast because “I’m trying to stay away from the crazies.”  Dude has clearly never met someone who’s manic, or he’d realize there’s no outrunning the crazies.

There’s an article on Inc. titled How to Obliterate the Negative People in Your Life.  The author opens by saying “I don’t believe in negative people.”  That smooth opener is soon followed by: “It’s been my experience that the way to obliterate negative people in your life is to be the best version of yourself.”  The first definition that Google shows for obliterate is “destroy utterly; wipe out.”

An article on Power of Positivity says: “Negative people are similar to black holes in outer space – appearing from nowhere while attempting to engulf everything else around them.”  Maybe the black holes are byproducts of the obliteration process.

Negative & crazy? You’re looking at her

Now, I’m sure a fair bit of that was directed at people who are being negative about you.  However, the idea of “negative people” (which the Inc. author says don’t exist but do exist) seems to cast a pretty wide net.  I’m fairly sure I would count as a “negative person” for these assorted folks, and also as a “crazy”.

To be honest, I don’t think I want to be around the good vibes only people any more than they want to be around me.  However, does Shawn Doyle get to decide who’s quality people and who’s not?  I know a lot of crazy folks who’re very high quality, if those are the terms we’re talking in. I’d also say my own quality is just fine, thank you very much.

There are a lot of shitty things that happen in the world and happen to people.  Mental illness can be one of those things.  If people want to live on a happy island because they’re unable to find happiness within themselves and need to absorb it from others via osmosis, that’s fine.  But we aren’t second-class or lower quality citizens just because we’re not farting glitter and sunbeams.

So, all [non-existent] vibrations are allowed.

You can find more posts about negativity and toxic positivity on the blog index.

Stop mental illness stigma

You can find more about mental illness stigma on the Stop Stigma page.

51 thoughts on ““Should” You Avoid Negative People?”

  1. 🤔 Now, that is one thought-provoking topic (That is a good thing).

    In regards to negative people, they help us to develop a stronger personality; for example, a person has the ability to develop self-restraint when they are around someone who is highly annoying. Whereas, a weak-minded individual would quickly get themselves into trouble by creating more conflict with an annoying person by getting into a fight with them.

    Also, there are those moments when we switch roles; thus becoming a negative person.

    Realistically, it is impossible to avoid all negative people.

    Why?

    Because some of those negative people are comprised of our family, friends, relatives and co-workers, etcetera.

  2. Love this post and 100% agree with your view point! It also made me laugh especially and I quote “we aren’t second-class or lower quality citizens just because we’re not farting glitter and sunbeams”. Definitely a quote I may use myself!! Fab post ☺️

  3. I only control the things I can control, like my own behaviour/actions. Yes, there are grumpy people everywhere but we choose who we interact with. We choose who we text message. We choose how we interpret what people say to us and either use it to wallow in misery or become resilient. We choose what social media to consume. We choose what books we read (or not). We can listen to negative news or we can listen to an uplifting podcast. Feed your mind with nutritious content instead of junky content.

    1. We definitely make our own choices. I’m just not sure that it’s necessary to go down the road of labelling or criticizing, as it seems like it shifts responsibility for the choice away from the person making the choice and onto the person being labelled as toxic.

      1. I agree with you. I don’t think labeling or criticizing or categorizing people/things is healthy. Like the saying goes, “Judge the behavior, not the person.”

  4. Great post! I hate when authors use BS terms like “high-quality people,” because it’s usually used for them to position themselves above others. I think that everyone needs at least a little “negativity” in their lives – how else are we going to recognize and help address the problems in our lives/societies/etc otherwise??

  5. I know a good vibes only person, and Even with my level of positivity… I do not engage. It’s back to the new age jumbo jumbo aka law of attraction… what you put out into the universe you will get back. Science doesn’t exist to either one of these groups of people, unless it is backed by people who have strayed from conventional science I.e. Bruce Lipton and Eldon Taylor… too many to mention really. Anyhow, I REALLY enjoy the power of positivity stuff… I find they are more right than they are wrong… but, about this… forget it.

  6. Those quotes you read are hideous!! Look, there’s an important way to separate the good people from the negative, and you said it right here: “To be clear, I’m not talking about people who are negative about you. If someone is putting you down, that’s a very different bunch of rutabagas. I’m talking about people with negative views about things to do with themselves.” I’ve NEVER considered or wanted to remove anyone from my life for any other reason!! I totally think it’s okay for people to have their own outlook, their own way of looking at things, etc. etc. What I’ve always taken from the concept of removing negative people is that it should apply to people like my mother! Or my sister! It should never apply to someone who says, “I hate this depressing, overcast weather! Grrrr.” Good grief. And so I judge people based on how I feel around them, and in my eyes, you are a very high-quality person!! And it’s completely unrealistic to expect anyone to always be in a peppy mood. It’s not human nature. I know a few all-positive-outlook people, and I try not to judge them, but… wow, it’s not entirely for me. I accept bad moods and hormones and encounters with my mom and things gone awry all the time. I think those quotes you found were written by idiots. The whole purpose should be to shut out people like my mom who can’t keep their evil ways held in, ya know?

  7. Tragedy and suffering is the human condition. It is not negative, it is realistic! I won’t say what I think about people who live in their happy bubbles of joy and do a Facebook fundraiser for the “less fortunate”. Life is tough, when you experience it, then you know what real joy is.

      1. If nothing else, old age creeps up at everyone! How are the bubbly people going to cope?

  8. I think the ultra positive, glitter farting people affect me more negatively than the “negative” because they have that tendency of imposing their ultra positive mood and view on life on the whole planet, and that makes my brain run in the very opposite direction. Plus, I can’t help but think that often such positivity is awfully artificial. It’s probably not always the case, or maybe it’s just the way I see it, but still that’s how such people appear to me, which doesn’t convince me at all to become more like them. Meanwhile the negative people in my experience don’t impose their moods on the surroundings quite as much, unless you’re in a very close relationship with someone or the negative person happens to be toxic at the same time. Ultra positive people are also ultra boring, and I don’t get along with people with boring personalities.

  9. Honestly with all the problems we humans have, to be happy is kinda ignorant. Yes there are happy moments in life, and you can certainly learn to love yourself, but admitting the negativity in this world is not negative you know? It’s actually kinda realistic. The only way to escape it is to hide out on a far away island, but then you are just avoiding reality. I love myself, and I am happy in my own life. I am not however happy in our society if that makes sense. I am a very negative and grumpy person when it comes to our society and humanity. I prefer the company of animals if I am being honest. 🙂

  10. I’ve cut out negative people this past year including members of my family. Got to say I feel a lot better without them constantly putting me down. As for coming across as negative… really annoys me! So many people avoid me when I’m down because I pull them down, I mean I try my hardest not to but sometimes I can’t help feeling the way I do. Lost a lot of so called friends since I started struggling 😕 Yes I’m having an awful time mentally but I’m still the person I was!

  11. There’s a great book about this by Barbara Ehrenreich called “Smile or Die”, that is basically examining that whole positivity movement and it’s impacts. No affiliations – just a great read particularly if you are a bit of a pessimist. My take is that you have to look at whether the negativity is helpful i.e. my job sucks, can be used to motivate change but all of nothing thinking like “my job sucks, but all jobs suck and no one else will ever employ me” is kind of unhelpful. I had a really negative person on a project once and no one wanted to work with her but it ended up being one of the most successful projects because she essentially identified every possible problem so we could deal with them.

  12. It depends for me. On the one hand, I can’t stand people who refuse to accept reality and pretend “all is well” when cities are literally burning. Or on a smaller scale, when I say I’m sad, they’ll go, welp, the sun is shining! Argh! 😡😡😡

    On the other hand, I can’t take being around those who can’t ever lighten up and find even a few moments of fun or joy sometimes. Or those who want to argue about everything and ruin any good moment. Bleh! No thanks either…

  13. Great post Ashley! Personally I’ve never been a “positive vibes only” person because to me it doesn’t make sense. People that are just mean and hateful, yes. They can go fly a kite elsewhere.

    I’ve been the person who was severely negative internally because of my mental illness being so bad and I had people keep their distance and it becomes very lonely.

    I feel we should be helping eachother and trying to build eachother up. But if you’re just a jerk, then no. Lol

    Xoxo Tanya

  14. I love to say good vibes but just because I’m a hippie girl lol. Good vibes only not because we all deserve to be here. I’m also sometimes negative and some of my friend too but it’s okay because we can’t be happy all the time. I’m happy with letting fake friends and mean people go because they only make me feel worse about myself

  15. Yes, you are absolutely right. This is life. Our life inevitably comes with positivity and negativity. And this plays a part in our mental health. I admire people who are courageous enough to live one more day and more despite mental health challenges. It’s alright to cry when we really need to release something. If there’s someone to wipe the tears away, it’s a blessing. If no, it’s fine. Life still goes on.

  16. Farting glitter and sunbeams 😂 Good take. I believe those writers exude “toxic positivity”, and that just makes them shallow and probably their relationships superficial, and unable to tolerate the full spectrum of human emotions.

  17. When are that badly influenced by the people around you, it’s time to look in the mirror.

    1. Those ‘authors’ clearly ‘attract’ those ‘types’ of people. And therefore they are the ones with the problem.
    2. They are not mature enough to handle it. I mean, to outrun ‘them’ is a strange way of coping.

  18. this is a great post Ashley. When I am not having PMDD(PMS) I can (sometimes) be pretty happy, but during that time of severe pms its impossible for me to be happy, thats just the imbalance that I have, I do my best, but I’m human, for people to walk around all “fake positive” is BS, I bet those same people have their very bad days, months, years, etc. Its a form of dismissing anyone who is hurting. Its fake positive! an oxymoron…

    sometimes, its healthy to be negative. because life is hard and especially with mental illness!

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