Getting Sucked into Negative Office Chit-Chat
Getting Sucked into Negative Office Chit-Chat
Have you ever stood around the water cooler at work and heard one of your co-workers going off on the boss, other employees, customers, their pay, and more? People feed off of this negativity and join in on the fun. “Ya, I don’t like him either, they screwed me out of $5000 last year.”
The negativity escalates quickly and before you know it it’s an all-out war. It can be difficult to keep a positive mind and outlook on life when you are constantly involved in such conversations.
In today’s blog, I’ll talk about how to avoid getting sucked into the negative office chit-chat to help you stay clear-minded every day. I have heard talk like this too many times to count. People feed off each other and give their next (worst) point on someone or something else.
It creates a poor environment and a bad work experience. This isn’t just a work problem but can be a problem in many different areas of your life. It could be friends or family using the victim mentality as an excuse. It could be your spouse or partner constantly bashing others. Wherever or whoever it comes from you want to avoid giving them more fuel for their fire so to speak.
When these situations occur, the person dishing out the negativity always wants more. They want you to join in and say “ya I agree because of this and this”. It happens to me at work all of the time and if I don’t agree, they start probing more and more to get me to say something negative about the situation.
How to Avoid Negative Water Cooler Talks
There are a couple of different ways I know of to avoid joining in on the negative party. One way is to turn the negative point into a positive one. For example, if your co-worker Joe says, “John is so lazy and never shows up to work on time and is always taking smoke breaks!” Instead of joining in and saying something like “I know right, he couldn’t figure this job out if the world depended on him!”.
Rather, you could shed a bit of positive light on John by saying “I think John may be going through some difficulties at home, he is trying his best. I like how he treats the customers with respect.”
Now, this won’t be the answer Joe is looking for. So he may probe more and more, describing more negative things about John. At this point is where you can use the second tactic. That’s to change the subject entirely. Instead of bashing one of your co-workers talk about something else. Make the conversation about Joe, how’s his wife, kids, workout program, new car. People love talking about themselves and will go on and on for hours. Be a good listener and smile and nod.
The third way to deal with negative water cooler talk is to just leave entirely. Sometimes the best option is to not allow any of the negativity into your head. It really can have a lasting and negative effect on your day, week, month, and even your life. Avoiding the negative talk at the office may be tough, but I guarantee you will feel better than if you were to listen.
If you don’t want to stand by and listen to the garbage talk, say you need to get going and grab a coffee, or you have some important task you need to check up on that you forgot about. Slipping away in one of these ways will help you to leave without causing a fuss and most people won’t even notice.
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The Bigger Person
The fact is that little people talk down on others, their bosses, and their situations. It’s always because of someone or something else and never themselves. They are never the problem and are only just along for the ride in life. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that they are the problem! You are the problem. Whether you believe me or not.
Little people tear others down. Big people lift them up.
Little people talk negatively about others. Big people talk positively about others.
Little people complain about why they can’t. Big people explain why they must.
Little people are always tired. Big people are always energetic.
Big people have the heart to stay out of this kind of talk and keep their mouths shut. As the old saying goes if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Aim to be the bigger person. Little people band together to form these negative water cooler bashes all the time. I want nothing to do with them. I’ve learned long ago to either say something positive, keep my mouth shut, or leave altogether.
The world and media are putting so much negativity into our lives each and every day. You don’t need to hear more of it day in and day out. Spread the light and the positivity to others. Don’t get involved in this draining and poor talk. Be the bigger person and live a life of meaning and purpose.
Leaders respect people who uplift the others around them. They know it takes a team of positive hard-working people to make their dream come to life. Be the person who people look up to and are proud to call a mentor or a boss.
I hope this post has helped you to understand why removing yourself from negative chit-chat is important. The things that fill your head will consume you, whether they are negative or positive thoughts. Focus on the good, see you next week!
Chris M Wilson
Entrepreneur & Purpose Coach
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