Thursday, June 21, 2012

Negative People and Speaking No Evil

I suffered through much of Tuesday with a headache that would not go away.  I took more aspirin than is healthy, and it still hovered around the edges of my skull.  I drank coffee, even though I was sure I'd gotten enough caffeine early in the morning enough to ward off headaches.

It could have been caused by any number of things, but the chief suspect:  a colleague at work that spends the first twenty or so minutes after I arrive spewing negativity.  It's not about me personally.  She'll rage at great lengths about politics.  She'll go on and on about how contemporary people are living their lives all wrong.  She has very strong opinions about how the people above us in our organization should be making different decisions.  Frankly, some days, it can be exhausting.

My approach to her negativity dump is usually to just listen while praying for her.  Yesterday, I tried a different approach.

I arrived, and she said, "This weather is so horrible."

I said, "I kind of like it.  The rain keeps it from getting so hot."

And then we went to our work.  Throughout the afternoon, when I heard her discussing the weather with others on the phone, she said, "At least the rain keeps our temperatures down.  Do you know how hot it's supposed to be in New York City?  In the high 90's!"  On and on she would natter.  And then she'd circle back to being thankful for the rain.  Yes, the same rain she had called "horrible" earlier.

I have pondered the value of silence as an approach to negative talk and gossip.  Back in December, when I had a severe cold and had to evaluate whether what I was about to say would be worth the agony to my throat and the coughing fit it was likely to trigger.  So, I stayed silent.

Quiet doesn't work with this colleague.  She's happy to fill the silence with more negativity.

Positive energy--maybe that will be the ticket!

1 comment:

Wendy said...

It's fascinating hearing somebody use your line. I kind of feel like I've achieved something when that happens (and it ought to make me careful about the pronouncements I do make).