Is your mom always pointing out how you should have done something better? Do you share good news with your brother but then he poops all over it? Do you have a friend who says, “Let me just play devil’s advocate for a second?” There are good points to these people, and you love them, but you leave conversations feeling drained, sad, frustrated or resentful. Today, I’m teaching you my five-step process to deal with negative friends and family so you can stop feeling emotionally drained and start feeling happier and more connected.
Step 1: Get into the Right Mindset
If you want to change the relationship, negative thoughts and feelings aren’t going to work. You’re going to need to take responsibility and not act like a victim and blame them for how you feel. You’ve co-created every relationship in your life, including this one. Maybe you’ve tried things that haven’t worked, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have responsibility to try again.
Step 2: Be Lovingly Direct
It’s time to have a direct, loving conversation with your emotionally draining person. It’s time to tell them how you feel and what you need. State the boundaries you need them to abide by when interacting with you.
Step 3: Hold Your Boundaries
You can make and share your boundaries all day long but if you don’t hold them, they’re useless. If your emotionally draining person doesn’t respect your boundary, remind them of it right then and there. They need to see, in the moment, how their behavior is trampling your boundary. If they won’t respect it, let them know you’ll need to hang up the phone, go home or even block their number for a while if they’re texting you over and over and not stopping when you request it.
The key is not to be angry with them while you hold these boundaries!
Step 4: Be the dominant vibration in the relationship
Why do we allow other’s negativity to “make us” feel negative? Why isn’t it the other way around? Why don’t we push them to be positive? Practice being the dominant vibration and keeping yourself in a positive frame so that others can calibrate to you, instead of you calibrating to them!
Step 5: Change How You Interact
Before you speak to your emotionally draining person, check in with yourself and make sure you’re at a high vibrational state. If you’re exhausted, don’t call them back! Stop taking on your emotionally draining person’s issues! Don’t offer suggestions, give advice or try to fix anything for them.
Maybe you have that emotionally draining friend who’s always looking for reassurance. Don’t give it! Instead, be direct and say something like, “I’m not OK just reassuring you over and over because it drains me and doesn’t help you or you wouldn’t keep asking.”
Then you could offer other support:
- I’m here to support you, not to fix you
- I love you and I’m behind you 100% but I’m not going to give you any suggestions.
- Do you need a hug? I’ve got hugs, but no advice
- If it’s this bad, it’s time to get a counselor. I can’t be your therapist.
- I’ve already told you X, you keep asking, so I need to know what’s really going on.
- What do you need to do right now to feel better about this?
- Is there anything I can do to help you take action?
Following this five-step process is simple, but not always easy. When we’re not used to holding our boundaries or saying what we need, it can be difficult to change. However, change you must because improving this important relationship is key and you have every ability to make it happen.