How to deal with Whiners and Blamers


Do you know someone who’s always whining, complaining, blaming, or bringing up worst case scenarios? These ‘energy vampires’ can leave you emotionally drained, especially if they turn their negativity on you. Maybe it’s the co-worker who always blows apart your ideas. Or the over-critical parent who always finds fault with what you do. You can’t change the way they think or act, but you can – with these life tips – stay positive and enthusiastic, and even turn their negative energy into positive energy. Here’s how to do it.

Respond with compassion

When someone blames you, your gut instinct is to blame them back. Don’t feed the cycle of negativity! Instead, try to understand why this person is thinking or behaving that way (maybe your pessimistic co-worker feels stuck in his job, or your overcritical father is just worried for you and has no other way of expressing that). You may not be able to help the other person—in fact, 99% of the time they will refuse to be helped—but at least you realize 1) it has nothing to do with you, and 2) you let go of any frustration and anger towards them.

Refuse to play the blame game

Bullies need victims; drama queens need an audience. Well, you don’t have to be that! When they act up, smile and ignore them. Replying or reacting only feeds their negativity.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when they make painful personal comments! Try to distance yourself by imagining the encounter as a scene from a soap opera or reality show. Doesn’t it look tragic, comical, even absurd? Allow your mind to have fun with this. What actress would play your crazy boss? What would be a great plot twist (‘and then…she finds out that Greg from accounting is actually her long-lost brother!’)

End all conversations on a positive note

You can tell the whiner in your office, ‘Oh it can’t be that bad… come on, let’s think of something great that happened this week.’ Just choose to radiate positive energy! Two good things can happen. One is that the other person will actually snap out of the negativity. Or, he may completely disagree with you, and avoid talking to you because you’re too upbeat and cheerful for his taste. Either way, you win!

Look for the lesson

Sometimes negative people or scenarios may actually be the universe’s way of pushing you out of your comfort zone. They could be a sign that you need to hang out with other people, or that there’s something in your work environment that is stifling creativity and you need to find a new job or look for other ways of self-expression. Or, if you feel an intense reaction to something someone said, this could help you understand hidden feelings, fears or insecurities.

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  • Olin Ottem

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