Are You A Negative Person?

Again today I heard a reader say: “I’m having a bad week. I have a horrible attitude.  I’m trying to change it around, trying to be more positive. My teenager is a help…giving me advice about attitudes and how we can vent positive to each other or negative…that it’s a choice. She’s really changed. I need to change, too. Nothing serious, just life stuff.” Being a positive person isn’t rocket science; it’s all laid out on this Web site for you to USE.


We all are addicted to negative thoughts when we allow them to run over our best-laid plans and take root in our brains. When you are being a negative person, silently to yourself or vocally to someone else, these close-minded traits are activated. They run your life show and run away with your communication skills:

1. Believing it’s easier to be negative. Yes, it’s easier to be negative but it’s more productive to feel alive and able to be surprised and curious about yourself and your valued relationships.

2. Being lazy. Yes, every human can be lazy and do what they’ve always done that isn’t any fun. A negative person salutes their laziness and doesn’t change it.

3. Negataker. Negative people talk tons of verbal trash inside their own skulls and complain vociferously to everyone they come into contact with. The complain game is a safe haven and prison.

4. Psychocritiquer. A negative person is critical of everything and everyone. Negative people don’t meet anyone they can’t dislike or find fault with. They’ll pick the lint off the suit or dress of successful thinkers.

5. Too smart. Mental horsepower ramps up the negative talk. Unfortunately, negative people are often pretty brainy, which adds enormous horsepower under the hood. Negative thinkers can get in trouble quickly on the relationship highway.

6. Don’t care. “I don’t care and no one is going to break my heart!” is the neurotically defensive battle-cry of beleaguered contrarians. They play it safe and will feel sorry some day for all the heartbreaks that life has laid in their path. Why not be a “Merryian,” instead?

7. Change resisters. When you are punch drunk with negative thinking, you will use the No. 1 change resistance mechanism: criticizing self and others for a failure to be perfect. That’s why I say the blame game and shame game are totally lame.

8. Un-Stupid. My definition of stupid is “being brave enough to care,” and of stupid behavior as “daring to care.” Pessimists are too busy picking and analyzing the lint in their belly buttons to learn something new by truly enjoying their ignorance.

9. Made in the shade. Oddly, negative people are often saluted for being “pragmatists,” “logical types,” “fearless predictors of problems,” “disaster relief specialists,” “unafraid to break from the crowd mentality” and other crowning glories. Frankly, negative people are over-rated and ought to be told to “zip your lip for five minutes.”

10. Regrets. A negative person is filled to overflowing with life regrets. Negative thinkers spend their energy on “Oh, how I wish I would have done or said…!” Don’t be fooled, though. If a negatalker has what they say they lack, they will still be moaning about something else that’s lacking.


Don’t feel sorry for a NegaTalker or NegaThinker, especially YOU. Instead, challenge yourself to talk positively (for a change) for a whole day. No negatalking to others or to yourself. When you get off on a negative talk street, say:

  • “Change the subject!”
  • Or, “Change the damn record!”
  • Or, “Here you go again retreating to the safety of your negative talking cave or ducking under the couch because you’re afraid. For gosh sakes…STOP IT…I DON’T WANT TO TOP OFF MY NEGATIVE THINKING WITH MORE NEGATIVISM!


Are you a negative person, sometimes, due to mental laziness and “poor me” victim thinking? Who isn’t, now and then. Moreover, are you addicted to negative thinking and ineffective relationship communication patterns that ditches speedy travel on the two-way communicator highway? Of course not, not lovable you! Negative people are “oppositional types” or “talk opposers”…who pretend to take an “intelligent” position by positioning themselves all-ways in direct opposition to whatever is positively personal progress and growth.

Now don’t tell me: You don’t want to digress or regress…you want to progress. That’s why you’re reading all sorts of stuff on my Web site about bad attitudes being such bad news and how to spend four minutes a day inputting positive news into your brain. Thanks for taking on the four minute challenge! YOU CAN overcome a bad attitude with a little elbow grease, far less than you might think, by keeping your change sleeves rolled up and doing something new. However, change doesn’t happen if you simply become aware of having a bad attitude…you have to use new thoughts and tiny actions to pump up your attitude that’s been flattened by stress.


You are thinking too much when you play the same old worry record over and over again and don’t do anything effective to change your tune. Being negative or positive is a choice…one you alone have the freedom to make.

BUT isn’t your being negative a sign of independent and intelligent practical thinking, maturity and relationship independence…a way to stay safe in a world of hurt? Nope. Opposing everything good and worthwhile–namely your positive un-fearful self–isn’t the ability to have an independent opinion. Instead, it’s being difficult in order to counter feeling unimportant and to stand out in the suffering crowd when you feel like a shrinking violet. Compulsively debating why things are so bad and can’t be changed, will just mess with your mind in order to gain attention while you lose your mind. Why be negative as a defense against being disappointed?! NegaTalkers or cynical people can captivate your mind, to boot.


Still think negatalkers are way too cool? What are some other adjectives that describe a prototypical negaholic? Negative people salute being opposed, debating, contradicting, interrupting, moralizing, strategizing, and playing mind games, cynicism. They’re attracted to pessimism, change resistance, contrarians, and they’re stubborn, adverse, bossy and balky…well, you get the idea. Your favorite “contrarian” really thinks h/she is wisely cautious and realistic. I think negative people are pessimism-driven, excessive self-esteemers who are in reality confidence slammers and sometimes rageaholics.

Give change a chance in your life today. See what happens, measure your own results by “abstaining” from “drinking in and making a toast” to negative thinking.
Dr. Dennis O’Grady is the founder of New Insights Communication, an executive coaching firm and communications workshop business for leaders located in Dayton, Ohio. He holds a B.A. degree from Michigan State University, an M.A. degree in Behavioral Counseling from Michigan State University, and the Doctorate of Psychology degree from Wright State University. His communications psychology book, TALK TO ME, answers the question “Why can’t we all just get along?”

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