ANSWER: The “it’ll never work” people. The ones that drain the life and creativity out of any room or meeting they are in. The people whose default answer isn’t just “no.” It’s “Hades no,” never, not possible, nix, nein, no way, not me.
The people whose negativity flies around your thoughts and suck time, energy, and your attention away — even at home while you should be enjoying family and friends.
Negative people are “Eeyore Vampires” because just like Winnie the Pooh’s friend, Eeyore, negative people respond to most everything with “It’ll never work.” They are “Vampires” because these negative people morph at sunset into creatures who fly around your thoughts and suck time, energy, and attention away from you enjoying family and friends.
It’s challenging enough for most of us to do more with less at work but when Eeyore Vampires—negative people—invade, the dark shadows take over.
Q: HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THEM?
Redirect like Jekyll and Hyde.
You remember the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the abrupt changes? That’s kind of the way you redirect Eeyore Vampires. You just change the subject of a conversation abruptly to a completely different topic. If Eeyore V. is complaining about the boss—again—you say, “Hey! Did anybody catch the Steelers game last night?” You stop the negative conversation and suddenly change it to another thread. You draw a boundary that says, “This far and no more.”
Play Jekyll and Hyde and redirect.
WHAT IF THAT DOESN’T WORK?
Reframe like a Frankenstein.
Frankenstein was sewn and bolted together from different parts, similar yet different. He was reframed into one person from several. That’s much the way you reframe an Eeyore Vampire’s negative noise. Let’s say he’s still criticizing the company owner. You reframe by saying something like, “Well, Mr. X can improve his management skills, but last week, my payroll check cleared the bank. What about yours?” Similar conversation, yet different, shining a light on a bright spot in the company.
So we redirect like Jekyll and Hyde. We reframe like Frankenstein.
WHAT IF DR. JEKYLL, MR. HYDE AND FRANKENSTEIN DON’T WORK?
If all else fails in dealing with Eeyore Vampires—negative people—at work…
Remove yourself like a Zombie.
When you deal with an Eeyore Vampire by redirecting like Jekyll and Hyde and reframing like Frankenstein and the negative person persists, it’s time for drastic measures. You play the Zombie. You may be living, but you are dead to the Eeyore Vampire.
What does that mean?
It means you no longer give any time, energy, or attention to the Eeyore Vampire. You avoid any conversation beyond “Hello.” You remove yourself from his or her presence in the break room. Cold? Perhaps, but it’s better than the negativity of such horror stories bouncing around your mind, interfering when you’re taking your own children trick or treating or passing out candy at the front door on Halloween night.
Excerpt from the Expert Access Radio interview with Dr. Joey Faucette.