-They habitually find something to criticize.
Whether it’s a stain on your clothing, dirt on the carpet, or a spelling error in your email, they will be sure to find it and point it out.
-They hate to be wrong.
They will go to great lengths to show that they were right but will not apologize if they are caught in a mistake.
-They fixate on the trivial.
Even with bigger concerns, locally or globally, they will remember the time five years ago that they felt wronged.
-They struggle with reciprocal communication. They have a hard time expressing concern for others or even noticing when someone else is not doing well. They are uncomfortable with strong emotions shown by others, and will minimize it by avoidance or mockery (“stop with the crocodile tears”).
-They are stingy with praise.
They generally don’t compliment others. They may grudgingly show approval if prompted.
-They are sensitive to perceived slights.
If a sales person is not friendly, someone honks their horn at their driving, or they don’t receive a friendly hello, they will brood about it.
-They like to be martyrs.
If they get the wrong order in a restaurant or service that they perceive to be subpar, they may not address it directly, but sulk or￼ “suffer in silence.”
-They are inconsiderate.
While incredibly vocal about their own needs, they don’t care about the sleeping, eating, or personal habits or needs of another person. If someone is tired and they want to talk, that person is selfish in their eyes. They want to eat, sleep, go out, and work ONLY on their own personal schedule.
-They have a thin skin.
They show a proclivity to take umbrage at others’ comments. Judgmentalism, or the tendency to impute negative motivations to others’ innocent actions; ‘what did she mean by that?’
-They have a demanding nature.
Although negative people are often diffident about their own abilities, they nevertheless put pressure on close-others to do better. Instead of asking what they can do better, they always expect the other person to improve their performance or behavior.
-They demonstrate risk aversion.
They don’t want to be in situations that are unfamiliar, meet people they don’t know, or try new things. This can range from food choices to leisure. If something goes wrong, they will externalize it as the wrong choice of restaurant, why did we go out in this traffic, or I told you so.
-They feel a constant need for control.
For example, negative people have strong preferences on what they are willing to eat, places they will go, the time of day they will engage in any given activity, even the music in a setting. ￼They will complain about noise, odors, physical appearance (especially something they disapprove of like tattoos or apparel), other drivers, and opinions that differ from their own.
-They use a limited knowledge base to judge others.
Negative people will bandy about terms like gaslighting, narcissist, bipolar, and angry, to define others without being fully aware of the context. They may watch a TikTok or a YouTube and use that to be an ‘expert.’
-They are pessimistic.
Negative people tend to be gloomy and ready for disappointment. They will discourage others by bringing up all of the things that could possibly go wrong in any situation. They are the first to say ‘I told you so,’ even without literally saying I told you so.
Next up: how to deal with negative people while maintaining compassion for self and others.
Also see The Psychology of Negative People.