We all have those people in life that like to tell others why they can’t, or shouldn’t, do certain things. This negativity can come from acquaintances, friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else in your life you share your ideas with. The problem is that these individuals often have reasons for not to doing pretty much anything you can come up with, and in these situations, I have a few tried and true strategies that I like to employ.

Don’t tell them

The best advice that I can give if you don’t want to hear any negative comments is not to tell those who will predictably only spew negative views.

Leaving them out of the loop on what you are up to is the best way to get on with what you are trying to accomplish, without the hassle of sorting through what they have to say. Remember, the negativity is their mental baggage to unpack, not yours.

Confide in friends that can give you helpful feedback

The hardest part is always going to be finding friends that have your best interests in mind that will also give you honest feedback. Afterall, not every idea an Entrepreneur has is a good one. That's why it's important to have a group that you can trust and bounce ideas off of. Helpful feedback might be key to your success, but it's also something that should be considered carefully. Be wary of those that only have positive things to say, or that seem to always say what you want to hear.

Another way to get helpful feedback is to find an entrepreneurship gathering in your area and connect with those that are facing similar challenges.

Ignore the known nay-sayers

If you must tell those negative nancy’s what you are up to at the moment, be prepared to ignore the waterfall of pessimism that seems to flow unhindered from their freedom hole.

There’s really no other way around it. You can try to point out the antagonizing nature of their ways, but it's unlikely it will precipitate any change in their behavior. Humans are creatures of habit, and if they have a habit of being adverse to new ideas, then you probably want to spend your time sharing your ideas with someone else.

If you can’t leave them out of your plans, find a way to work around them

Ah yes, the most sought after, confrontation-adverse, option: the workaround. Once you have retrieved your mind from the gutter, you may find it worthwhile to strategize some ways to sort out what is helpful negative feedback versus unhelpful. What defines those two categories could vary widely, but in general, I consider these criteria when assessing feedback:

  • Is this person experienced in what I’m trying to accomplish? What value or lessons can I learn from them?
  • Are this person's’ experiences in some way biased by either external or internal factors?
  • Are the recommendations I received based on recent data, anecdotal evidence, or just opinion?

Asking yourself about those three things will take you pretty far in assessing where someone is coming from when they give you advice, either negative or positive.

Keep in mind though that being around negative individuals can have an impact on yourself and the people around you for better or worse. Usually worse.

Working around them will take effort, but simply by sorting through the feedback you receive, you will be part of the way there. Having a plan for your interactions, and specific steps to take during your time together can make it a much more positive experience.