Let’s get real: How to turn those frowns upside down in the workplace

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First Posted: 12/16/2014

Dear Melissa,

There is a woman in my office who is a constant pessimistic downer. Everyone gets along, but all she ever does is complain about everything all of the time. I literally think there is no way to ever make this girl happy. Even when we decorated her desk for her birthday she complained we didn’t use her favorite color streamers and took it all down. When we have potlucks, she spends then entire day complaining about her weight, or the food smells or the variety of foods, all she has to say are negative things.

Whenever I try to interject something positive, she finds a way to turn it into a negative. It has caused an uncomfortable environment in the office and everyone is at their wit’s end. We have all tried talking to her about it, but to no avail. What else can we do?

Positive in Pittston

My Dearest Sunshine,

Until it becomes legal to slip the occasional happy pill in her morning coffee, you are just going to have to try ignoring her or killing her with kindness. She will either find your positivity to be inspiring, or she will just get annoyed with you and stop talking all together. Unfortunately, in this world, there are some people who just can’t find happiness and think it’s OK to spread that around to everyone else. It is frustrating to have a negative Nancy in your midst, but next time she complains about the variety ask her what she thinks would improve the situation. Maybe she just needs to feel heard or acknowledged and that will brighten her spirits. We never know what is going on with someone’s private life as well. She may have a tough situation outside of the office which is causing her to have such a rough demeanor, try being a friend. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Yours in light and love,