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Dealing with Deputy Downer

February 25, 2011

Have you ever known someone who has the uncanny ability to pick the worst day possible to say something critical? On the day you need encouragement the most, they choose to be negative. Maybe they don’t do it on purpose because they have no idea how you’re feeling, and on other days they can be perfectly nice.

It’s hard not to start seeing them as Deputy Downer, though, when they’re the ones bringing you down further than you were before. Here’s how I combat Deputy Downer.

1. Ignore them: I have found that most of the time, this person just wants a reaction. I don’t feed into their need for negative attention. Ignoring them also helps to drive them nuts and show them that you don’t roll like that. This is by far the best option.

2. Take kickboxing lessons: I haven’t actually done this, but I imagine it would serve two purposes. One, you take out your anger while burning calories. Two, if they ever cross the uncrossable line, you’ll be ready to throat punch them.

3. Return the favor with kindness: This one is hard to pull off without sounding sarcastic, but the key is in the delivery and to be completely serious. Don’t be over the top with your kindness or else it reeks of insincerity. Kindness is also only good if they’re just being critical to get attention. This way you throw them off because they’re expecting an argument. It’s like throwing water in their face—totally unexpected. But if they believe they’re being helpful, being kind just encourages bad behavior.

4. Change the subject: This is used best when you’re actually talking to them. Just nod, smile, and change the subject. Great topics to talk about include the weather, (My goodness it’s windy today!) whether or not the circus is coming to town any time soon, (I feel like seeing an elephant balance on a beach ball!) or the cuteness factor of small animals (Have you ever seen a fox puppy?!).

What do you do to deal with the Deputy Downer(s) in your life?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2011 4:01 pm

    What if you are physically incapable of using #3?

    • dtdorrin permalink*
      February 25, 2011 6:01 pm

      That’s when you go with #2 and the throat punch. But only in dire situations, like someone calls your momma names or tries to steal the shoelaces from your brand new pair of Converse.

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