Edited excerpt from 23 Ways to Protect Your Positive Mood from Negative Co-Workers by Laura Tong:
1. Take the lead with upbeat topics. By going first you’ll have more control to ensure the tone stays positive.
2. Avoid eye contact during negative conversations. You’ll make less connection with them and their words will carry less weight.
3. Don’t gossip. Talking about people behind their back has been shown to lower your self-esteem, even when you are not being overly critical.
4. Laugh in the face of negativity. Smile and diffuse that negativity. Refuse to take them and their gloomy view of life or your workplace to heart.
5. Read them the riot act. Explain to negative co-workers that you have a serious allergic reaction to negativity.
(1) On the damage of negativity and why you should avoid it, see Why venting and complaining are bad for your health and the health of your company.
(2) Cf. You can train yourself to think positively.
(3) An excellent, positive question to ask to people: The right question to ask to motivate people.