That pain you feel listening to complainers? It's real enough to peel away neurons from your brain and render it pretty much useless, reports Inc. "The brain works more like a muscle than we thought," says Trevor Blake, an entrepreneur who wrote Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life. "So if you're pinned in a corner for too long listening to someone being negative, you're more likely to behave that way as well." But he offers tips for coping:
- Get Away. Complainers are like chain-smokers who emit dangerous second-hand smoke, so simply move away from them.
- Ask for a Fix. If you're cornered, suggest that the complainer find a solution. But most will just walk off because they "don't want a solution; they just want you to join in the indignity of the whole thing," says Blake.
- Protect Yourself. When they just won't stop, delve into your bag of mental self-defense tricks. Imagining a protective, giant bell jar or invisibility cloak might work—or, like Blake, you could see yourself on a far-away island. "I could smile at them and nod in all the right places and meanwhile take myself for a walk on my private beach."
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