ASK COLETTE: Her Negativity is Unavoidable, Now What?

Here, Zoomer guru Colette Baron-Reid on how to deal with negative people.


Dear Colette,

As I get older and work on my own negativity, I am more aware of other people’s critical and judgmental thought patterns, and more importantly, the filter that doesn’t exist between their negative thoughts and their mouths.  In most circumstances, I can avoid or limit my exposure to these people.  But not this time.

A group of us have been planning a long vacation together now for months.  One friend invited a new member to join us in our upcoming travels.  Our first exposure to Sally was at a planning meeting and it was a terrible first impression. Her criticism and judgment of the plans we had made so far, in addition to her “holding court” the entire meeting was more than off-putting. 

There is no going back now, her tickets have been purchased and our trip involves being together every day.  I know I will not change her, but under these circumstances, I also know I can’t simply walk away and block her out. 

Short of stuffing her in my luggage and forgetting the combination, how can I survive this trip without spending so much of my own energy trying to counterbalance her junk?  – Stuck With Her Junk


Dear Stuck With Her Junk,

Ahhh, a vacation with a less-than-desirable companion.  While many people would describe an extended family vacation this way, in your case, you can’t pick your friends, not just your family.

So what’s our usual response for when someone doesn’t act the way we want? Make fists with each hand and stomp our feet up and down like a small child.

There, there, it’s all going to be okay.  Now that we’ve gotten that out of our system, let’s move on.

No matter how much you run the scenario in your head, approaching her and asking her to act more positively and with less judgment will not get you what you want.  You can’t fix her or change her, but you can change your reaction to her. I know what you’re thinking, or even shouting at your screen—“Why do I have to change, she’s the one being a w-tch!”

So how do you change your reaction? Perspective and detachment is key. Ask yourself, “Why does she bother me? What in me do I not accept that makes her so uncomfortable to be around?”

Does she take something away from you? If so what? Perhaps by “holding court” she was taking some of your identity as one of the key members of the group. Or maybe her sarcasm was meant to be humor and you’re the funny one of the group.

Why does her criticism of your well-laid plans bother you? You were happy with your decisions as a group thus far, why do you need her validation? Isn’t the opinion and suggestions of your friends more important than a stranger’s?

You are confident in your decisions, happy with the outcome so far and in essence, in control of your future travel experience.  How powerful is that!

She’s the newbie.  She’s walking into a well-established group and feeling the need to prove herself. Besides, your plans have become her plans, by default. Try seeing her as a needy child that is frightened when she is not the one in control, someone who needs to be seen, and counted.

Have you had a friend or colleague like her in the past?  Who does she remind you of? Do you need to forgive that person? You’re never stuck with junk, only your perception of it as junk.


Remember, when one finger points strongly at another four more are pointing back at you. I’d spend some time in self-reflection to see the parts in you that are getting triggered.  From there you’ll find compassion and understanding, and she will not carry as much power to affect you.

P.S. Speaking as a woman who loves to travel, save in that suitcase room for fabulous finds along your journey!


The InVision Project
Founder, CEO

If you have a question you would like to ask Colette, write to her at [email protected]All published questions and answers will be anonymous – we honor and protect your privacy. (Please, Colette respectfully asks that you do not request a reading as the anticipated response to your question.)