Defeat their negativity by pummeling it with gratitude.

Few things are as frustrating as the absence of expected gratitude.

  • When you go above and beyond for someone and don’t receive a simple “thank you” in return.
  • When your joy and excitement at something is dampened by a pessimist who always likes to point out ALL of the negatives.
  • When your genuine gratitude to them is met with ugliness or indifference.

Congratulations. You have crossed paths with an “UGH,” An UnGrateful Human. They suck up happiness and warmth like one of those fancy Dyson vacuums, justifying their salty ways with excuses like “I’m just keeping it real.”

Changing them would be a long and arduous process, and unless you are REALLY invested in their growth, I wouldn’t recommend taking on that project. If you are unlikely to ever see the person again, I also wouldn’t recommend trying to change them.

Sometimes, as they sang in the movie Frozen, you need to Let It Go.

As much as you want to chase down the person, you let in ahead of you in traffic who never waved the obligatory ‘thanks buddy’ wave after the merge, causing you to really suppress the desire to pull alongside them and scream “have you no manners?” before slamming your car into theirs, sending it careening off the road and into a ditch filled with filthy water from a broken sewer drain while you drive away happy and proud that they 100% got exactly what they deserved.

Let it go.

With those that don’t fall into those categories, and for your own sanity, make a game out of defeating their negativity by pummeling it with gratitude. No matter what they say, what they do, and how they behave; find some way to fire gratitude back at them.

They didn’t thank you for the extensive and detailed spreadsheet you made by their deadline because you skipped lunch and stayed an hour late? Thank her for trusting you with the project and for the new tips you learned while building it.

They showed no appreciation for the fact that you dropped everything to come to watch their kids because they forgot about the baby’s doctor appointment? Thank her for allowing you to mix up your normal routine and spend time with the kids you don’t get to see much.

No high-five for the meal you made (at the last minute because someone forgot to mention they were coming) for your in-laws last weekend? Thank him for allowing you to test your skills in the kitchen in a stressful situation.

The other person’s impact might be negligible; they might not even catch on to what you are doing. (If they do, it’s a bonus!) But you will be forced to stretch your gratitude muscle.

Lots of research has suggested that it’s impossible to feel negative thoughts alongside true grateful thoughts.

This ‘game’ will not only suppress the frustration you feel but also remind you that even if they haven’t said it, there is still gratitude to be found. And then let your pent-up rage out on the next fool who doesn’t give you the ‘hey thanks’ wave while driving.

Jeff Dauler | Gratitude Expert | Co-Host, THE UPSIDE with Callie and Jeff