Advice: "My best friend at work is always negative, and it's dragging me down. How do I make him stop?"


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Dear Quota Team,

I’ve been at my current sales job for a little over a year. In the last six months or so, I grew really close to one of my coworkers. We started going to lunch together at first, then started texting more throughout the day, and eventually, he became somebody I speak to on a regular basis.

One of the things we bonded over was making fun of people and processes at the office. Of course, most people do this, but we definitely have the same sense of humor about it, so I really enjoyed it. He has been with the company longer than me, so a lot of what I know, I found out from him telling me.

Here’s the problem though. In the last few months, I’ve really decided to commit to the role and the company. I’m in my 30s and I believe the next few years and decades are an amazing opportunity for me to maximize my income so that I can retire early. I’ve been buckling down on my finances and am on track to be completely debt free within a year, and after that, plan to pile the majority of my after tax income into investments (I am already investing now too). 

Because I’ve decided to make this switch and commit to my sales role, I feel like my friend’s negativity is weighing me down. He basically comes in and goes through the motions, and spends the rest of his day making fun of the company and our products and coworkers.

A few months ago, I gladly participated. But now, being negative is the last thing in the world I want to be. Everybody knows you need a positive attitude in sales, and too much negativity can really weigh you down and hold you back from closing deals and being successful. How do I politely tell my friend that I’ve got new priorities and no longer want to partake in the negativity? 

Trying to Stay Positive in Arizona


Dear Trying,

Your “reset” sounds like a great idea, and we commend you for re-committing yourself to your job and working hard towards your goals.

As far as your coworker, we wish we could tell you to be direct, but the reality is that that would probably make things really awkward. So the best way to go would probably be to become the change you want to see. 

For example: the next time he texts or talks to you about some sort of negativity, acknowledge it, then ask how his month is going, or talk about a deal that you’re excited about. Tell him about your financial goals and what you’re doing to get there. 

If he responds with more negativity, don’t let it get to you and do the same thing next time you talk. Eventually, he’ll get the hint. And he’ll either acknowledge that you’ve turned over a new leaf, or he’ll go his own way and leave you alone. Either way, you’ll get what you want. 

Good luck. You can do this! 

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