Dear Barb – Cooking up Negativity

Dear Barb:

I have a family member that visits occasionally and often she stays overnight. I have noticed that, when she leaves, some of my baked goods are missing and I am pretty sure she is the one taking them. I love to bake and often have lots of homemade cookies and desserts to offer when people visit. This particular family member always raves about my baking. I just find it strange that she would steal from me when I would be perfectly willing to give her some to take home if she asked. It seems like such a sneaky thing to do. What would be the best way to handle this without hurting her feelings or embarrassing her? Thanks Julie.

Hi Julie:

Thanks for your question. I agree with you that is a bit of an odd thing to do. Obviously, she doesn’t want to ask you if she can take some baked goods home, however she must realize that you know that she is taking these items. Next time she comes for a visit, early in the visit casually mention that that you are going to prepare a package of goodies for her to take home. By saying this you are not putting her in a confrontational situation and nothing more needs to be said about it, as long as you remember to prepare her take home goodies.

Dear Barb:

What can I do about a friend who is so negative she is driving me crazy? When we get together all she does is complain about her family, our friends, and her coworkers. If I try to point out something positive, she tells me I don’t know the whole story. I’m starting to wonder why we are even friends. I don’t know if I have changed or she has. I have been trying to live a more positive lifestyle, so maybe I just didn’t notice this about her before. I really do not look forward to getting together with her. Do you have any advice on how to best deal with a Negative Nellie! Thanks Happy Hanna.

Hi Hanna:

Negative people can be very difficult to spend time with. I guess you have to try to understand where the negativity is coming from. They may have learned it in their family, or they may have experienced a lot of negativity in their own life, which makes it hard to see the good in this world. Although understanding where it comes from is not going to make it any easier on you. A suggestion may be to keep your visits brief. If they ask why you don’t want to spend more time with them, be honest. Tell them how you feel, often people aren’t aware of their own personality issues. Be prepared for their reaction. It’s very difficult for some people to confront their own issues, so you may be putting your relationship in jeopardy. Or you may choose to counter their negative remarks with a positive one. Negativity can be a comfort zone for some people and in that case change has to come from within them. Great question!

Follow Barb on twitter @BarbGod

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length and to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.