Are cynical people bringing you down? You may be shocked to discover why they act the way they do.
Most cynical people are no different from anyone else. Most people ascribe cynical people with a bad reputation. Cynical people are thought of as difficult to deal with, always pessimistic, and are like energy vampires whenever you are near them. But the truth is, most cynical people are just people who have been hurt in the past.
Once you understand where they are coming from and why they act the way they do, you can better communicate with them, and even get them on your side. And in return, they’ll appreciate you for your ability to understand them, rather than judge them as so many others quick to do.
Understanding How Ordinary People Become Cynical
Cynical people are no different than anyone else. Like you and me, cynical people eat food, drink water, live in a house and even once were optimistic about life. The only difference between a cynic and an ordinary person, is that the cynical person once encountered an event important enough to warp their outlook on life.
Some of the most cynical people I know happen to be successful people. On their journey to become wealthy, they have encountered numerous hardships and setbacks that have made them who they are today. Some have even been taken advantage of, because of their money, status or what they can offer. Because of their experiences, it’s a lot more difficult for cynical people to trust others, and they often think that all humans are bad. In reality, however, not everyone will behave the same way towards them as the people they encountered in the past. Not everyone is deserving of distrust.
Cynical people aren’t necessarily bad people. They are just people who have gone through experiences that we may not understand. That’s why it’s important not to judge a book by it’s cover, because you never know what’s actually underneath. You don’t know the full story. If you know how to deal with them or you know how to get them on your side, cynical people can be some of the most valuable allies and team members a business can have.
How a Cynical Person’s Outlook Saved Countless Lives
Does the world actually need cynics? There is a popular expression that goes like this: “The optimist invented the airplane, the cynic invented the parachute.”
Back in the early days when humans were still discovering how to fly, many optimists believed we would one day develop the technology to fly in the sky. And many centuries later, we have succeeded in creating all kinds of airplanes and flying machines.
Back in those days, however, cynical people thought we would never leave the ground. They shared their negative attitudes with everyone around them, saying that flying is impossible or it would be dangerous.
Most people saw the cynic as a pessimist that was trying to bring everyone else’s morale down. But to person who listened carefully to what the cynic was saying, realized that the words of the cynic had solid truth. As time passed, it became clear that the cynic’s words held truth, as airplane crashes and disasters occurred more and more frequently, taking more and more human lives in the process. Once the parachute was invented, it gave pilots the ability to land safely from a malfunctioning aircraft. If it weren’t for the invention of the parachute, many more lives would have been lost.
This is just one example of how a cynical person is not necessarily bad. Cynical people have opinions just like everyone else. What matters is how people perceive what cynical people are saying. Instead of judging them as someone who is always negative and brings others down, look deeper into how you could learn from their supposedly negative outlook.
If a cynical person points out flaws and tells you that it will never work or that it is dangerous, think of how you can overcome those problems. Sometimes, the skepticism from a cynic could save your life.
Re-frame The Way You Perceive Cynical People
You might not be able to control what cynical people do or say, but you can control how you react. If they say something that bothers you, ask yourself why.
Are they looking down on someone? Do they seem pessimistic? How you perceive their words will affect the way they make you feel. For example, let’s say the new intern at the office shows up on her first day and begins greeting everyone warmly. A cynical person might say:
“She’s just trying to get on everyone’s good side so when she screws up people won’t blame her as much.”
Instead of focusing on the words being used, look at what they’re actually saying. Analyze deeper into the meaning behind the words being said, and you can understand where they may be coming from. One possible reason why a cynical person might say that is because they actually feel a certain way:
“I’m jealous of her and wish others would treat me nicer. Everyone blames me whenever something bad happens and it’s not even my fault.”
By re-framing what a cynical person might say, you can get to the core of why they would act that way. Instead of judging someone based on their words, understand where they are coming from. They may actually mean something else.
Ask and Acknowledge a Cynic’s Opinion to Disarm Them
One powerful psychological trick you can use when dealing with cynical people, is to probe deeper into what they mean. Ask the cynic questions, and get them to back up their cynical claims. If cynical people make statements that you don’t agree with, ask them why they feel that way.
In society, cynical people are often avoided because of their negative attitude and opinions. As a result, they often act stubborn and isolated because others are treating them like outcasts. But if you make an effort to understand them instead of judging them like everyone else, they’ll be taken aback by this difference in behavior.
When you ask someone what they mean (like when you ask a cynic for further explanation) you are making them feel important. You are acknowledging that what they say has merit, instead of dismissing their claims. That makes them respect you more, and they’ll be more likely to open up, because of how you treated them. By approaching a cynic’s words with an open mind and with curious thinking, you can discover much more than with a judgmental attitude.
Dealing With Cynical People and Closed-Minded Thinking
If you’re struggling to communicate with a cynic because of their negative thinking, ask them what they think would work. When an opinion comes from outside, cynical people are more likely to be pessimistic. But if that opinion comes from within themselves, they can’t dismiss it as easily.
This is another psychological trick that influences them to think more positively, and is one I frequently use in sales conversation and closing. For example, suppose you were speaking to a prospect, and they said:
“I don’t think your service will work for me.”
Instead of getting offended or trying to justify why it would work for them, throw their cynical statement back to them with a question. You can say something like this:
“What would have to happen for this to work out?”
By making them come up with the solution, they’ll automatically become less cynical. Even if your proposal of a solution was the same as theirs, the fact that they said it means they will respect it much more. Remember: If you say it, it means nothing. But if the cynical person says it themselves, it means everything.
A cynical person’s best friend and most trusted adviser is themselves. They may not trust or value other people and their opinions, but they’ll surely value their own. If they won’t listen to anyone but themselves, make them come up with the solutions.
Mirror Their Behavior and Give it Back to Them
Sometimes, cynical people aren’t aware they’re even behaving in such a negative way. If you’re tired of dealing with their pessimism, mirror their behavior.
This strategy should be done only in very rare circumstances, or you may risk creating conflict and making them even more difficult to deal with. You are simply letting the cynical person get a ‘taste of their own medicine’, so they become aware of their own behavior.
For example, if during meetings a cynical person is constantly shooting down other people’s ideas, do the same to them. Whenever that person tries to make their opinions be heard, react in the same way they would. Here’s an example dialogue of you mirroring the cynic’s behavior for experimental purposes:
Co-worker: “We could increase revenue by spending more money on ads.”
Cynical Person: “That’s never going to work.”
You: “What would you suggest we do instead?”
Cynical Person: “We should make more YouTube videos.”
You: “That’s never going to work.”
In some situations, cynical people unintentionally create conflict by not being open minded. Humans are naturally selfish creatures – unless they experience firsthand the consequences of their own actions, they will not realize what they are doing. Use their cynicism against them, to make them aware of their own behavior.
Set Clear Boundaries and Assert Yourself
If you don’t appreciate someone being cynical, don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your thoughts.
Having a good office culture and good morale at the office is vital to success. Research shows that companies with a strong work environment have a 4x increase in revenue growth, and credit their massive success to their office culture. If a cynical person is starting to wear you down, chances are they are affecting the entire organization.
In my own organization, we take our work culture very seriously. Everyone has an understanding of how they should behave, and what kind of energy they should bring into group conversations. Cynical people and negativity has its place – but if it is not delivered in a constructive way, it is not welcome. Every team member understands they are there to attain the best version of themselves, and if someone is displaying the attitude of a cynical person and holding others back, they will be removed.
If a cynical person is negatively affecting your performance in life or business, you need to set boundaries. Turning down other people’s ideas without giving them a chance to explain themselves often creates a toxic environment that ends up hurting everyone. If you think a cynical person is doing more harm than good, let them know you are not okay with their pessimism, and assert your boundaries.
How to Confront a Cynic in a Superior Position
If you are dealing with a superior who has a cynical outlook on things, you might not be able to override their decisions. In this case, it is better to confront them in a professional manner.
Let’s say your boss frequently turns down any proposal or idea you have. Your boss is cynical, and does not believe any of your suggestions will work. Because the cynicism is coming from a person with a superior role, some of the previously mentioned methods may not be as effective.
What you could do, instead of running the risk of offending your boss and losing your job, is calmly tell them how you feel. Let them know how their cynicism negatively affects your emotional state, and de-motivates you, leading you to be less likely to come up with new and creative ideas. If your boss truly values how his or her employees are always trying their best to improve, they’ll consider your feelings the next time they are tempted to be cynical.
You: “Hey boss, I have an amazing idea of how we could improve conversions.”
Boss: “We’ve done that before. This time won’t be any different, and it won’t work.”
You: “I’ve always done my best to suggest things that could benefit the company. I’m curious, why do you always shoot down my ideas?”
Instead of making it about them, you make it about YOU. Cynicism usually stems from a past event that influences their outlook on how things will logically play out. But by mentioning how they have hurt your feelings, now you are shifting their mindset from logic to emotion. Now, they aren’t focused on the logical issue at hand, they are focused on the emotional issue – which is you.
Remember: Cynical people may have set logical beliefs, but not set emotions. It therefore is possible to appeal to a cynic’s emotions.
Ignore Them and Do it Anyway
If you tried everything you can think of ? You’ve tried communicating, mirroring, understanding them, and nothing seems to work? Try this:
Other people’s opinions are exactly that – an opinion. And when you’re speaking to someone who is cynical, trying to change that opinion is most likely going to be very difficult. A cynical person has had years to build up an opinion of how they view the world, and if you try to convince them to see things from another perspective, you will be met with a lot of resistance.
Instead, acknowledge the cynic’s words, walk away, and then do what you were going to do anyway. Trying to convince a cynic to see your point of view is sometimes a waste of time and energy. Instead of letting their opinions and negativity prevent you from doing what you wanted to do, just do it anyway. Unless you believe that what they say holds some truth, then there is no reason to listen.
Choosing to trust your own beliefs instead of what others say is the first step towards success. In life, everyone around you is going to have an opinion of how you should do certain things. If those opinions don’t seem to be in your best interest, there is no reason for you to take them to heart. Everyone perceives experiences differently. A cynic may see a situation as a disaster, while you may see it as a grand opportunity. Trust in yourself, and do what you believe is right.Listen, smile, agree, then do whatever you were going to do anyway. - Robert Downey Jr. Click To Tweet
Disarm Cynics With The Lost Art of High Ticket Closing
Dealing with cynical people can be frustrating, yet very rewarding if you succeed at it. On one hand, trying to convince a cynic to see things from your perspective may be impossible. But on the other hand, a cynic also has valuable insight from their past experiences that you may not have. If you know how to communicate with a cynical person, they can be a great asset to your organization, and offer a valuable perspective.
Ordinary people can become cynical if they have encountered experiences that have re-shaped their mentality and warped their mindset. If they have been badly burned by the harsh reality of life, and as a result are no longer the optimistic person they once were, they may now be a cynical person.
Cynical people, however, can be highly intelligent. Instead of viewing all cynical people as stubborn, critical or difficult to work with, look at things from their perspective and try to see if their negative perceptions hold truth.
In other words, try to understand where they are coming from, and why they have that opinion. Most of the time, cynical people have such harsh outlooks on life because of what they’ve gone through. Their past controls their behavior and their thoughts. If you can understand and demonstrate how their past experiences are not the same as what is currently being presented, it can help them overcome their cynicism.
Knowing how to properly communicate with people is a valuable skill. You can turn doubters into believers, or even turn them into a valuable ally. Especially in business, being able to handle cynicism is crucial if you want to influence your prospects.
High Ticket Closing is a skill that allows those who possess it to see past the words of the cynics, and get to the core of what’s being said. If you want to learn how a high ticket closer handles cynicism with ease, click here to view my free masterclass.