Dealing with negative people

How to Deal with Lackholes

Have you encountered a lackhole?

Let’s start with defining a lackhole (and I’m making this up)

Lackhole (adj.) a phenomena by which a person develops a focus on what is lacking in others, or their environments.  Likes to verbalise the shortcomings of others and inadvertently suck any joy out of your day.   Also known as energy vampires, joysuckers, negative nancies and scrooges.

How big are lackholes, and where can you find them?

You need to take care around the occurrence of lackholes, as without due care their size can increase and you can fall in, creating an even bigger one at your work or with your family and friends.  You can even find them while driving to work, supermarket lines.

As they are behavioural, there is generally a physical reaction. Smaller lackholes huff and puff, whilst really large lackholes can be prone to adult tantrums, rude gestures and will be heard saying things like “that’s too much” or “that’s not enough”.

Think road ragers, and you have a good example of a lackhole.  Their focus is a lack of control over everything.

Given permission within their environments, lackholes can also increase in frequency.  You will know this as you will  feel like you are walking on eggshells in their presence, and start to make a face similar to eating sour grapes upon spotting them in your sight.

Why do lackholes occur?

I would hazard a guess that the following reasons can create lackholes

  • Internal values and beliefs they have developed around particular topics (time money and how people should drive are good ones)
  • A desire for control
  • Ego
  • Difficulty in cultivating their own happiness
  • Immensely dislike change

Just to be clear, this is not the one off “bad hair day” type of conversation.  Everyone has bad days, and it can be healthy to talk about them.  I’m talking more frequent pointing out of everything that is wrong with everything.  Lackholes have high levels of environmental dissatisfaction, but expect their environments to magically change.

What if you think you are creating lackholes?

Well, congratulations for being insightful.  The best thing you can do is catch your behaviour, put it in to context, and ask if it is really enabling you to be your best?  Do you really want to leave a trail of lackholes for people to fall into?  I’m guessing not.  Remember, that behavioural change takes time, and you will feel better for it.

So how do you roll with a lackhole?


I recently caught up with LK Elliot, author of “Confessions of an ex hot Mess“, and if I had my technology right, there would be a great interview to watch.. Anyway.  I asked her how she dealt with negativity in the workplace, or what was her approach to lackholes – this is my favourite response:

“I’m currently doing a negativity detox, please excuse me from your conversation, and have a great day”

Now I loved this.  I understand some people may not be comfortable in taking this approach.  It takes courage, conviction and willingness to take a stand for positivity, and your own values, so here are a five strategies to deal with them:

  1. Do not own their stuff.  These are their behavioural issues, it is never about you.
  2. Seek out someone who has strengths around positivity or strategy to talk through options if you are not comfortable in crafting a response.
  3. Create space and boundaries.  Ask that all issues be discussed at a date and time in the future, request that they bring what they can personally do to resolve it, and what they genuinely need help with.  Now you can’t do that with a road rager, so that leads me to the next one:
  4. Bless and Release.  Engaging in conflict with a lack hole just creates a bigger one. Sometimes, you gotta let them go, and find better people who will lift you up instead of bring you down. Definitely do this one if they have anger issues.  If you wouldn’t allow your best friend be treated that way, why would you allow yourself to be treated that way.   Self love, people, self love.
  5. Breathe. Say internally “its a lackhole” and consciously choose how to deal with it.


I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Have you encountered a lackhole, and what do you do to deal with them in a constructive way?



With gratitude




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6 replies
  1. Jo
    Jo says:

    Yes, those are the times when I wish I could oh so eloquently and diplomatically put those ‘nay sayers’ back in their place ???

  2. Rosy
    Rosy says:

    What an interesting and well-written article!! Good job, Belle. I have given this subject years of thought and can only add that it takes a whole lot of maturity to deal with “lackholes” and that includes tons of patience and kindness toward those who would’ve annoyed you in the past. When you check your ego at the door, you have no need to correct (or even avoid) these types of people. That’s because you realize that we ALL have blindspots … and if you feel a need to correct or avoid those who are blind to their own negativity, it implies that you think you are above reproach. I hope that makes sense. There’s a cultural trend to dump “toxic” people, yet they are the very ones who help us grow and mature into patient and wise human beings. It’s a practice in acceptance, not just tolerance of others who aren’t quite as far as we are on the path. What we need when we are negative is someone to model positivity as a contrasting way to think … not just make a wisecrack that humiliates us into self-awareness. That’s not influence or leadership. It’s judgment. I loved how you pointed out that not everyone will be comfortable making such remarks. When we become people who aspire to inspire others in healthy ways and we walk in wisdom, I believe the need for boundaries will be needed less and less because we are respected for our character more and more. Anyway, those are just a few extra thoughts to add to your outstanding discussion.

    • Belinda Lockerby
      Belinda Lockerby says:

      I love your point regarding toxic people helping us to mature, that is very true. It’s when your own well being starts being impacted that the boundaries need to come in to play. Compassion for self is just as important as compassion for others.

      Thanks so much for your comment and perspective, a wonderful read!

      With gratitude


      • Rosy
        Rosy says:

        Definitely agree, Belle. It takes a lot of experience and skill to deal with difficult people and until you can get to a point in life where people don’t often annoy you, you have to set up those boundaries. As a Happiness Coach, I see many people using boundaries as a substitute for personal growth. I look forward to reading more of your blog.


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