Having synonyms ready for phrases is great when developing our language skills. This article will look at the synonyms for a person who always thinks negatively and what you might be able to call them (because referring to them in that way all the time is too wordy).
Which Words Can Describe Someone Who Is Always Negative?
There are a lot of words available to use when talking about a person who always thinks negatively. We’ll cover the following in this article:
- Negative Nancy
- Debbie Downer
The preferred version is “pessimist” because most people understand what a pessimist is and how they operate. It also has the closest related meaning to someone who is always negative on their outlook of life.
Let’s start with “pessimist,” which is the best way to describe someone who is always negative, no matter what. Generally, pessimists are not pleasant people to be around.
A pessimist is somebody who refuses to see the positives of situations. They will always think bad thoughts and believe that bad things are more likely to happen to them.
The definition of “pessimist,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person who thinks that bad things are more likely to happen or who emphasizes the bad part of a situation.”
A pessimist is the opposite of an optimist (who is somebody that sees the positives in everything and always expects the best). Between the two, you have realists who see both positives and negatives based on what they expect out of a situation.
It’s often the case that a pessimist can bring down your own mood, especially if you’re a realist. You’ll start to believe in the same negative things as they do, which causes you both to sway on the pessimistic side of the scale.
Some examples of the word in action include:
- You’re such a pessimist. Is there anything you enjoy about our time together?
- You’re always pessimistic. I dare you to try and find one positive thing about this!
- I’m a pessimist, which means I never get my hopes up.
- He’s so pessimistic, which is why he’s always miserable.
If you’re a “cynic,” you’re similar to a pessimist, but you’re a little more specific in who or what you don’t enjoy.
A “cynic” is a person who believes that other people mean harm. They believe that everyone is out for themselves and will never do anything to be kind to other people (or if they do, they won’t mean it).
It’s difficult to be around cynics, and it’s even harder to call them your friend. That’s because they rarely trust other people to be good to them. If they can’t trust you to be kind, then they’re not making for a good friend, which is why you should avoid being cynical yourself.
Cynicism doesn’t always refer to finding the worst in people. Sometimes, a cynic can find the worst in things or objects, which ends up causing them to have a lot of doubt about certain things.
Here’s when we might use it:
- Call me a cynic, but I don’t think you’re here to help me.
- You’re a cynic, which is why you can’t open up and trust me.
- Stop being such a cynic! We’re here to help.
- I might be a cynic, but I’m pretty sure this medicine doesn’t work.
We come to “defeatist” next, which is perhaps one of the harshest words on it. Defeatists believe themselves to be a failure in every aspect, which makes it hard for them to enjoy life.
A “defeatist” is somebody who finds defeat in everything. They believe that there is no way they’ll ever “win” in life and will always expect themselves to fail.
The definition of “defeatist,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “having no hope and expecting to fail.”
Just like the other words on this list, being a “defeatist” isn’t a good thing. Most people will refuse to be around you because you always find the worst faults and flaws in your life, which makes it hard to cope with you.
Also, “defeatists” believe that most people are out to get them and beat them in some way. They have a hard time trusting people, which makes them difficult to befriend, just like “cynics.”
Some examples using “defeatist” include:
- You’re such a defeatist. You haven’t even started yet, and you’ve already given up.
- Why are you always so negative? Stop being a defeatist and get back out there!
- I’m a defeatist, and I’ll happily admit that.
- You can’t keep up with this defeatist attitude!
Next, we have a slang term, which is “Negative Nancy.” You won’t find this in an official dictionary, but a lot of native speakers enjoy using it because it conveys the meaning that they want to.
“Negative Nancy” works for both men and women (even though “Nancy” is a girl’s name). It works when someone always tries to look at the negatives of a situation and always brings the mood down.
The definition of “Negative Nancy,” according to The Urban Dictionary, is “a nickname given to a guy or a girl who always has a negative spin on things. Always brings the mood down with the doom and gloom analogies.”
Clearly, a Negative Nancy isn’t someone who most people like to spend time with. If they’re able to bring down everyone else’s moods, it means they have a hard time finding the positive in things, which means most people try to avoid speaking to them.
You might see the slang phrase “Negative Nancy” in the following way:
- Stop being a Negative Nancy and come and dance!
- You’re such a Negative Nancy. Get over yourself and have some fun.
- We’re all Negative Nancys here, mate.
- You’re a Negative Nancy, and you’re cramping my style.
Someone who is “lackadaisical” might not always see negativity in things, but they have a personality trait that’s very similar and powerful enough to bring everyone else’s moods down.
“Lackadaisical” means that someone shows no enthusiasm or effort in certain things. If it’s obvious, other people around them will see this as rude and will not want to spend further time with them.
The definition of “lackadaisical,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “showing little enthusiasm and effort.”
Generally, a lackadaisical person isn’t negative. They’ll usually only be bored or tired, and that’s why they show little enthusiasm or effort. Other than that, it’s hard to look at a lackadaisical person and think they’re only being negative.
Here are some instances where you might use it:
- Your lackadaisical attitude is driving me up the wall.
- Please stop being so lackadaisical around our kids.
- I’m too lackadaisical to care about this.
- You’re not as lackadaisical as you think; you just need to pay attention more.
Finally, we have another slang phrase (that incidentally uses another lady’s name to make its point).
“Debbie Downer” is someone who always looks down at situations and tries to find the worst possible options, even in the happiest possible events. It’s named after an SNL skit and has been a famous slang phrase since.
The definition of “Debbie Downer,” according to The Urban Dictionary, is “a person who says something terribly depressing (a downer), typically only tangentially related to the present circumstance or topic of conversation, and thereby destroys the positive atmosphere.”
Debbie Downers can be both male and female, as the name “Debbie” doesn’t strictly refer to women in this case. However, if you’re called one, it often means that your friends are sick of your attitude, and you need to make some changes quickly before they move on.
A Debbie Downer has a habit of turning everyone against them quite quickly in social situations, so it’s best to avoid if you can.
These examples help to explain when you might be a Debbie Downer:
- Stop being a Debbie Downer, or we’ll kick you out of the group.
- Stuart, you’re such a Debbie Downer right now; just get over it!
- So what if she broke up with you? You’re a Debbie Downer anyway!
- He’s too much of a Debbie Downer to interest me now.
How Should I Deal With Someone Who Is Always Negative?
If you come across a person who always acts negatively or sees the negatives in things, it can be difficult to converse with them. It might help to know how you should deal with them, even if we think it’s best to avoid them.
You should try and comfort someone who is always negative and try to get them to see the light or positives in certain situations. If you repeatedly try and don’t succeed, it’s best to part ways with the negative person, as they are toxic and shouldn’t be in your life.
While it can be hard to say goodbye to friends, sometimes that’s the only option.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.