It would be lovely to be able to pick and choose the people around you—coworkers, family, or business associates—but that is likely an unattainable luxury. Within your network of connections there are surely a few negative, cranky or downright toxic people. You may find that you dread having to deal with them, yet must. So really all you can do is either bring to their attention the negative energy they ooze or adjust how you deal with, or perceive, them.
Although unpleasant on the surface, there are lessons to be learned from these sad sacks—primarily how not to behave and the person never to become. Whether young or old, and regardless of the blows, real or perceived, to bring about this behavior in these individuals, there is only so much you can do about them.
Although it may be irritating knowing what to expect from individuals with this type of personality, use that knowing to your advantage and allow it to arm you with a neutral attitude while associating with them. As negative as they may behave, you need not get sucked down with them. You can attempt to shed light on the bright side to remind them that there are other ways to deal with life. You have the option of being the observer without getting attached to their negativity or letting it infiltrate your energy.
One grand lesson a person with such an outlook can impart is to be your guide to keeping you off the road to negativity. They can be an unwitting reminder to keep your spirits up—as they are the example of what happens when the opposite becomes a pattern.
It would be ideal to be able to choose the people around you, however when that is not an option, use folks from all walks of life—both positive and negative—as life coaches for the behaviors they exhibit that you both do and do not appreciate.