A negative coworker can bring down the morale of an entire staff. So when you're faced with a moody Judy, follow these suggestions to deal with her.
Listen to her complaints. The first step in dealing with a negative coworker is to give her a chance to explain herself. Listen to her complaints and decide if they are legitimate. If they are, offer to help her deal with them so that you both can be happy again. But if she'd rather just complain to be heard, gracefully back out of the conversation with her. Speak positively to her and walk away. You may just give her the hint that no one enjoys hearing a negative coworker spout off every day.
Approach her. If you feel that your negative coworker doesn't realize the effect she is having on other employees, draw up the courage to approach her. Let her know that her recent attitude conveys one of anger, negativity and spite, and it doesn't contribute to the positive work atmosphere that everyone needs to be most productive. Again, offer to help her through her problems in any way that you can. Perhaps she just needed an eye-opener to realize just how negative she was being.
Give her a reason to be happy. Your coworker's negative attitude may just be for the simple reason that she's unhappy with her current assignment. If you can help her with her workload, it should put a smile on her face. She might also be struggling with her personal life. Although it is her business, suggest a good therapist, shelter, lawyer or other professional that may be able to help her with her struggles. Retain her respect of you by not spreading her issues around as office gossip. Put yourself in her shoes and you'll understand how she wants to be treated during this difficult time.
Talk to your supervisor. If you have tried in vain to help your negative coworker change her attitude, it may be time to approach your supervisor with your concerns. If the negativity is bringing down the rest of the staff and taking away from productive work time, then it certainly will be a concern for your boss. Try not to mention specific names or incidents. Just discuss your concerns, how it affects you and what efforts you've already made to deal with the problem. Your boss needs to see you as a problem-solver, not as a whiner. So remain professional at all times when dealing with a negative coworker.
Steer clear. Sometimes all efforts to deal with a negative coworker will fail. Despite your best efforts, it's probably just best to steer clear of her at this point. Don't surround yourself with negative people or their attitudes will rub off on you. Explain this choice to her if she questions you. Perhaps losing a good friend and coworker like you will push her to rethink her negative ways.