I'm only just learning about shielding so won't say much on that.
When I was young I tended to be with people who were 'broken' to some extent. I've always known I did this, but only recently did I learn it's an empath thing. One was depressive and could be dark. One lied a lot. I've actually worked lately on trying to break any lingering attachments--it's been decades, but I often feel intense connections to past times so I'm not convinced attachments necessarily fade as much as we might think with the passage of time. I have no idea how successful this has been--I'm mostly in a good mind-frame anyhow these days. Mostly.
I know that for me sometimes the law of attraction -- like attracting like -- comes into play. I work with someone who is ultra-controlling. I went through a period in which I did a lot of left-brain (logical, analytic) work and I was tending to be more controlling (unbalanced left brain seeks control). During this time I could work with this guy. Now I find his controlling nature overwhelming. Often I can hardly bear to hold conversations with him. His attempts to control what I think are intrusive. I feel what it's like to be his energy and it's not nice. He's not 'bad', just hyper-controlling. So when I was more that way, I could be in his company; now I can only take him in small doses, if at all.
The head of our area is a Narcissist and she means people harm. For some reason, she has little affect on my energy. I had a meeting with her recently and I paid her as little attention as possible. She came across like a robot. I think she has very little of her own energy and spends her time pressing others' buttons to derive responses and energy. In that case all I had to do is withdraw my focus and she was like a shell, barely human. I thought I needed to shield myself from her, and I made some effort to do so, but it seemed that it was simply a matter of withdrawing focus. This makes sense as attention is obviously energy. However it's not difficult for me to withdraw energy in this situation as I cannot relate to or even fathom the person at all.
So I think it really depends what sort of "negative individual", the history and our reason for being in contact.