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CityPress - - Business - MATTHEW TOREN projects@city­press.co.za Here are five hor­ri­ble traits that push peo­ple away, how to recog­nise if you have them and how to get rid of them for good:

here are cer­tain hor­ri­ble habits that some peo­ple have that sim­ply drive oth­ers away. As the old say­ing goes, ev­ery per­son has some­thing good to of­fer, but for some, it’s when they leave the room. Are peo­ple happy when you walk in, or over­joyed when you walk out? We’ve all been around th­ese peo­ple. They whine, they com­plain, they talk about how much is go­ing wrong in their lives, and they want to tell you ev­ery de­tail.

How do you know if you’re a downer? Pay at­ten­tion to what you’re talk­ing about the most. Did you com­plain about traf­fic as your open­ing line when you got to your meet­ing this morn­ing? Did you make sure to tell those around you how lit­tle sleep you got last night, how hard you’re work­ing or how busy you are?

If the con­stant theme of your con­ver­sa­tion is whin­ing or neg­a­tive, you’re prob­a­bly a bit of a downer to be around. No­tice how you are start­ing con­ver­sa­tions with your peers and, if the theme is con­sis­tent com­plain­ing, it’s time to change your tune.

How do you stop it? This is one of the sim­plest, but hard­est to fix.

Try start­ing with notic­ing some­thing nice or good ev­ery time you are about to com­plain.

There can al­ways be a more pos­i­tive coun­ter­point to your com­plain­ing. Find it, and try to change the con­ver­sa­tion. Have you ever been around a per­son who won’t stop talk­ing? It can feel like bob­bing help­lessly in the ocean, watch­ing a gi­ant wave come at you that you just know is go­ing to pum­mel you with a wall of words.

Do peo­ple stand a lot when talk­ing to you? That’s an­other body lan­guage clue that they’re look­ing to get away quickly or aren’t will­ing to sit, know­ing that means you’re go­ing to hold them cap­tive in your con­ver­sa­tion. If you find you talk at peo­ple in­stead of with them, that you dom­i­nate the ma­jor­ity of ev­ery meet­ing and con­ver­sa­tion, guess what? You need to learn how to stop talk­ing so much.

The good news is, just like be­ing a downer, the so­lu­tion is easy: stop talk­ing! That can be hard for some­one used to be­ing a chat­ter­box. Share air­time around the ta­ble for oth­ers to voice their opin­ions too.

With some prac­tice, you can turn this ter­ri­ble habit around (and you’ll prob­a­bly gain a lot of friends back as a re­sult). We all have im­por­tant things to do in our day, but if you’re the guy or gal who’s al­ways on your phone talk­ing, tex­ting and email­ing while oth­ers are try­ing to talk to you, have din­ner with you or hold a meet­ing you’re in, guess what? That’s a hor­ri­ble habit and peo­ple hate it.

How can you tell if you’re the dis­tracted one? Do you find your­self ask­ing, “what was that again?” through­out the day? That’s a great sign you aren’t pay­ing at­ten­tion to oth­ers. Do you ever look up from a meet­ing or con­ver­sa­tion and see ev­ery­one else is off the phone and lap­top, ex­cept you? If you’re con­stantly dig­i­tally dis­tracted, try leav­ing the phone, tablet or lap­top at home for your next din­ner ap­point­ment or meet­ing.

Ditch the dirty dig­i­tal-dis­trac­tion habit and re­con­nect with in­di­vid­u­als, giv­ing them the at­ten­tion they de­serve from you. Even if you know more than oth­ers, what’s more inspiring: teach­ing how to get to your level, or talk­ing down to them about theirs? Be­ing con­de­scend­ing is a hor­ri­ble habit that will alien­ate oth­ers.

How can you tell if you’re con­de­scend­ing? It’s of­ten in oth­ers more than you. What does that mean? Look at the peo­ple in your life and take stock of how many are bet­ter off for hav­ing known you. Do you men­tor oth­ers? Have you helped peo­ple around you gain skills, knowl­edge, jobs or in any other way helped to de­velop oth­ers by teach­ing them what you know? How many peo­ple would come to you for help with a prob­lem, or to ask a ques­tion?

Pay at­ten­tion to the way you treat oth­ers. Do you

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