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