In your personal and professional lives, have you ever had someone get angry or annoyed with you, and you couldn’t figure out exactly what you did?  Have you had someone cut off friendly contact with you abruptly, leaving you mystified?  Worst of all, are you completely clueless that you’ve offended someone with whom you had a good relationship?

Life is chaotic.  Sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to our relationships, and we unknowingly do things that sabotage them.  We leave people thinking that we don’t care about them, when the truth is we’re just busy, forgetful, or, as Jennifer Aniston once said, “missing a sensitivity chip.”

Take a step back for a moment and assess if you’re guilty of any of these five blow-offs with your family, friends, co-workers, or business associates.  And if you are, please consider changing your behavior.  Even if the relationship isn’t important to you now, it’s the right thing for a good human being to do.

Texting instead of calling

When someone calls you to say hello and catch up, do you text them back a one-liner?  This is fine if you can’t talk right away and plan to give them a ring later, but a text does not totally replace a phone call.  The person is going to think you don’t want to talk to them.

Getting cozy only when you need someone

I’ve had this happen to me countless times since I stopped writing my Wall Street Journal column.  Business associates would establish a chummy relationship with me, and I’d think we were friends only to have them blow off my calls and e-mails once they couldn’t take advantage of my high visibility position.  This type of behavior is obvious and makes you look very bad.

Turning down plans and never suggesting an alternative date

Some people are happy to sit back and let others do the work in their relationships.  However, you cross a line when someone repeatedly asks you to get together and you decline, never attempting to see what else might work.  Do this a few times and the person will think you don’t like them – and eventually won’t like you back.

Forgetting to respond to e-mails and ignoring escalation attempts

Maybe you are one of those people who is just not great about e-mail.  You have other priorities, I get it.  Please realize though, that when you are trying to get something done, having the other person refuse to answer you after multiple attempts is the most annoying thing in the world.

Not paying attention to who you invite to things

Whether you are planning a personal or work-related event, guest lists are political.  Especially in this era of Facebook and Evite, when we can all see who’s invited and who attended, you should make clear delineations (i.e. all team members or no team members).  For example, don’t inadvertently invite 7 of your 8 co-workers to happy hour and then post the pics.

Nine times out of ten, if you do one of these things you will never find out about it because most aren’t confrontation-worthy behaviors, and the other person may feel too hurt, rejected, or put-off to address them with you anyway.  So all I’m asking is that you put a little thought into your interpersonal actions.

What other ways do people blow others off without realizing it?

(Photo credit: Portrait of beautiful young woman covering her ears with hands via Shutterstock)

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