Advertising
Advertising

Success Formula No. 1: Distance Yourself From Toxic People

Success Formula No. 1: Distance Yourself From Toxic People

Some people exist only to bring others down. The worst part about this type of person is they do so under the guise of being a caring friend, when in reality they simply don’t want others to succeed and leave them behind. The trick is in realizing the difference between someone who is genuinely looking out for you, and someone who is trying to hold you back from true success. The following toxic people don’t belong in your life, and you should do whatever you can to rid yourself of them:

1. The Statistician

The Statistician will be the one constantly reminding you of your odds of success. If you’re trying to start your own business, they’ll be the one reminding you that most businesses fail within their first year. If you’re applying for a job, they’ll tell you that hundreds of other people are applying for the same position. Of course, they do so under the guise of being a friend that “doesn’t want to see us let down.” But when they tell us how small our chance of success is, what shows is that they don’t believe you’ll be the one out of ten businesses that succeed, or the one chosen out of the hundreds for the position. Throw some statistics back at them in the form of cost/benefit analysis. Show these toxic “friends” you’ve done your homework and deserve the success you’ll receive.

Advertising

2. The Ridiculer

The Ridiculer just thinks your ideas are, well, ridiculous. They’re most likely a toxic, inside-the-box thinker who won’t entertain any innovative, mind-boggling idea that comes from anyone else simply because they can’t imagine it working. This is probably due to the fact that they aren’t intelligent enough to truly understand the concept, but will play it off as if it’s the idea itself that is stupid. They’re the ones being sarcastically optimistic about your ideas, saying things like “Good luck with that,” which we all know means “That’s never gonna work.” Shut them up by sincerely thanking them for their “well wishes,” and put your plan into motion.

3. The Fault Finder

The Fault Finder is similar to the Ridiculer, in that they’ll constantly point out the flaws in your plan. Like the Statistician, the Fault Finder doesn’t give you credit enough to think that you’ve thought of these hang-ups in your plan, and doesn’t believe you have any contingent ideas for if a problem arises. They’re the ones asking toxic questions like “Well what if this happens?” whenever you discuss your ideas, and then shrug you off even if you have a perfectly valid explanation for what you’d do if “this happens.” Counter their barrage of questions with equally ridiculous questions, like “What if a meteor hits the Earth and we all get launched into outer space?” or “What if aliens actually do visit, and they don’t come in peace?”

Advertising

4. The Pessimist

The Pessimist could also be called the Nihilist. Not only do they not see any chance of success in whatever you’re setting out to do, but they also don’t see any purpose in trying. While you’re keeping your eye on success, you also don’t see failure as the be all and end all of your existence. The Pessimist, on the other hand, seems to think that failure is synonymous with ultimate demise. Instead of asking “What if” questions like the Fault Finder, the Pessimist will state negative effects as if they’ve already happened. “If you start your own business, you’ll have to work 12-14 hour days.” Yeah, and? “If you don’t succeed, you’ll end up right back where you started, but in more debt.” Yeah, and? Just keep following up their negativity with “Yeah, and?” and see how long it takes for them to get the hint.

5. The Passive-Aggresor

The Passive-Aggressor clearly doesn’t agree with what you’re setting out to do, but won’t come out and say it. They’ll most likely skirt the issue by saying something like “If you think it’s a good idea…” That kind of statement obviously isn’t any sort of attempt to lend support when you’re trying something new. Of course, if you happen to fall short of your goal, the Passive-Aggressor will be the first person to chime in with “I told you so.” Again, not helping. Regardless, you should turn the other cheek toward them. Ask them nicely (in a non-sarcastic tone, even though you’re not exactly happy with them) how they would have done it differently. They probably won’t have an answer for you, and will shut up quickly.

Advertising

6. The Staller

The Staller doesn’t want to see you succeed simply because they don’t want to be left in the dust. Whenever you start talking about your big plans, they’ll change the subject to something menial, toss you a beer, and try to make you forget you had any kind of ambition to leave your stagnant life behind. The Staller is the college friend that’s fun to hang around with once in a while, but can be absolutely deadly if you want to get anywhere in life. Meet them out for happy hour every few months, but call it a night after one or two drinks. Otherwise you’ll be out until 2AM against your wishes, and wake up the next day too tired to get your dreams moving.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

Advertising

More by this author

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience 20 Little Signs You’ve Found The One 8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Ever Stop Loving You 8 Things To Remember When Dating Someone With A Guarded Heart 14 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Trending in Communication

1 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 2 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 3 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 4 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

Advertising

The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

Advertising

If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

Advertising

In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

Advertising

It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

More Articles About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next