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10 Telltale Signs Your Friend is Stabbing You in the Back.

10 Telltale Signs Your Friend is Stabbing You in the Back.

How do those eggshells feel under your feet? You know, the ones you’ve been walking on to keep your new friend happy? She’s not so bad really. I know she has no other friends but she’s just misunderstood.

It makes you wonder how someone could be so misused and misunderstood by EVERYONE she comes into contact with. And yet, there is something about her that makes you uneasy.

Your gut instincts about these types of people are usually correct and They will drain you of your last drop of energy before they move on to another person.

There is a certain personality type who will stab you in the back the first chance they get. Here are some telltale signs that you have one of them on your hands.

1. They give you a compliment and you feel like you have been slapped.

You have heard these right? “Nice sweater! I didn’t know they sold such nice stuff at the Goodwill” or “Nice dress, if your legs were longer, It might look good.” There is a million and one ways one can take a compliment and serve it backhand to you. If you get upset or defend yourself, you are being mean, petty or too sensitive.

2. They are only happy with you if you let them win at everything

This type of person is so insecure that they cannot be made wrong in any way without completely blowing up. They will defend a ridiculous position in an argument to the death just to avoid being wrong.

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Any slight disagreement you have with them turns into a giant upset where they insist that you are cold heartedly trying to destroy them.

The truth is that every word spoken or every idea put forth by them is designed to get you under their control so that you can be used by them. Any means of doing this will be used including destroying your life, your relationships, your confidence and ultimately, your sanity. They can be very convincing.

3. They flirt with your husband or boyfriend.

This type of person has no ethics or morals at all. If she thought she could steal your boyfriend just for fun, she would very likely try to do so. Looking at the pasts of these types of people, you see strings of destroyed relationships and infidelities.

They feel no remorse for their destruction, in fact, they will tell you without blinking that all of these people “deserved it.”

4. Their every day talk is peppered with put downs.

This person has something nasty to say about almost everyone. If you think you are the only one escaping her scathing critiques, think again. She is saying the same things to others about you when you are not there. Lies are told to elicit sympathy or assistance and turn others away from anyone who sees the truth about them and who they perceive as a threat.

If you stand up for yourself or anyone they are destroying, you become that  threat and they bring out all the tools they can think of for your covert destruction. With alarming lies, they turn your best friends against you and can even get you fired, blacklisted or killed unless they are exposed.

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Another point about this personality type is that although they talk down anyone good, they may also defend destructive people and groups.

5. They are jealous of your other friends.

A person with this personality tries to control all of your communication for their own perceived benefit. If they feel that you are getting too attached to someone else, they see it as a threat and work directly or covertly to destroy your relationships.

Harmful lies are invented and spread without any thought of the havoc they wreak.

6. They make you feel ugly, stupid and unlovable.

Every utterance from a person like this is designed to make you feel inferior so that you can be used. If you’ve ever heard of the term, “energy vampires,” then this is what they are.  The energy vampires are convinced that they cannot create energy and must leech energy off of others for their own survival. They use whatever means of accomplishing this and it is never constructive.

One who has occasional lapses is not necessarily an energy vampire. The true energy vampires are like this all the time. They have an underlying hectic need to get the people around them under control. They are truly desperate. This person looks at you, not as a friend or someone to care for but as their own personal robot to use. Once you have fulfilled your purpose, they drop you and find a new host.

The Modus operandi is the same, put you down covertly until you have lost your confidence then use the fruits of your labor to get whatever they can for themselves while they can.

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7. They seem coldly calculating.

They may profess to love you more than anything else in the world but there is no smile behind their eyes. There is no warmth in their embrace. You feel on guard when you are with them. All of your gut feelings in these instances are more than likely correct.

8. They are extremely vengeful of perceived slights.

Remember those eggshells we talked about? Here is where you notice them the  most. I call this personality type the “suddenly angry” person. You are going along in life doing what you normally do and they are “suddenly angry” and you have no idea what happened.

They then turn this perceived slight into the biggest crime against humanity ever committed and after being harangued over and over about it, you start to believe it yourself. And you start to believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with you that you could be so blind and accidentally commit such a huge transgression.

In reality you have done nothing wrong, this person has just, for some reason, decided that they must get you back under their control and the blow up is the means to do this.

Any “sin” you have ever committed in their eyes, gets entered into a mental list of your crimes and are trotted out every time they think they need to put you back under their control.

Everything bad you have ever done to them (in their eyes) is so bad it cannot possibly be corrected whereas anything bad they have done to you is nothing. You are being too sensitive or you making a big deal over nothing. They will tell you how It just goes to prove how weak and stupid you are and how superior they are, never in plain language of course but you will come away with that unmistakable idea.

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9. They take pleasure in other people’s pain.

Anyone who laughs at or Is happy when others are in pain physical pain or mental discomfort, is nutty. It is not a normal human attribute to want others to feel pain or to be upset. Quite the contrary, mentally healthy people seek to help people and eliminate their sources of pain.

There are some people who do laugh when something painful happens but this is a reaction to shock or discomfort. You can tell when someone is really taking pleasure in someone else’s pain. This is a huge red flag.

10. Your life has suddenly has gone out of control.

The entrance into your life of one of these personality types can cause untold destruction to you and everyone around you. What looks like a streak of “bad luck” nine times out of ten is the poisoning of your environment by one of these energy vampires. Normal people of good will can create energy. They use their energy and turn it into what they need in order to survive better and to help others survive better.

When your energy, attention and actions are diverted into trying consciously or unconsciously to protect or defend yourself, or to clean up the messes these personalities leave in their wake, the rest of your life suffers dramatically.  If your life was going well at one point and suddenly everything started going wrong, look it over and see who entered your life just as that devastation started to hit. If you do this and comb these lice out of your hair, your life will smooth out again.

One of the things you might be telling yourself is that this person is really a good person and has had a bad time. While the person underneath is good, the identity they have assumed is deadly. trust them at your peril. Even the most outrageous criminal has some good in them but that doesn’t mean you should let them near you or your family.

Cut the energy vampires out of your life until they decide to be an actual member of the human race and go find some better friends.

Write me and let me know how it goes.

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Chris Ellis

Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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