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Avoid These 5 Things to Make Sure You Aren`t Blowing People Off

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Avoid These 5 Things to Make Sure You Aren`t Blowing People Off

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.”

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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.

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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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    Last Updated on November 18, 2021

    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

    We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

    A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

    So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

    • honest
    • reliable
    • competent
    • kind and compassionate
    • capable of taking the blame
    • able to persevere
    • modest and humble
    • pacific and can control anger.

    The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

    1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

    All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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    But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

    2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

    How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

    I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

    “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

    Abigail Van Buren

    3. How does this person take the blame?

    Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

    4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

    You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

    5. Read their emails.

    Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

    • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
    • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
    • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
    • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
    • Too many question marks can show anger
    • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

    6. Watch out for the show offs.

    Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

    7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

    A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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    Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

    8. Their empathy score is high.

    Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

    People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

    9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

    We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

    “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

    Stendhal

     10. Avoid toxic people.

    These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

    • Envy or jealousy
    • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
    • Complaining about their own lack of success
    • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
    • Obsession with themselves and their problems

    Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

    Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

    Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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