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6 Ways You Are Pushing People Away, Even Though You Don’t Feel Like You Are

6 Ways You Are Pushing People Away, Even Though You Don’t Feel Like You Are

Sometimes, we push people away without even realizing it. Other times, we do it consciously, but then regret it later on. While the ways in which you push people away may differ from person to person, there are some less-than-ideal behaviors that are sure to lead to some distances. Here are some of the ways in which many of us push people away:

1. Having low self-esteem.

Constantly feeling bad about yourself eventually leads to others viewing you in the same light. As mentioned above, if you feel that seeing a professional would be beneficial, you should absolutely look into that. If you don’t feel that you need to do this, consider thinking long and hard about your problems and try to make a change. Your friends love you for many reasons, so don’t give them a reason to forget about those things and focus on the negatives. Even though having low self-esteem can feel like a very personal matter that shouldn’t affect your relationship with others, it absolutely does.

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2. Not talking.

If you’re hanging out with a group of friends and you’re sitting in a corner not speaking to anyone, you give off a vibe that people should leave you alone. While it can be hard to realize, this definitely pushes people away. Don’t rely on others’ pity or charity. Get up and talk to people! It’s much more rewarding, and will certainly do the opposite of pushing people away. If anything, it will bring you closer together with your friends!

3. Not listening.

If your friend comes to you with a problem, try to listen and help him or her out. It pushes people away when they think they can’t come to you for advice or support, so try to listen and be engaged when speaking to others. This is a simple thing to fix, and doing so will make your relationships much stronger and more rewarding for everyone involved. After all, if you listen, others will listen to you. You’re being a good friend, and down the line when you need advice, your friends will be there to support you.

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4. Making everything about you.

Life isn’t fair, and things don’t always go your way. But when you act like every little thing is about you, it makes people want to spend less time with you. Try to look at things from others’ perspectives and to remove yourself from the situation. Chances are, people aren’t actually talking about you negatively as much as you think they are.

5. Complaining too much.

Every now and then, a good venting session can be great. However, if you’re constantly whining about something, it can really push people away. After all, they have their own problems to deal with. If you feel like you really need someone there for you, consider consulting a professional to get the help that you need. Otherwise, don’t burden your friends with too many of your problems. It’s tempting to complain, and it can feel good to do so, but in the long run it will only make you miserable and your friends even more miserable. The only thing worse than having things to constantly complain about is listening to these constant complaints.

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6. Acting accusatory.

If you’re accusing someone of doing something, and you do that often, it’s going to alienate that person. No one wants to feel as if they’re being accused of anything, so try not to do so. If you feel that you need to confront someone about something, try rephrasing your words. For example, instead of saying, “You never clean the kitchen,” say, “I feel like I’m usually the one cleaning the kitchen. Could you help me next time?” The second version says the same thing, but is much less accusatory.

Featured photo credit: Andree Ludtke via flickr.com

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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 14, 2020

The Art of Humble Confidence

The Art of Humble Confidence

To be confident or not to be confident, that is the question. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been a bit confused about all this discussion about the subject of confidence. Do you really need to be more confident or should you try to be more humble? I think the answer is both – you just have to know where to use it.

East VS West – Confidence, It’s a Cultural Thing

In typical Western countries, the answer to the confidence debate is obvious – more is better. Our heros are rebellious, independent and shoot first, ask questions later. I think this snippet of dialog from The Matrix sums it up best:

Agent Smith – “We’re willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we’re asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.”
Neo – “Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger”
[He does]
Neo -“ …and you give me my phone call.”

In Eastern countries, the tone is often considerably different. Elders are supposed to be revered not dismissed. The words ‘guru,’ meaning a teacher, and the philosophy of dharma, loosely translated to mean ‘duty,’ come from here. In Eastern cultures humility and respect are more important than confidence.

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These perspectives are generalizations, but it shows how the confidence debate goes back deep into our culture. I think that both extremes of pure confidence or pure humility are misguided. Instead of rectifying this situation by simply blending the two: becoming somewhat humble, somewhat confident all the time, I believe the answer is to know when to be confident and when to be humble.

Humble Confidence – Know When to Use It

I’m going to make another broad generalization. I believe that virtually every relationship you are going to have is going to fit into one of two major archetypes, either master or student. In peer relationships this master/student role may switch frequently, but it is extremely rare that the relationship never leans to one side.

In the master role, you are displaying confidence to get what you want. This is public speaker, leader or seducer. Being the master has advantages. You have more control and ability to influence from this role.

The student role is the opposite. You are intentionally displaying humility. This is the student, disciple or follower. Being the student has advantages too. You can learn a lot more in this role and are more likely to win the trust of the other person.

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Know When to Shut Up and Learn

If you are a typical Westerner, you are probably already thinking about which role you prefer. Being the leader is great. You get respect and a higher status. Most of all you get a greater degree of control.

But the problem is that you can’t and shouldn’t always try to be the leader. Trying to assume that role without the skills, resources or status to back it up will lead to conflict. More importantly, there are many times when you purposely want to display humility. Some of the benefits to the student role include:

  • You learn more.
  • Smooths relationships.
  • Makes others more willing to lend a helping hand.

Knowing when taking the humble route is to your advantage. It is far easier to get mentors and advisors if you use humility rather than arrogance. A small sacrifice to your ego can open up the potential to learn a lot.

Confidence to Persuade, Humility to Learn

In reality almost no relationship is as clearly defined as master/student. Within our connections, people have overlapping areas of expertise. I might be an expert in blogging to a non-blogger, but they might be an expert in finance. In each area there are different roles to take.

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Before any interaction ask yourself what the purpose is. Are you trying to learn or persuade?

Persuasion requires confidence. If you are trying to sell, instruct or lead you need to display the confidence to match your message. But learning requires humility. You won’t learn anything if you are constantly arguing with your professors, mentors or employers. Taking a dose of humility and temporarily making yourself a student gives you the opportunity to absorb.

Persuade Less, Learn More

Persuasion is great for immediate effect, but learning matters over the long-haul. Instead of washing over all your communication with pure confidence, look for opportunities to learn. Persuading someone to follow you may give you an immediate boost of satisfaction, but it doesn’t last. Learning, however, is an investment for the future.

Whenever I make a connection with someone and realize they have a skill or understanding I want, I am careful to express humility in that area. That means listening with what they say even if I don’t immediately agree and being patient with their response. This method often drastically cuts down the time I need to spend on trial and error to learn by myself.

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Confidence/Humility Doesn’t Replace Communication Skills

This approach of selectively using confidence and humility for different purposes doesn’t replace communication skills. Humility isn’t going to work if the other person thinks you’re an irritating whiner. Confidence won’t work if the entire room thinks you are an arrogant jerk. Knowing how to display these two qualities takes practice.

The next time you are about to enter into an interaction ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you trying to persuade or learn? Depending on which you can take a completely different tact for far better results.

Featured photo credit: BBH Singapore via unsplash.com

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