7 Lightweight Contact Management Tips

7 Lightweight Contact Management Tips

I’m using Gmail’s built-in contact application to run my contact management. (By the way, did you see that you can use Gmail and Calendar and Chat on your own site now, configured for your own domain?) Though there are some things I can’t use Google to do easily (mail merge types of things), there are lots of ways that I use the Contact portion of the application that might not have come to mind for you right away.

  1. Add Birthdays– I put birthdays into the contact section as well as in Google Calendar
  2. Their Needs– You often get emails from someone saying, “Know anyone who’s good at Typepad?” (btw, do you?). I put those against the person’s contact name, so that I can remember who needed what, and to ask if the person’s solved that need, if some time has passed.
  3. Kids’ Names– I’m really good with names, but that rarely extends to everyone’s kids, their ages, etc. So I plug that into the Contacts page, so I can remember to ask the person. Ditto family, spouse, pet scorpion, etc.
  4. Add their personal blog– Before I make a connection with with someone I haven’t contacted in a while, I check in on their blog first. It’s like peering in the curtains before going in. I find this very useful. The one time I didn’t follow this tip, it was devastating! No details, but I came off seeming REALLY insensitive.
  5. Roles– You always hear about a job opening, and then never remember who matches that role. Keep their roles updated so you can plumb it when needed.
  6. Favorites– My favorite food is leftovers. I like sci fi and action movies. I don’t go to many live concerts. Note these things for your contacts, if you know them.
  7. Read below the line– When you click on a contact in Gmail, it gives you the list of emails between you and that person (provided you’ve kept them, which I’ve started doing). This gives you a sense of the thread of your conversations. Take a browse of these from time to time and consider the theme of what you’re reading. Is this person helpful? Should you talk more with them? Do they often have great advice? Or worse, are they sucking your life away, one email at a time? Use this tactic to consider things often.

I’ve got some more thoughts around email, but let’s leave this as a list about contact management. What are some of yours? How can you grow this list of tips?


–Chris Brogan is thinking a lot about things at Grasshopper Factory. His personal blog is []



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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.


In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.


But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?


5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.


You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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