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Selfish Friends: 6 Ways to Spot Them Before You Get Hurt

Selfish Friends: 6 Ways to Spot Them Before You Get Hurt

If you like self-torture, then find and keep selfish friends around you. In fact, if you love wasting a ton of time, if you’re looking for the biggest source of social demotivation and remorse, then stick with selfish friends. Having them is like pouring love and emotional investment in a black hole and expecting it to love you back.

If you want to live a great social life, then stay away from these folks. The hardest thing about them is that they know how to hide themselves in nice and interesting personalities. This article is about to show you how to spot them before you invest yourself in friendships that will hurt and disappoint you. Here are the six signs you’re dealing with a take-all selfish friend…

Sign #1 – They Think They Deserve Special Treatment

The selfish friend, the one you don’t wanna get involved with, thinks he or she is special. They think that they deserve to be treated in a special way, and will ask for favors, big and small, even if you’re just starting to get to know them.

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Sign #2 – For Him, You’re A Detail

After you do him a favor, the selfish friend barely says thank you, and if he does, it doesn’t sound sincere. Try and ask him for a favor, though, and see him brush it off and never follow through with it. He or she can give you an evasive answer like “ok, I’ll call you later about this”, but it never happens. Sometimes, they just act like you never asked for anything.

Sign #3 – Shady Plans

The selfish person can cancel a meeting with you at the last minute, giving you fake excuses, and rarely saying “I’m sorry”, because he thinks he’s too special to apologies  When you suggest that you meet with him, he carefully thinks of all the other choices he has, and if he has nothing “better” to do, he’ll meet you. He usually calls when he’s bored and has no other plans.

The selfish person decides where he wants to go, then finds people to go with him. That’s fine, but, he’ll suggest it to many people, and it seems that it doesn’t matter to him who goes with him. In other words, he hangs out with you to avoid being alone, not because he likes you.

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Sign #4 – You Never Meet His Friends

The selfish person talks about his other friends but never introduces you to any of them and always comes alone. He gives you the impression of knowing lots of people, but when you listen to the stories he tells, you find out that it’s all superficial. He’s always hanging out with people he barely knows, and you rarely find him with close buddies, but you always hear him talk about the relationships he has with powerful people, it never ends.

If you want to laugh, ask him if he could introduce you to so and so: He’ll give you the stupidest excuses why that can’t happen “now”, but maybe a “little bit later.” It actually never happens, but it’s funny to see him try to evade your request.

Sign #5 – To Him, You’re Boring

He never takes the time to understand what’s special or interesting about you. To him, conversation is just a means of gaining more power. He sure looks like he’s listening, but in reality, he’s just waiting for you to shut up so he can take control of the conversation, again. For example, when you say stuff like “Oh! Hey, you know what I just read in USA Today,… etc,” he says stuff like “Yea, of course!”, or “I know that but, here’s what’s really interesting…” With sentences like that, he just downplays anything you say as banal, and common knowledge.

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This will even happen if you talk about a brand new science discovery. If you want to test them, tell them about a new scientific study, and give him the results in reverse. If he says “I know…”, then you’re dealing with a sucker.

Sign #6 – He Covers His “Black Hole” Personality

The selfish person knows that if he acts like himself right away, he would never make friends. Instead, he starts by acting like a very polite cordial person. At first, he’s interested in getting to know you, and listens carefully to you. Then, he gradually starts to withdraw, and only shows up when he needs something.

He usually brings lots of conversation to the table, and always has something to say. He does that to imply an open minded, interesting, and interested personality, but you can sense that he’s not really interested in any of those subjects; he just uses them as a cover for an empty take-everything-I-can personality. It’s like a black hole—you can’t expect to get love from a person who can only take.

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BONUS-TIP – The Most Dangerous Trick In His Bag

The most dangerous trick in the selfish person’s bag is the confusion he tries to create in your mind. He tries to get you to doubt your value as a friend. He wants you to think you’re not cool enough, and need to try harder. This is a pseudo-rejection that the selfish person gives you in small doses.

My advice to you is to never fall for this. As you start to detect the selfish signs, move on, and find a giving person; someone who is willing to invest some of their time to make new friends. Cut the suckers out—they do more harm than good.

Meet The Right Friends For You

If you want to learn how to meet great people, make conversation, and build friendships with them, I recommend you get on my Free Social Skills Newsletter.

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In it, I’ll show you the best techniques and strategies for meeting and making friends. I’ll also share with you new tips for having amazing conversations, that instantly make people want to get to know you.

See you there.
– Paul Sanders

More by this author

Paul Sanders

A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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