Maybe it was for a job interview and you spent hours memorising the history of the company in the hope it would dazzle your potential employer. Maybe you prepared for a hot date by pushing your unfathomably large breasts into a top designed for a midget. Perhaps you even tried to cover up your past mistakes by spending way too much money for someone’s birthday.
There are a million and one ways to gain favour with our peers but do you ever get the feeling that you’re always overcompensating for something? Papering over the cracks with an elaborate ruse designed to trick someone into falling at your feet and declaring you the God of all things super.
I’ll admit. That would be pretty interesting.
However, this is totally backwards. If you’re trying to impress someone then somewhere down the line you’ve got things a little mixed up.
Unfortunately, you didn’t enter this world with an instruction manual on how to win popularity contests. If this was the case, then Dale Carnegie wouldn’t have anything to write about. Instead you’re left to figure this out as you go along and it’s no wonder that you’re failing miserably.
Although my words may splatter across your vision with a hint of condescension, please don’t take it personally – this is as much as a reminder to me as it is an article to help you discover how or why you may be alienating certain people.
You know, reasons like;
1. You take everything without giving back
People are inherently selfish. It’s in our genetic make up to look after number one because without this internal drive for survival, we wouldn’t have been able to defeat several other million sperm in the aftermath of your parent’s drunken night out.
The problem is that many people take this selfishness thing a little too far. I certainly have on occasion and there is no doubt that I have annoyed a few people in the process. I didn’t mean to, of course. It’s just how my cookie crumbles.
I’ve done my best to change my ways but can you say the same thing?
Do you find yourself reaching out and grabbing any shiny object that passes by like a magpie on crack? Do you scoop up the praise and adulation of your peers without offering any positive feedback in return?
Are you just a selfish little shit?
Well, retract your grubby little hands and behave yourself.
If you keep taking, eventually the source will run dry. Your friends, family and partner will have nothing left to give except an unhealthy dose of resentment and vitriol.
How do I start giving back?
Easy – stop taking and start giving.
Do nice things for people without expecting anything in return. Embrace your altruistic side (it’s there somewhere) and help out where it’s needed.
If this is already giving you the sweats, learn to start small. Buy a round at the pub or take someone out for lunch. Sponsor your friends charity run or just tell someone how much they mean to you.
You could even give your partner a massage with your pants on…
Be reliable and live with integrity. Step up when it’s required and people will learn to trust you and when they do – they will give you more than you could ever hope to take.
2. You have to be right. Every. Single. Time.
As a youngster I used to be a bit of a smart-ass. You’ve all met one. You’ll recognise them as the kids you want to punch in the face.
It wasn’t my fault. I could read books by the age of 2 and this, coupled with a natural ability to retain unless information mean that by the time I went to school I was a walking, talking, annoying little shit. I knew everything.
Unfortunately, nobody told me that acting like the smartest kid in school would result in anything other than a whole world of pain.
I slowly learned my lesson. I say slowly, I still occasionally find myself correcting people when they say something ridiculous, such as the friend who genuinely believed that you can turn fat into muscle, but it’s not worth the hassle. It doesn’t solve anything. We all learn false information and the last thing we want is to be called out on it, especially in the company of others.
Don’t be that person.
How do I bite my tongue?
You need to realise that your minor discomfort at allowing a factual error to pass is preferable to the friction you will undoubtedly create by bringing it up. Incorrect trivia is merely trivial. It doesn’t matter.
Funnily enough, people don’t enjoy being called stupid. It does little for their self-esteem and they will associate this negativity with you, possibly leading to further resentment in the future.
Nod your head, smile and let it be.
3. The whole world seemingly owes you a favour
“Why does this always happen to me? I deserve to have some good luck for a change.”
Ah yes, the great injustice of our time. Why does life conspire to pull the rug from under your feet at every available opportunity? It’s unfair. Why am I waving my arms like a madman? Because I’m conducting this huge orchestra and all the violins are playing a symphony of woe on your behalf.
Never mind, maybe your luck will change one day.
It has to right? I mean, you’re doing your best to get ahead in life by following the law of attraction and wishing really hard, but still, nothing. People aren’t beating down your door with insatiable offers and wonderful opportunities.
Wait, it can’t be… you, can it?
Of course, now we’re on to something. It all makes sense.
How can I change my luck?
You can start by shutting up. Your constant moaning and tales of woe are driving people and opportunities away. You’re just practising the law of repulsion. Yes, it’s totally a thing.
Change comes from within. If you want to better your life then you have to give up the idea that the whole world is out to get you. For the most part, there is no such thing as bad luck. You have to be prepared to meet luck half way by doing everything in your power to move towards the future you genuinely believe in.
Ask yourself if you’re actually getting better or you’re happy being average… the answer may surprise you.
4. You’re a passive aggressive manipulator
“Let’s do all the things that you want to do.”
Have you ever uttered those words as a means to subtly indicate that you absolutely do not want to do something? Of course, you could directly inform this person that you disagree with their decision but that would be too simple.
You just want to make them feel like shit for daring to have an idea.
How about this little gem;
“Hey, I’m only joking.”
No you’re not. Any sentence, phrase, word or action that precedes this response indicates that you made an attempt to exert dominance over someone with the use of humour, usually at their expense.
One more beauty from the archives;
“Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine…”
Yes, you’re so ‘fine’ that you initiate the silent treatment as a way of making the other person feel guilty about something they may or may not have done. How very grown-up of you.
What shall I do instead?
How about actually saying what’s on your mind. The easiest way to solve a problem or to resolve a potential conflict of any kind is to communicate.
Everyone is different. We each have our own personalities and this will inevitably lead to a little friction from time to time. Passive aggressive behaviour usually stems from resentment or a lack of respect between two people. Nip this in the bud early by ensuring that you deal with any issues as soon as they arise.
Two adults can resolve a conflict. An adult behaving like a child will only make things worse.
5. If they’ve been stabbed, you’ve been shot
Do you ever feel like there’s an itch you just have to scratch?
It pops out of nowhere, grabbing your attention with it irritating cries. The harder you try to push this sensation out of your mind, the more intense it becomes. This isn’t going to go away. Like an addict who needs one more fix to relieve themselves of their inner turmoil, you finally decide to act upon your instincts.
“Oh, you just ran 5k in 33 minutes? That’s really good. I achieved it in 29 minutes the other day actually, but your time is still good for a beginner.”
That felt good. It’s like a valve has been released and the tension leaves your body to be replaced with a satisfying feeling of smugness and power. Your positivity suddenly crashes as you catch a brief, yet unmistakable glimpse of your friend’s facial expression following your little boast.
That’s right. He thinks you’re an arse – a patronising, boastful little arse that enjoys belittling other people’s achievements with pathetic attempts at one-upmanship.
Are you one of these people? Have you recently (maybe accidentally) pissed on someone else’s fire by recounting a tale from your own life? I know you’ve done it. We all have. Nothing screams insecurity like the idiot who has to be better than everyone else.
So how do I stop doing this?
It’s common to engage in conversation with another person but without actually listening to what they have to say. I mean, really listening, not waiting impatiently for your turn to speak. Take in interest in what they have to say. Ask questions about their story. This isn’t about you. You may think their achievement is nothing to write home about, but to them, it could be life changing.
How would you like it if someone acted this way with you? Yes, you may have been shot, but there will always be someone who was blown up by a bazooka.
Think about that.
Question – When was the last time you upset someone? How did you make it up to them?
Also, if you enjoyed this article and wish to let someone know they need to start being nicer, please share via Facebook, Twitter or Google+ – they may read this and change their ways!