Social situations give us opportunities to sometimes showcase behaviors we’re not particularly proud of and, at times, not even aware of.
It can be tough to determine behaviors that are actually detrimental to us socially when it seems like we’re in a crowd or enveloped by a conversation. There are certain traits and behaviors, however, that when exhibited, almost always push people away.
Here are four of the most compelling of these behaviors…as well as some advice on how to combat them.
The old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!” applies pretty universally. Complaining almost always brings everyone down without adding anything helpful to the conversation. Even an upbeat and positive conversation can be brought smashing down by someone who is complaining.
You can stop complaining, though. Reframing your point of view, making a gratitude list, and accepting responsibility appropriately are all helpful ways to curb your complaining tendencies. You can find further how-tos and a more involved explanation here.
We all know someone who always thinks they’re right, no matter what (hopefully, it isn’t you). Self-righteousness packs a one-two punch in the realm of problem behaviors because not only are you insistent upon being right, doing so means you are out to prove someone else wrong and being overly committed to the notion that you’re right typically means you’re pretty closed to other perspectives, too. This is a real social buzzkill, but you don’t have to be that guy. Recognizing these behaviors within ourselves is fairly easy, but overcoming it can be hard. One of the key factors in overcoming self-righteousness is the recognition of self-possession: you are only responsible for your own feelings and opinions, and they do not apply to others. Coming to terms with this and accepting it can help you move away from the notion of always having to be right, and opening your mind to the ideas and opinions of others.
The greater reward of learning to overcome self-righteousness is that in time, your opinion will be valued by others as well, and instead of avoiding you for being overbearing, people may seek you out for your ideas instead.
Casting yourself in the spotlight is a great way to make friends and let your true nature show through…unless you’re doing it over and over and over again. Conceit pushes others out of the way so that you can constantly be the center of attention: it’s ego-driven, narcissistic and terribly unattractive. It always pushes people away.
Try to make sure you’re sharing the stage equitably. If you notice someone on the sidelines of a social situation, give them an opening into the conversation. Keep your anecdotes light, amusing and relatable, so that others will want to share theirs. Worried about the size of your ego? Check out these helpful ways to deflate it. Your friends will thank you.
Selfishness is tricky, because while you have to take care of yourself and ensure your needs are met before attending to others, you want to also be considerate of others and generous towards them. Selfishness becomes problematic when you take advantage of someone else’s generosity, kindness of spirit or intuitive appreciation. Pretty much anytime you are taking advantage of a person, you’re acting in a selfish manner that is unhelpful.
As tough as it can be to determine when this is happening, though, it is one of the easiest behaviors to fix. Stop being selfish simply by doing the opposite of what you’re currently doing and look for ways to reach out and help others instead of demanding they help you. This can come in myriad forms but the amazing thing about acting in a selfless instead of selfish manner is that you are always rewarded for acting selflessly: you will always reap a reward for helping others instead of helping yourself.