Have you ever met the human equivalent of a headache? You know the type. S/he’s not exactly evil or mean, but you inexplicably feel drained after interacting with them. Sure, they can be good-looking, rich, and talented, but you’d probably avoid them, given the chance.
Oftentimes, these people are hard to communicate with. It’s not even because they might be intimidating or unapproachable, but mostly since you’d be lucky to get a word in edgewise.
How do you tell if you’re in the presence of one? Read on and recognize each of them:
- The Freeloader.
- The Gossip.
- The Humble Braggart.
- The #NoFilter.
- The One-Upper.
- The Rambler.
In a world where knowledge is power (and money), this person is always on the lookout for free professional advice. They’re often quick to inundate you with questions once you reveal your profession or specialization. Conversely, they themselves aren’t too keen on sharing their own handy tips.
For instance, if you’re a nutritionist, they could ask you to draft a meal plan on the spot. While the gesture can be flattering, it can be off-putting if that’s all the person ever wants to talk about. People do pay you for your expertise, after all.
How NOT To Be This Person: Ask people about how they feel towards their profession instead of immediately asking for advice. “What do you like best about being a dentist?” or “What made you follow that career path?” are both great examples.
If you must ask for advice, set up an appointment with them first rather than simply diving in.
Wherever there is drama, you’ll find this person at the center. They like to involve themselves in people’s personal lives, and they thrive on hearing and spreading juicy rumors.
If you inadvertently reveal something to this person in confidence, the whole office will probably know about it the next day.
How NOT To Be This Person: First of all, refrain from asking deeply personal questions. A person’s weight, marital status, age, and salary grade are all off-limits, for starters.
Secondly, think twice before divulging something about other people. Not everything is your secret to tell.
“Humblebrag” sounds like an oxymoron, but it does exist. It’s when someone masks their bragging in the form of a complaint.
“Influencers” LOVE to do this. They might complain about how it’s so much work to maintain their private jet, or rant about hours spent at the gym (while flexing their six-pack in a mirror selfie). Humble braggarts think no one is onto them, but everyone just finds them obnoxious.
How NOT To Be This Person: Manifest gratitude instead, and focus on intangibles rather than material objects. Sure, having a shiny new car is great, but the persevering work ethic that led you to it is even better.
This doesn’t refer to a flawless look. These people say whatever is on their mind, and often come off as hurtful or rude, even if that wasn’t their intention.
Let’s say you recently gained a few pounds over the holidays. You then run into a co-worker at lunch, who blurts out, “Whoa! Should you be eating that?” Talk about a classic #NoFilter comment.
How NOT To Be This Person: Honesty is a virtue, but do employ a bit of courtesy when expressing yourself.
Recently completed your first 5K marathon? Congratulations, except this person’s completed their first 10K. And did they mention that they also just launched their start-up?
As you may have deduced, One-Uppers like to feel superior. Their mantra appears to be, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”
How NOT To Be This Person: You could be bursting with your own good news, and that’s great, but do show interest in that of your companion’s first. If they tell you about hitting a certain milestone, congratulate them and engage them in conversation over it.
You can always talk about your own achievements later on.
Have you ever been to a networking event? If so, you’ve probably encountered people who talk AT you instead of with you. These are the sort who keep going on and on about how great their company is despite how disinterested you appear to be.
And you can forget about sharing your own stories because ramblers will interrupt you and continue to monopolize the conversation.
How NOT To Be This Person: Be very mindful about your companion’s body language. If their eyes are darting around the room or if they’re putting distance between you, they’re probably not looking to talk. Best to give them a graceful exit in this case.
Furthermore, conversations are two-way streets. Once you’ve said your piece, let the other person have the floor.
Unless you’re a hermit, you’ll inevitably run into any of the aforementioned. While you can’t totally avoid them, you can avoid being one, at least.