post written by: Angel Chernoff

9 Negative Social Habits to Quit Today

9 Negative Social Habits to Quit Today

There’s something to be said for slow and steady progress.  But there’s also something to be said for strong, decisive, sweeping action.  When it comes to bad, self-defeating habits, there’s no time like today to quit cold turkey.  For some reason I’ve been more aware lately of the annoying social habits of other people.  Worse than that, I’ve then been noticing many of the same behaviors in myself.  Cutting out these negative habits makes it simpler to foster good relationships by getting to the heart of productive communication.  So why not start today?

1.  Seeking attention by complaining.

I spoke to someone yesterday who all but refused to talk about the positive aspects of their life.  After listening to their troubles, I asked about some of the cool projects they have going on.  Within two sentences, they were back to complaining about trivial things.  We all need to share our troubles with friends or strangers from time to time, but don’t fall into the habit of turning conversations into your own personal dumping ground 100 percent of the time.  It’s an easy way to get attention, but it’s a poor way to keep it; and it’s a poor way to view your life.

2.  Focusing on your inner monologue instead of the dialogue in front of you.

“Holy crap!  That’s a great idea.  Wow.  What can I say that will sound smart and clever?  I really hope they think I’m intelligent.  I could touch on symbolism or make a reference to post-modernism.  Wait – what did they just ask me?”  Stay focused on the other person’s words and points.  People rarely mind when you say, “Hmm. Let me think about that for a second.”  Quite the opposite, since it shows that you’re taking the conversation seriously.  If you compose your answers while someone else is speaking, you’re really only having half a conversation.  Read Just Listen.

3.  Multi-tasking while you chat.

Even if you are a professional multi-tasker, if you’re talking to someone, talk to them, and that’s it.  Don’t browse online, don’t watch TV, don’t update your to-do list, and please, don’t eat while you’re on the phone.  Whether they say so or not, it really annoys the person you’re talking to.  If you really don’t have the time to talk, be honest and find another time, or cut it short.

4.  Not paying attention to the people you care about most.

Pretending to listen while your mind wanders to your work day, etc.  Do you really think your loved ones can’t tell?  They can.  And even more importantly, they need you to listen sincerely and thoughtfully.  There is no greater gift of love and no greater expression of caring that you can offer the special people in your life, than your undivided time and attention.  You need to remember that ‘love’ is listening, and everyone wants to be heard.  Read The 5 Love Languages.

5.  Constantly fishing for compliments.

“Oh, I look terrible today.” – after someone compliments you.  “I just threw it together at the last minute.” – when you obviously dressed up.  “I’m really not good at things like this.” – when the people you’re with know you are.  Please.  Stop.  It’s not flattering.  Read Changing Behavior.

6.  De-emphasizing compliments with self-effacing remarks.

It’s okay to say “thank you” when you’re complimented.  By making a self-effacing comment, you nearly force the other person to repeat their compliment, which is not a gracious thing to do.  Acknowledging a compliment isn’t snobby – like you’re admitting that you think you’re just grand – it’s a simple courtesy.  Besides, you earned it.  Saying “thank you” not only makes the other person feel good, it’s a healthy reminder that you’re responsible for some really good things in your life.

7.  Cutting people off mid-sentence.

The only time this is okay is when you’re in an intense brainstorming session.  Or you’ve got an urgent situation to attend to.  Or you haven’t seen your best friend in months.  Okay, so this habit is kind of elastic, but you get the gist.  Most of the time, interrupting just means that you’re missing the best parts of the conversation.  Plus, you’re showing your chat partner that you value your own thoughts over theirs.

8.  An unsupportive attitude.

The greatest compliment you can give to someone is to believe in them and let them know you care.  When you see something true, good and beautiful in someone, don’t hesitate to express your appreciation.  When you see something that is not true, good and beautiful in someone, don’t neglect to give them your wholehearted blessings and best wishes.

9.  Trying to please everyone.

This one is about keeping your sanity.  No matter how loud their opinions are, others cannot choose who you are.  The question should not be, “Why don’t they like me when I’m being me?” it should be, “Why am I wasting all my time and energy worrying what they think of me?”  If you are not hurting anyone with your actions, keep moving forward with your life.  Be happy.  Be yourself.  If others don’t like it, let them be.  Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.  (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the Relationships chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

Afterthoughts and Questions

Obviously we all slip up sometimes, so don’t berate yourself when you do.  On occasion, I too have been guilty of every single one of these negative social habits.

So with that said, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Any bad habits you’d like to add to the list?  Any exceptions that matter?  Please continue the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Photo by: J.T. Noriega

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  • This post is very much on point. Thank you for that.

    My one addition is putting others down. If someone comes to you with a new idea, be supportive. Entertain their thoughts, even if they’re different than your own.

  • Holy geez. This list DESCRIBED me a few years ago! I violated each and every one of these. Looking back makes me cringe.

    #1, people will associate you as a complainer and someone who will drain the fun. Don’t complain.

    #2, how do you enjoy the present moment and others’ company when you’re in your head? You can’t.

    #3-4, same as #2.

    #5, people catch on this quick and it shows insecurity. You don’t need your ego to keep being fed.

    #6, just say thanks. You don’t want to make the other person feel dumb by downplaying their compliment.

    #7-9, all of these get old very quickly and people DO remember when you do these things.

  • I try to not to cut off people mid-sentence. When I do this, however, people (even one-one situation) sometimes keep changing topics and talking without a break that I do not have any chance whatsoever to express what I think or feel about the topic of conversation. So I get frustrated. How can I not cut them off but still join conversation?

  • Sometimes, we constantly talk about a problem not because we want to seek the other’s attention, but because we are comlpentely absorbed by it. For example, we might have a very bad relationship with our boss. Taking into consideration that you work all day long with them, it can be tough to deal with. Suggestions?

  • Good post.
    One more point clicking my mind is “being reactive”. We should stop being reactive. If someone taunt us or give us a bad remark, we shouldn’t start loosing our temper or start scolding. We should give it a thought that either the person is right or wrong? If he is wrong then don’t think much about it because you know you are right and that’s enough to know. And if he is right then you should do something about that. So the next time that person will meet you. You have nothing to worry about because you know that now there is nothing in you he can complain about :)

  • Thank you for another wonderful post! All of them resonate with me. Truly inspirational as always x

  • I told someone just yesterday how it used to drive me up the wall when my sister would be eating while talking to me on the phone!

    A couple I’ll add is playing your office music too loud (when I can hear it through the wall) and using speaker phone with your office door open.

  • Oh yeah! … One of these things is SO helpful to see - confirmation and a guide in a couple of relationships with others. At the same time … I definitely see MYSELF in at least one major point here … and it is serving as confirmation on a long hard conversation (over time) I have had with a loved one … and myself.

    You’ve done it again … your writing has a way of being clear and powerfully healing; ‘moves’ my spirit to take notice and be moved … to action … I am convinced to truly continue on with the effort to let go of the ’self defeating’ behaviors I see in myself here. Acknowledging and embracing this guidance can only bring good things! I am keeping this post in mind especially because I believe we often have ‘habits’ or ways of being that are truly based in insecurity, feeling misunderstood and all other manner of a script or belief system about ourselves and others that we carry inside. At least I think this is the truth for me.

    Thank you!

  • This probably comes under the multi tasking section.

    Be considerate of others.

    Put your cell phone away when you’re in a restaurant. Or if you absolutely have to take an important call…take it outside. The whole world doesn’t need to hear about your latest and greatest deal, or the latest news of friends and family.

    They might be trying to have a face to face conversation with theirs.

  • Oh no…. I do all of the first seven!!!

  • I would also add ‘casting yourself as victim’ … I have a family member (much elder to me) who is constantly complaining about the people who has ‘done her wrong or her children wrong’ over the years. Everything is always someone else’s fault. Some of the people she mentions I know and love as much as I love her. When I look at these past situations (with the eyes of a child that I was at the time) I see both sides of the situation and how they EACH could have learned or handled certain things differently, or certainly tried to understand each other … in other words I see they each have each others ‘faults’. Ultimately I tell her the entire ’story’ makes me just feel sad. We are ALL adults now and she nor the other person are close or have resolved this … it makes the rest of us uncomfortable, feeling sad for the past (which we cannot change) and ‘dead’ to the now since she is deciding to stay focused on her same level of resentment and anger … going forward to the future. I told her they are each other’s mirror. Now I see that she is feeling, thinking and talking this way about everyone.

    I ultimately think that when I am not around I am probably on the list of people she complains about to others as well. Someone mentioned to me a long time ago, that “she simply does not like or accept anyone because she does not like or accept herself” This statement was strange to me for a long time and NOW I see it this is absolutely the truth. She treats herself (and others) in much the same way she describes others as treating her. I have told her this and that THIS may be the key to changing all of her relationships for the better. How can she not accept behavior from others if she is not willing to see and stop the same behaviors in her relationship with herself. Now what I have for her is compassion and prayers that she receive a spark that will have her begin to see it differently … but absolutely I have now removed myself largely from communicating too much with her … and even this is sad to me because so many others have done the same.

  • I don’t like it when I tell something and the other person jumps in right away with a story of their own and just brings the attention to him or her. Feels like stealing your thunder.

  • I have a friend who calls me a lot. She starts the conversation with “I just thought I’d call to see how you’re doing”. I’ll reply, I’m great!!! How are you”. Her sullen reply is usually “Oh, I’m okayyy” Then of course I have to say “What’s going on?”

    The phone call she made to “see how you’re doing”, has turned into all about her. She rattles off every little complaint she has or had. She dwells on all of them. She asks for advice, but never follows it … so why ask?

    She is her own worst enemy as she is the orchestrator of most of her problems. Frustrating.

  • Thank you so much for this great, simple article. If anything it is a reminder to myself to pull my socks up when it comes to communication. Once again, thanks for reminding us Marc and Angel to show each other that we care. :)

  • Someone I know is VERY guilty of #1 - seeking attention by complaining. Like noted in this post, I have tried to turn the conversation around to something positive, but to no avail. It’s very disheartening to be around someone always so negative. I try to let it roll off me because this person does indeed have real troubles, but at what point do you remove someone like this from your life?

  • Aaaah, guilty, guilty, guilty! This article hit so many “homes” Marc & Angel, and I wanted to add some comments. I love so much of what you write & wanted to add my few cents to this!

    On #1; I am usually a very positive/ see the “bright side” kind of girl but I admit to whinging without meaning to often lately. This has a lot to do with lots of challenges & not a lot of joy in my life right now… Or does it?! It’s such an easy trap to fall into… It’s not that I do it for “attention” but at times have little positive happening; and this post made me see this… I need to try to have a bit of joy everyday to grow it& focus less on the negatives… My little boy is sick atm & the last two weeks I’ve been talking about it often as I haven’t been able to make much time for the mire “fun” stuff… BUT; I have had a lot of insanely beautiful cuddles & downtime with him, watching cartoons, reading him story after story and being able to just be there with him; in the now. So; this is my new spin on it! Thank you.

    Another comment asked what if a situation (her boss?) is consuming her mind; I have been through a lot of “negative” events & toxic relationships & they are a drain. Try to have a vent briefly, journal, journal, journal & ask yourself what this situation could bring that is good… Maybe it’s time to shift your focus from him; give your boss none of your emotional energy & nurture you, look into other jobs if possible etc. Reflect his poor behavior back to it’s source, keep your head held high, don’t take it personally & know you are worth more xx

    Re Kayoko; Yes! I have this in my life & believe three types of people cut you off; those who are plain rude/ selfish (cut the conversation short), those who are insecure and overcompensate & those who are so excited to be talking with you they get a bit exuberant! I have a “rude” relative, and told her one day I felt she never listened & just talked at me, not to me. She cried, we didn’t speak for a few weeks & now we have real conversations! Others; I’ve just had to nod/ agree & then say; OK, I have to go/ get off the phone now. They will get it or they won’t! I am guilty of “excited” cutting off; which a few of my friends & I do to each other; we just laugh now, & say “sorry; you go!”. Some people brazenly fish for compliments, others are really unsure of themselves and are trying to work out if they are “worthy”. Deflect “fishers” and if someone is genuinely shocked/ surprised by a compliment; look them in the eye and say, “I really mean it; you look great”. If people have had their self worth eroded, a few heartfelt, sincere & loving compliments can be a godsend; they may not see the beauty you see so try & help them gently see it.

    And on trying to please everyone/ wondering why people don’t like the real you & love you for who you are; the best thing you can do is respect yourself enough to ignore them, and focus on what you think of you; and if you do have people in your life who love the real you; build on those healthy relationships. No one has any right to make you feel bad for being you (as long as you are not harming anyone as stated above). It took me a long, long time to get this, and I had to close doors on some family & old friends but in doing this; my self respect grew immensely, and I look back and see I didn’t really want to be the type of people they were & funnily enough, every day I find myself surrounded by more & more loving, supportive, like minded, positive & genuine people; even though I thought I’d never get past the loss of some of the people I had sought approval from for so long; my life is actually 10,000% happier today for leaving them in my past!!

    Can’t wait to read the next article :)

  • An addition to this list:

    Push your ideas and thoughts on others hard…some people expect others to see things from their point of view as the only way for solution and never reciprocate the empathy they expect. Consequently they go overboard selling their point of views and ideas and shut out any feedback that is coming from others. This is an annoying social habit that pushes people away.

  • Gossip is a killer. I was drawn to all the office drama for awhile. Now I just walk away. It’s usually negative and does nothing to make my day better. I try to spread good news, positive gossip if you will. Makes me feel better and is usually well received.

  • GUILTY! Thanks for the reminder!

  • I am disappointed in people who can’t or wont force themselves to overcome adversity.

    I do listen. I fight for others’ goals because I want them to succeed. But since I know what it is to be hostage to circumstances that are enormous, I find it hard to be patient with those who give in rather than fight with all their might to overcome their obstacles. I am disappointed in myself for being disappointed in others.

    Logically I realize that every single person has their own personality, history, limitations and great gifts and I have to accept that I can’t know anybody’s total reality and therefore I can’t and should not judge them.

    Part of my fault is that I see “into” people, I see their potential. It frustrates me to see greatness that is untapped. My children who are accustomed to my thinking of them as superheros, humor my belief in their limitless potential and beautiful natures, but they can’t hang around me too much because invariably it is exhausting to be measured, and we both know I measure everything and everyone even though I don’t say it in words.

    I tell myself that if I expect others to try and succeed at whatever they are fighting, I should also manage to succeed at what I am fighting for - to learn to stop being disappointed in others who let themselves down. In this characteristic, no matter what other things I have accomplished, I fail miserably.

    It is a seriously negative habit and I don’t know how to stop it. My loving people is almost the same cause that I get mentally exhausted by them. I am afraid that if I learn to “not care”, I may be more fun to be around but it would destroy my inner self not to live meaningfully by my own happiness.

  • Interesting rough guidelines. FB would more or less cease to exist if these were strictly adhered to. LOL. Either way, well worth the read.

  • Nice points. We would like others to understand our ’standards’ but rarely understand other ’standards’.

    The last point says it all… But can we resonate with high vibes only? We haven’t been taught that… but Today is the first day to start living our life first and to resonate with our desires and positive people.

  • Great post for a Monday!

    I understand people who cut others off in mid-sentence because the person they’re speaking with probably controls the conversation. This is a great lesson in learning to speak up for yourself.

    You can’t and won’t please everyone, stop doing that right NOW!

    I agree with Beth, eating while you’re speaking with someone has to go along with playing your music too loud that everyone in the office or on the road can hear it.

    I would add to stop putting everyone’s needs before yours. Moms do this, a lot. If you don’t take care of yourself, who’ll take care of you? Learn to say “No,” with grace and love. Take care of yourself, first, and you’ll be able to help those around you.

  • Great list, I can think of a couple more.

    Don’t look at, use, play with or otherwise distract me with it and detract from the conversation at hand. I have several professional colleagues who literally confiscate phones during major meetings so there will not be interruptions.

    I am super guilty of the interior monologue, especially at home. I found it useful to study mindfulness, to detach myself from my thoughts. Hard work but worth it.

    Multi-tasking: if you ARE REALLY good at it, knock yourself out. If you are NOT, do not try. My VP is the best multi-tasker I have ever met, my Operations manager is the worst. I fall into the not so good category, so I do not try very often.

    But my all-time favorite social mistake is substituting your opinions for facts. My family circle includes several people who have to expand every event, story or description with their own opinions. You have have to know the codes to decipher the truth, or go to the source to get the accurate details. Makes me crazy. Before telling me what you think, tell me you are stating what you think, believe, feel about the situation.

  • When you’re out having dinner with someone and someone else they know drops by the table and interrupts our conversation and my co-diner doesn’t bother to introduce or include me in it. Always strikes me as very rude. Of course, taking cell phone calls is also annoying.

  • @ DW- the serenity prayer will lead you if you take it to heart ;)
    thank you all for writing and sharing

  • More great insights! #10 could be: “No Compassion for You Syndrome.” There are lots of people who have no capacity to listen to what others are going through and be supportive and compassionate. They prefer to play the “I got it worse than you” card to bring attention back to themselves and their own needs/desires. The greatest gift to give someone else can be an open, listening ear and unjudgemental heart.

  • One of the best lines I’ve ever heard for people who complain all the time is: “Does this story have a happy ending.”

    I would also vote for the ‘walk away from gossip’ unless you are talking very positive about someone.

    Thanks for doing this. Is a wake-up call everyday. Good reminders of things I know but don’t always practice.

  • Great things to think about. I especially like #2. If I find myself constructing an inner dialogue, I know that I am moving in the wrong direction. It is much more positive to be present with whatever is going on around me.


  • Repeatedly apologizing after you’ve been forgiven.

    I have a friend who said wrote something negative about me in a text message. Unfortunately, our mutual friend asked me to open it and read it to her because she didn’t have her glasses. The friend that sent the message continues to apologize profusely even though I have forgiven him and accept responsibility for choosing to read the message in the first place. Every time he apologizes for that, I feel like our friendship is stuck in the past.

    Don’t dwell on a faux pas that happened last week. Focus on the interactions you have today.

  • I love this post! If you could maybe make a follow up post with tips on ‘how’ to change the behavior, that would be great. I annoy myself and everyone else, because I am a constant interrupter! I recognize it and I take adderall for my add (I’m over 30) but I’ve had a hell of a time modifying that particular behavior. I tried focusing on the other person’s mouth and pressing my tongue to the roof of my mouth but I find that I am concentrating on that instead of the conversation. Still trying to tame my tongue. :)

  • One tip I would add to the bottom of the list is to not be incredibly annoyed or judgmental of people who may violate these rules from time to time. Of course it’s fine to walk away from annoying people, but at least give them a chance to correct themselves before writing them off for good.

  • @don mars - I never read the full version. I did now, and printed it. It is what I needed to hear, said in a way that is meaningful for me. Thank you very much.

  • Good reminders for all of us. I especially like “saying “thank you” not only makes the other person feel good….”

    Reminds of something we talked about in a meditation class once, about how letting people do nice things for you (assuming you’re nice and not taking advantage of them, of course) is a gift to the other person, because they feel good for helping.

    I have a tendency to feel bad about accepting help of any kind, and it helps me to remember this.

  • Yikes, great reminders. Thank you. Several of these are habits I’ve been consistently working on ditching (#3 and #7 particularly). This post is brilliant. The hilarious thing is that what I find most disturbing in other people is what I am most likely to also do myself, particularly the multi-tasking while chatting! Bernadette :)

  • I would certainly say amen to “Shana”,and others who would add to the list the matter of that nasty business of requiring others to adhere to your own disciplines. Some people are not ready to be confronted, and some people will purposely break rules of social courtesy simply to resist a person who suggests that they are not being polite.

    Just because you quit a bad habit doesn’t mean you get to be huffy about others who have not yet made that move. Show ‘em. But don’t tell ‘em.

  • This is a great read to really start cutting off all that excess negative stigma that causes us to be slightly less than a completely true friend to others around us. Sometimes it really sucks how some people just keep diverting the conversation to themselves. You keep trying to pull it back to the topic at hand, but they keep listing themself up on a pedestal. I think sometimes people need to understand that Life is sometimes about being willing to listen and to really show your love– to listen and concentrate on others around you.

    We live in the kind of society where we keep needing this idea of social proofing. That we constantly have to remind ourselves and others around us of where we stand, what we are doing, why the attention should be on us– and it is greatly a result of social media and our constantly updating status messages. Do you know what would be a great idea? A social platform that focuses on somebody else in the group and all you are allowed to do is talk about that person and ask them about everything in their life for just that day. You will be surprised what we find when we start looking at the inner workings of other people’s lives!

  • This article hits home. I tend to be very insecure at times and I allowed my insecurity to affect my relations with others. Most recently I met a guy whom I fell for but he didn’t seem to reciprocate so in a jealous rage (bc he spends a lot of time with female friends) I lashed out. Now this guy never calls me, texts me to say hello anymore, and til this day never ever invited me anywhere. I was always the one who invited him to hang out with me. I’m sure I don’t even cross his mind bc he is in love with his bestfriend. Bc of this I complained instead of calmly e asking why. Now he hates my guts. I haven’t heard from him in a while so its pretty clear that he doesn’t care for me at all. It hurts bc I liked him a lot but he never showed me he cared. Til this day he didn’t even apologize for leading me inand most recently I asked him to hang out with me out of desperation and clearly he didn’t want to because he NEVER asked me to hang out willingly. So I will never hear from him again, he will never ask me out on a date, and he will never want me to be his. I’ve accepted that but moral of the story is I could have ended it better by not being such a whiney bitch. Complaining shows weakness. So I have learned my lesson; if someone doesn’t dig you enough to invite you out on dates and treat you like you deserve instead of a last resort that’s just fine, bc there is someone out there that will.

  • Excellent advice - thanks!
    My guess is that it would be more effective if it was couched in positive terms, giving people stuff to think about and practice rather than stuff to try to stop doing. That would transform it from sort of a set of complaints to more of a set of good, positive ideas.

    Gay and Katie Hendricks of “Conscious Loving” fame have a lot of excellent material on these sorts of things in their books, web sites, etc.

  • I really appreciate your blog and all of the things you write about it’s truly inspiring I feel like an angel from God is talking to me. All of the things you discuss is going on in my life at the moment you have A gift and you’re sharing it thanks A lot.

  • Simple principles which unlock a treasure house of life’s heavy truths!!

  • Simple yet all telling principles!!

  • Thank you for this.

    Why are certain people unable to accept gratitude or a compliment? It is certainly a reflection on how they feel about themselves.

    I am a very appreciate person and am able to express gratitude easily.
    I find that in paying someone a heartfelt compliment sometimes embarrasses them which to me highlights an inner insecurity as they immediately reject the compliment or expression of gratitude by saying “”you don’t have to thank me”"‘or “”No way, that’s not true”" etc.

    If someone is not able to receive, they need to look within and see exactly what buttons are being pressed and why they dislike themselves enough to reject something that is given with no expectation, judgement, critcism or demand

  • These are great, thank you! I need to work on giving people my full attention instead of multi-tasking. And also be more supportive to my family (it’s definitely hard when they seem to be doing crazy things).
    One thing I’ve noticed is giving a “compliment” that’s actually a put-down. “Oh, I’ve never seen you with your glasses on - they look good. They make your eyes look smaller. (said in a friendly tone) My glasses do that too, that’s why I don’t wear them.” See what happened there? Something said in a complimentary fashion, but in reality a put-down. I work with two women who do this regularly. It’s totally strange.

  • I agree with Dev about ‘putting other people down’. I think the saying is something like, ‘my candle doesn’t burn any brighter by trying to blow yours out’.
    Amandah, good point. Stop putting everyone else’s needs before your own. You have to take care of yourself first. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s not selfish, quite the opposite. We can’t help those around us until we take care of ourselves.
    I wish it was mandated that everyone have to read articles like the ones above. Myself included. The world would be much more pleasant.

  • A friend recently shared this blog with me and I’m glad she did. As I looked through this list of negative social habits, I realized that I do number 2 and number 3 quite a bit. A lot of the time, especially when I’m meeting new people, I overthink what I’m going to say, how I’m going to come off that I am not engaged in the actual conversation. I am there, but I’m not really listening or fully engaged because I’m thinking about the next thing I’ll say.

    Also, I’ve found that I have trouble enjoying doing only one thing at a time. If I’m hanging out with friends, I’m checking e-mail. If I’m watching TV, I’m doing something on my computer…so it’s definitely something I have to work on.

    Again, I appreciate this list and I’m so glad I found this blog!

  • This is a great list, I just want to say that one must also be attentive to cultural differences and that some of these may only apply to an American culture. For example, number 6: In Russia (as I learned in Russian class) it is incredibly rude to say ‘thank you’ after a compliment. You are actually supposed to say something along the lines of ‘oh I don’t really look that great’ or ‘yes but…’ I find these kind of cultural divergences very interesting, and I am curious if there are any other discrepancies between culture about the other points in this post.

  • I think everyone is guilty of one or more of these on any given day. I KNOW I am! But these little reminders plant the seeds and I find myself ever more mindful as I learn in life. If I do it, I am more aware of it and find myself correcting my mistakes (and forgiving myself in the process). I will say it again… I LOVE you guys and the work you do. Please don’t ever stop!


  • I think being present to the moment is huge. Unless you’re having a really logical, business type discussion don’t think before you speak.

    I’ve found that in social situations I as well as the people around me have a lot more fun when we’re able to be completely spontaneous and not worry about what others are going to think.

  • I am the worst interupter EVER! It is a terrible habit and I just can’t seem to break it. I do apprecite everything that the other person is saying and I also appreciate that they are taking the time to speak with me. I just can’t seem to help interrupting. Anyone have any useful suggestions for me to get over this terrible habit???

  • Thanks Angel. Those were a great reminder of how often we aren’t focusing on what we really want when we engage with others. Undivided attention is a rare and precious gift in our fast-paced world.

  • I’ve been guilty of nearly all you mentioned. But as you get older you become more aware of these faults and do something about it. I went through a phase for some reason where I would talk over people over the phone and even face to face. How irritating is that? Thankfully someone pulled me up about it. Now I feel I’m a good listener who doesn’t interrupt and doesn’t talk over neither.

    Conversation is a two way street… or at least should be. But at times you can’t get a word in.

  • @Vincent: Thanks for the continued support and added insight.

    @Kayoto: It’s simply a matter of waiting for them to finish a point and then speaking up before they roll on to the next point. Be direct and let them know you have something to add to the conversation.

    @Bia: Being forced into a toxic relationship like this can be tough, but you still have the choice to be conscious and present about the task at hand while ignoring the negativity. And if the environment is truly unbearable, perhaps it’s time to move on to a new job, etc.

    @Josephina: I agree. That acknowledgement is a great thing. And thank you for the wonderful additions.

    @Carmen K: I know a couple people like this. It’s tough to deal with. I always try listen and be supportive, while giving subtle suggestions that might assist them.

    @Kk: Excellent points all the way around. BIG “thank you” for keeping the conversation alive.

    @DW: Seeing this greatness is a good thing. Channel this insight inward. It’s not a matter of succeeding, it’s a matter of doing your best – that is success.

    @David Rapp: Ouch. Substituting opinions for facts is something I used to struggle with when I was younger. Excellent point!

    @Mike Martel: Agreed. Presence is the foundation of every good relationship.

    @Shana: It takes practice; no question about it. Perhaps this is something we’ll work into a future post or maybe even an upcoming course.

    @Sufian Chaudhary: I love that idea of focusing on others. We could simply ask everyone to tell us their story – not what they “do” for a living, but who they truly are.

    @Black Roses: It is true that some relationships simply aren’t meant to work, no matter how bad you want them to. It’s also good to hear that you recognize your shortcomings in that particular relationship and have learned from them.

    @Sha: Some people simply lack a healthy level of self-worth. Help them if you can, but don’t take offense to their bizarre responses. They aren’t directed toward you. They’re directed toward themselves.

    @A Nomad Life: Glad ya found us too. =) Welcome.

    @Michelle: As I mentioned to Shana, it takes practice. Focus on the conversation and your own breathing. Focus on being present in the moment – stop thinking about other things. Meditation might be a good starting point for practicing presence.

    @All: As always, you made my day. Marc and I just read every one of your comments and wrote these responses out together. You all provide such inspiring food for thought for our upcoming articles. Our little community here warms our hearts. Your support and insight is the fuel that helps us write and dream.

  • Well, a great article that will help you build healthier relationships. The best point among others is point #4… actually it is true, you really don’t care for people who care about you, because you take them for granted. But remember, eventually, they will feel your ignorance!

  • One of my peeves is people on F.B. wanting to be professional and generate friendships and business but using slang such as gonna, wanna, gotta, yup. You come across as uneducated. Take the time to use proper English. Our English language seems to be going out the door. And don’t forget the word ‘of’. It’s a couple OF things, not a couple things. Thank you, I feel much better.

  • EXCELLENT advice that I really need to listen to. Thanks!

  • If you’re at any party… You should drink and smoke less… If you’re only indulged in drinking, then it will have a negative impact on your girlfriend.. You have to take it easy instead of getting high every single time…

    One thing that I really appreciate in this post is - Attitude!

    Great post btw. Keep going :)

  • #9 really strikes home. A couple of times I was told by others that as their friend, it was my job to make them happy. Not only was I dumbfounded by this statement, I wasn’t able to do my “job” and ended up losing the friend.

  • I take issue with a couple of these.

    #1. When someone has a really bad situation or drpression, they’re not necessarily complaining for attention. They’re complaining because their situation sucks, and it helps them feel better to share that ferling with you. If you really don’t care about it and just see them as complainers, you’re probably an awful “friend” and they would be better without you anyway.

    #6. I was raised - as were most ppl in the South - to be humble and deferential about compliments. It’s a cultural thing. Replying to a compliment with the equivalent of “yeah, I know” marks you as an arrogant ass.

  • Thank you for this post. I keep the following next to my phone:

    Before speaking, ask yourself to THINK:

    Is it Thoughtful

    Is it Honest

    Is it Intelligent

    Is it Necessary

    It it Kind

  • Nice list. I wish more people would take note of these online and in person.

  • I would add trying to one up. At work there is a person who will listen to other people for a moment and then say “my friend did that” or “I’ve got one better, my friend…” The worst I ever saw happen was one woman came to work and was telling about her ultrasound. She was emotionally explaining how they had found out they were having twins. The other super annoying person cut her off and started talking about her friend (who none of us knew) who had twins and how hard it was. We were all so infuriated that this person thought we cared about her story or friend. We wanted to hear about our co-worker and her excitement! To add insult to injury the comment about how “hard it was” was not at all supportive!!! In the end we all left the room and went to our co-workers office so she could continue to share and we could continue to rejoice and support her!!!

  • Wow! So many of these were so good. Its scary though how many resonated with me. Then again, perhaps I am not the only one, huh!

    Thanks for sharing!


  • I was doing #1, #2, and #5 throughout my life up to a year ago. I’m glad to say that I’m a chang(ing) man

    It’s funny that now it’s the other way around; I was this type of person before and now I’m able to pick up these traits from other people.

  • It would also be good to add another truth about speaking ill or focusing on the negative of other people just for the sheer psychological kick that some people get from it. I’ve seen this habit being generally socially accepted because it makes some feel better about themselves, especially when in agreement with others, to put others down or tell lies about them when they are not present. It doesn’t matter for many whether the subjects are friends or frenemies, whtehr they are well aware that what they are saying are not true at all, as long as they can make this as a tool for their own social gratification, then it is unfortunately considered harmless by certain people. Sad isn’t it?

  • One thing that truly irritates and disappoints me is where someone I am with constantly answers every trivial text or message they get on their mobile. We can be in the middle of a lovely meal, conversation or situation, but the minute his mobile tinkles he responds. Ok, if he was a high flying exec dealing with business I would totally understand, but we are two retired friends living a carefree life by the sea. I have asked him to give quality time to the moment and wait to answer a non important text, but it’s a daily request!

  • Guilty of all the above at one time or another. Something else that used to really hurt me is when any idea I might have is just swept aside and a “better” one is put forward as if I hadn’t spoken. My best friend is almost always doing this to me; now I just let it go and carry on. I’m not allowing the hurt anymore…’s too short.

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