Human beings are social people. We usually enjoy spending time with other humans. And yet, there are some habits we develop over time that seem to do just the opposite. Instead of drawing us closer to someone, we engage in behaviors that tend to push people away from us. What’s worse, we don’t even realize exactly what it is we’re doing.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you push people away from you.
1. Do you take everything personally? Most of us know at least one person who seems to believe that every little thing in life is designed to hurt them in some way. This is a rather ego-centric view of life and one might be surprised to know that most people are oblivious about their behavior. The guy who cut you off on the freeway was worried more about getting to his 8 o’clock meeting on time than he was interested in upsetting you by cutting you off in traffic. For most people, the world revolves around them. So when someone does something to you, don’t take it as a personal assault. They had their own concerns. There’s a saying I live by, “What others think about me is none of my business.” That has helped me in so many ways.
2. Being a victim. Everyone has the right to complain about their life. We all have things that happen and once we vent, we often feel better. But if you find yourself always complaining about life, how things are unfair, how you’re the most unlucky person you know, how you can’t seem to change anything in your life to make it better. You might be playing the victim card. You want people to feel sorry for you, thinking (incorrectly) that they might just give you a break because you’re not just having a bad day, you’re having a bad life.
3. Being Eeyore. The pessimist. The glass half-empty person. Everything you say and think is negative. Life is unfair. The world is going to the dogs and no one can control it. When you find people constantly trying to cheer you up and you refuse to find anything to be cheerful about, you might actually enjoy being that negative energy in the room. But don’t be surprised if the room soon empties because most people don’t like the perpetual gloom and doom forecaster. Most people are looking for things where they can be cheerful and happy.
If any of these seem familiar, try noticing more throughout the day how you react and respond to different stimuli. Even better, notice how others respond and see which behaviors you like better. Then change yourself accordingly.