If you notice that promising introductions fizzle out long before turning into a dynamic connection, or your co-workers seem to dodge you when they see you coming around the corner, the problem may be staring back at you in the mirror.
Relationships are at the heart of our success, and investing in real connections pays off in meeting both professional and personal goals.
Here are some common behaviors that may inadvertently drive others away:
1. You Talk Too Much
No one wants to be a captive audience to someone who drones on incessantly about “me, me, me.” Focus your attention on creating a two-way dialogue, and express a genuine interest in what the other person is saying. Ask open-ended questions and pay attention to his response. The easiest way to be considered a brilliant conversationalist is to listen more than you talk.
2. You Gossip, Moan, and Complain
If you’re wondering why everyone has stopped asking you how you’re doing, it may be because you generally have something negative to say. A dry, “It could be worse” is less enthusiastic than, “I’m doing great, thank you. How are you today?” Most people are naturally drawn to those who are positive and pleasant.
And, if you’re the friend or co-worker who feels the need to keep everyone informed about the current drama, you’re likely not trusted with confidential information (even if you claim to be a vault when it comes to keeping a secret). When you’ve breached someone’s privacy, it’s difficult to gain her respect back.
3. You’re Always Late
There are few things more irritating than waiting for someone who routinely arrives 45 minutes late. Running behind schedule to a business meeting or lunch with a friend sends the message that you have poor time management skills, or that you just don’t care about the person. You’re not the only one who’s crazy busy, and you may have much more free time in the future if you continue with this pattern (because people won’t want to hang out with you). If you’re prone to keeping people waiting, break the habit immediately.
4. You’re Impatient and Unpredictable
One minute you’re laughing and enjoying the party, the next you’re storming out without saying goodbye. Everyone has an occasional bad day, but when people don’t know what to expect when you’re around, it’s time to find a way to manage your emotions. If you believe most people are incompetent, out to get you, or you’re frequently a victim in life, your attitude could use an adjustment. Improving yourself means changing your habits and developing strategies for keeping your cool under pressure.
5. You’re Mean Spirited
Posting a mean comment on social media or making a joke and punctuating it with a dismissive, “just kidding” is not winning you friends. Humor is only funny in small doses, and when it isn’t directed at someone to tear him down.
6. You Refuse to Apologize
Not only do you find it hard to say “I’m sorry,” but you won’t take responsibility for a mistake. Owning up to an error (in a timely fashion) not only shows character, but allows others to observe your willingness to be flexible and make things right. It can strengthen a relationship and encourage trust. Omit the word “but” or “if” from your apology—it just passes the blame.
7. You’re Untrustworthy
It’s difficult to build a strong relationship with someone who’s unreliable. People do business with people they trust, and they forge friendships with those they feel safe to be around.
It’s an unhappy truth that dishonesty and deception have long-lasting, negative consequences. There are few things worse than losing your integrity. If you make a mistake, clean it up. If you keep making the mistake over and over again, it’s intentional.
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