10 Ways

A couple weeks ago, I came across a headline in Inc. magazine titled 10 Ways to Lose Friends and Irritate People. “Oooo, this could be a great #blindpost,” I thought. Because we’ve all experienced irritating behavior in the workplace. And, I certainly have a few tips for the offenders. Blind posts are something Jeff Hilimire started doing a few years ago, where he writes his take on a business headline, without having read the article. So, I invited Jeff to join me in a dual blind post. He took it a step further, suggesting we write it together. The result …

Jeff:

#1. Force your religious/political/crazy ideas on them. Personally, I love when people are passionate about their beliefs. But I’ve seen more friendships tarnished by people who force their ideas onto others than maybe anything else. At one point in Spunlogic’s early days I had to ban political conversations from the office because so many people were getting into arguments over it.

Stephanie:

#2. Being an INTERRUPTER. There is the obvious thing — being interrupted when you’re in the middle of a thought is super annoying. And while most of us are guilty of doing this on occasion (you’ve argued with a significant other, right?), people who do it frequently are doing more than derailing conversation. This action subtly (or maybe not so subtly) suggests that your viewpoint is superior. And…that you are. Making your point clear is one thing. Trouncing all over somebody’s thoughts and bullishly forcing your words in small spaces is just … irritating. All of this is not to mention the even more toxic effect of interruption — when you interrupt you’re simply not present in the discussion. Instead, you hear something, latch onto it, brew your rebuttal and wait for the noise to stop long enough that you can interject. Healthy, fecund dialog happens when you really listen to what the other person says – the entire way through.

Jeff:

Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
Interrupting Cow.
Interrupting Cow wh
MOOOOOO.

Ok, just my favorite all-time kids joke that you made me think of.

#3. Over-emailing. Over-sharing. Over-texting. I think this one is pretty self explanatory. I’ve personally taken to sending an #unsubscribe hashtag when I’m in large text chains with friends/family.

Stephanie:

Moo. Did my #2 make you want to #unsubscribe halfway through? (Hey, that rhymed!) Do you think there is undersharing too? Not as egregious as oversharing, but also annoying.

#4.  Eating Chips in Open Spaces. It is the noise equivalent of heating up fish in the shared microwave. Ever tried working through somebody munching on Lays? Good luck.

Jeff:

Wow, remind me not to invite you to Subway for lunch.

#5: Looking at their phone while talking to you. The worst.

Stephanie:

I’m sorry, what? I was checking Facebook.

#6. Being late. To meetings, to appointments, to lunches … cocktails, conferences, whatever. Being late says, “I don’t value your time.” I don’t mean being late once or twice. We’ve all been in unexpected traffic (curse you 285 and GA 400!), or had our kid throw a wild card at us (It’s dress like a President day, I’m supposed to be Martin Van Buren). I’m referring to the habitually late. A grown up can manage time. Being punctual doesn’t just tell somebody you’re prudent and organized. It is a sign of respect.

Jeff:

Oh man, that was going to be my next one! Well played.

#7: Follow up every time your friend says something that they are stressed or worried about with your even worse thing to be stressed and worried about. The classic one-upper. Same thing on the positive side.

“You’ll never believe who I sat next to on the plane! Usher!”

“Wow, adorable. That reminds me, did I tell you about the time I accidentally spilled apple juice on Lebron James and we ended up dating for six months before I dumped him? It’s crazy how we both have celebrity stories.”

Stephanie:

Nice one! Self deprecating humor is great. One-upmanship is awful.

#8.  Taking credit for somebody else’s work. I mean, of the things that suck the most when you’ve worked really hard, this has to top the list. Most people who take credit are aware they’re doing it, other times they’re just not being conscientious. I have always made it a point to give credit to the people that put time into team projects — beyond being the right thing to do, people who work hard deserve recognition. The worst thing about somebody who takes credit for your work, though, is when they do it in front of you in a meeting. Because you can’t call them out, or you look like the turd. You just have to take it.

Aziz-Ansari

Jeff:

Wow, you’ve worked with some real d.b.s!

#9. Canceling on commitments. We all know these people – heck, we’ve all BEEN these people. People who say yes to attending an event or meeting up and then cancel. Over and over and over. Just say, “No, I think that’s a dumb idea so I’m not going to go.” That really bums people out if they’re counting on you.

Stephanie:

Yeah, fortunately, that has not happened to me often. But if you’ve been on the receiving end of someone taking credit for your work, you never forget.

#10. The last minute guy/girl. The one that shows up with a huge problem or deadline at 4:30 on Friday afternoon. This one requires no further explanation. Jerk.

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One thought on “10 Ways to Lose Friends and Irritate People (a back-and-forth #blindpost)

  1. Awesome post, I think I’ll share around my office today. :)
    I think “bringing laptop to a meeting and working on other things instead of paying attention” can be added to this list (or as a subtitle to #5). Especially when the topic is about work on your team and you are completely ignoring the discussion so when someone asks your opinion you look up and say “what, please repeat that”. Nails on a chalkboard, folks!

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