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

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 …


#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.


#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.


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

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.


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.


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

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


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.


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.”


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.



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.


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.


10 ways people should never describe you #blindpost

doormat sweater

Friend and former boss, Jeff Hilimire, has been doing blind posts for a long time. In them, he rips a headline from the news and, without reading the article, writes his own post on the topic. I’ve always thought this was a neat idea, and have finally decided to give it a try myself.

During my daily reads, I stumbled on“10 Ways People Should Never Describe You” from Inc. magazine and decided to give it a whirl. It was insanely hard to not look ahead!

Here it is, in no particular order. Think of it this way, if somebody were to have a conversation with a colleague about you without you there, these are among the words and phrases I’d consider least flattering … and why.

  1. Rigid. This seems like it could be a positive at first blush. But if you’re being called rigid in business today, it’s the equivalent of being a binder clip in a jar of rubber bands, unable to bend and flex with the changing times. And boy, being agile is a skill, isn’t it? Rigid…not so much.
  2. Impulsive. There is being quick to react to things — deciding to make a key hire, putting out a fire, rescuing a little girl from a well — and then there is impulsivity, which generally implies a broken ability for measured reaction. Swift action is good in a technology-led marketplace; it is not OK to do so impulsively.
  3. Cynical. Nobody wants to think they’re that person, do they? The one that can’t see the upside in anything. I call myself Worst Case Scenario Wendy when I behave that way — quick to assess a situation down to its worst possible outcome. In business, a dose of skepticism is good. Being endlessly suspicious of every one and everything is demotivating.
  4. Non-Confrontational. I’ve called this one out before. In summary: I consider this trait one of the biggest marks of an ineffective leader. It transmutes into an unwillingness to make progress, to create healthy debate and to challenge decisions.
  5. Passive Aggressive. This seems to dovetail nicely with being non-confrontational. Not being willing to confront people directly leads those-with-baggage to take it out undercover, quietly…indirectly. This isn’t good for the offender or the offended. Nobody wins. And it’s just juvenile.
  6. Mean. When I was just entering the workforce, I had a boss yell at me about an error I made in a design until I burst into tears. His follow up was to scream, “Don’t f—-ing cry you baby!” Do I need to say anything else? Don’t be that person.
  7. Yes Person. Don’t confuse this with agreeable and willing. “Yes people” never say no. They lack self-respect and confidence. They might as well knit themselves a sweater that says “DOORMAT” because that’s how everyone will see them.
  8. Lazy. I can’t imagine anything more offensive. In fact, I once had a supervisor passive aggressively tell a coworker this about me. It haunts me to this day. I’m not, damn it. To be defined this way is like a whole bunch of horrible character traits all rolled in one — reluctant to take on challenges, too soft to put in a hard day’s work, not a team player. We should all strive to never be defined this way.
  9. Pouty. We don’t always get our way, being pouty about it sucks for everyone surrounding the rejected. I have always wondered if these people were given everything they wanted as kids. This isn’t a play date: get over it. Even better: learn from it.
  10. Manipulative. Worse than the pouter is the manipulator. Quietly aggressive, they must have their way, so they recruit their darkest magic to win over the weak first, and then work their way up. They make everyone uneasy, inviting fear and self-doubt until their targets give in. We all know one — nobody wants to be one.