Eight ways to lose friends and alienate people

Published by rudy Date posted on June 29, 2009

Have you ever noticed that looks and a good personality often don’t go hand in hand? Maybe it’s God’s way of compensating. More often than not, if you’re ugly, you’re gifted with a good personality; if you’re blessed with good looks, you’re either a bitch or a jerk; if you have so-so looks, you also have a so-so personality.

Unfortunately, physical beauty is often given more premium than a good personality. In the movie When Harry Met Sally, Harry is setting up his best friend Jess with Sally. Jess asks how she is. Harry says she’s fun and has a great personality and this exchange occurs:

Jess: When someone’s not that attractive, they’re always described as having a good personality.

Harry: Look, if you had asked me what she looks like and I said, she has a good personality, that means she’s not attractive. But just because I happen to mention that she has a good personality, she could be either. She could be attractive with a good personality, or not attractive with a good personality.

Jess: So which one is she?

Harry: Attractive.

Jess: But not beautiful, right?

It’s an interesting dialogue because it reinforces my theory that personality is often an overlooked asset. But in the real world — especially the corporate world — a good personality is key to long-term success. Sure, good looks might get you in the door for the interview, and probably even get you the job, but it’s a positive personality that will help you move up the corporate ladder. Intelligence and competence are the basic requirements for you to retain your job; a good personality and a great attitude will propel you to move forward, and make you an effective leader. Barack Obama won not so much because he’s smart — that’s a given, necessary requirement — but because he has charm, wit, and personality.

On the other hand, a bad personality will make people run away from you. Brett Blumenthal, a writer and founder of Sheer Balance, a company dedicated to health and wellness, wrote about eight toxic personalities that can turn off people and ruin their chances for personal and professional growth:

1. Manipulative Marys: These individuals are experts at manipulation tactics. These individuals figure out what your buttons are, and push them to get what they want.

2. Narcissistic Nancys: These people have an extreme sense of self-importance and believe that the world revolves around them. You often want to say to them “It isn’t always about you.”

3. Debbie Downers: These people can’t appreciate the positive in life. If you tell them that it is a beautiful day, they will tell you about the impending dreary forecast. They take the joy out of everything.

4. Judgmental Jims: When you see things as cute and quirky, they see things as strange and unattractive. If you find people’s unique perspectives refreshing, they find them wrong.

5. Dream-Killing Keiths: Every time you have an idea, these people tell you why you can’t do it. As you achieve, they try to pull you down. As you dream, they are the first to tell you it is impossible.

6. Insincere Illissas: You never quite feel that these people are being sincere. You tell a funny story, they give you a polite laugh. You feel depressed and sad and they give you a “there, there” response. This breeds shallow, meaningless relationships. When you are really in need of a friend, they won’t be there. When you really need constructive criticism, they would rather tell you that you are great the way you are. When you need support, they would rather see you fail or make a fool of yourself.

7. Disrespectful Dannys: These people will say or do things at the most inappropriate times and in the most inappropriate ways. In the corporate world, it’s the colleague who says demeaning things to you. These people have no sense of boundaries and don’t respect your feelings or, for that matter, your privacy.

8. Never-Enough Nellies: You can never give enough to these people to make them happy. They take you for granted and have unrealistic expectations of you. They find ways to continually fault you and never take responsibility for anything themselves.

Blumenthal writes that life is too short to spend your time dealing with these people. And the whole world agrees — particularly the corporate world. You might think that companies are composed of cold, unfeeling, professional robots. No. Corporations, even the biggest and most professional ones, are composed of people. And each one has a personality. And each of these personalities evaluates and assesses each other. In the entertainment world, the more magnetic the personality, the more influence that person yields. And it applies to the corporate world, too.

There’s a reason why famous people, influential people, and celebrities are called “personalities.” It’s the personality that makes them click and, ultimately, makes them powerful. Oprah Winfrey is no beauty queen. But she wields more influence than anyone in the US. Willy Revillame is certainly not a Piolo Pascual or a John Lloyd Cruz — even he would admit that. But Willy’s personality transcends aesthetics, and it’s his magnetic personality that makes him appealing to the masses, propelling him to greater heights.

So, you want to give your career a boost? Don’t go for that nose job. No need for that Botox. Don’t break the bank just to get that masters or doctorate. Focus instead on your personality. I know there’s a saying that goes “Leopards don’t change spots,” which means people can’t really change. But believe me — we can. Remember, a leopard’s spots are aesthetic — so yes, that can’t be changed — but you can train a wild leopard to be tame. You can change a leopard’s personality, and you certainly can change yours. Start with your outlook in life. Are you too focused on yourself? Are you the type who tends to only look at the bad things in other people? Are you a perennial doomsayer who always thinks things will not work out?   Are you insensitive of other people’s feelings? Evaluate your personality with honesty. If you feel you have a flaw, correct it — and do it fast.

In my high school yearbook, my classmates wrote: “Rod worries about any challenge — no matter how minor.”   I used to be a hopeless worrywart, but not anymore. I corrected that. And now, I write a column called “It’s a Wonderful Life” which only talks about the positives in life. How did I change? I evaluated my life and realized that I have never solved anything by worrying, but by having a happy personality and a positive attitude, I always got things done.

It was as simple as that.–Rod Nepomuceno, Philippine Star

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Thanks for your letters, folks! You may e-mail me at rodhnepo@yahoo.com.

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