People to avoid

by Michele on June 8, 2012

I was out socially during a recent weekend, and found myself talking business with some people that I didn’t know well. One of them was a very negative, naysayer, Solopreneurs must avoid negative people“can’t be done” kind of guy. He was the kind of person who feels like nothing in his life is in his control – whatever happens in his life happens to him not ever because of anything he did.

Because I’m so passionate and excited about my business and I love the people I work with, I got very excited to be able to talk business with new people. The more I described all the good things that come from my business, the more negative he got.

He also had a way of thinking that is like nails on a chalkboard to me – he made up his mind before having any data, and no amount of evidence to the contrary would sway him.

Later, I realized I wasted a lot of energy trying to share my excitement with him. He’s negative and has no sense of being responsible for his own life. He has no interest in learning new things or expanding what he knows of the world. In short, he was a fool in this respect and I wasted my time, energy and enthusiasm on him.

I can’t go back and get a do-ever on this one, but I resolved right then and there to be done with having this kind of conversation with this kind of person. It left me drained and frustrated, and left him no more informed than he had been before.

Sometimes, when you have a mission you want to share it with the world. I know it takes almost nothing to get me talking about work. The thing is, not all conversations serve us or the person we are talking to. In this case, neither of us got anything out of it.

Your time and energy are precious resources and the source of all you business success. Use these resources well even when you are not working. They are very limited, and you can’t get them back. Don’t waste any time or energy on any activity that doesn’t provide a return of some sort. The next time I feel myself being frustrated instead of feeling connected in a conversation I’ll stop the interaction.

What kind of people drain you? How do you know when to leave a conversation? What kind of limits do you set in this area?


  1. Mozette says:

    Woah! You and I must have been on the same wavelength! On Sunday just gone, I was at a gathering of like-minded people. This is a group I attend where we talk about dreams, tarot cards, Reiki Readings and other such topics… things we can’t talk to our families about.
    Well, I have strong feelings for one of men there – Will – and he and I arrived there early and got chatting and catching up. Then two more arrived. One owns a bookstores and is lovely, the other is a manic kinda woman who sat right next to Will and bombarded us with stories about her neighbour. The stories were negative in every way – as the neighbour isn’t nice – and so (being kind-hearted) I tried to help her. This manic woman cut me off by trying to finish my sentences, talked over me constantly and went over and over the same stories when I gave her one solution after another… it was tiring; not to mention frustrating. Will was trying to tell her that I was trying to help her if she just stopped talking for 5 minutes and listened with her ears and looked at me.
    She didn’t… in the end I took a deep breath and said: ‘Look, if you don’t shut up, I’m not going to help you.’ she closed her mouth, looked at me and sulked until I finished telling her what I had in mind for her neighbour and her… which was a negotiation. She was so negative about it. And just like your nay-sayer, so negative to everything I suggested… so I ended up being very drained by the end of 4 hours.

    During that time, though, I found out that Will does like me very much. He ended up running away from her and sitting next to me and chatting quietly to me while the manic woman sat on her own and sulked for the next hour…

    We did try to help her, but I think she has to work through her own problems on her own. It’s hard to help people who want the help, but don’t know it, and yet when they ask for it, they don’t believe it’ll work.

    1. Michele says:

      Yep Mozette, sounds like same kind of negative person I met. I probably would have expended way too much time and energy trying to help her or just talk to her, and that’s exactly the behavior I am now committed to stopping. There is no point in trying to have a conversation if the other person wants it to be just one-way communication.

  2. Mozette says:

    How true… I found out she likes Will as well. And the first thing she tried to do is change him drastically! Wow! The first thing that came out of my mouth was: ‘No! I like him just the way he is!’
    She wanted to get rid of his mutton-chops, stop him from fidgeting a little and she kept on pawing and patting him all the time… he was pushing himself into the corner further and further until he finally came and sat next to me where I didn’t touch him, unless he touched me first, and we just chatted.
    I even went to far as to point out to him ‘hey Will, you’ve got a crush’ and pointed to the negative woman who just sat there and sulked (just to see what she’d do). By the end of the afternoon, I received a hug from everyone but this negative nay-sayer as she didn’t really like me by then. But I’m a very honest-speaking person. If I have something on my mind, I’m likely to say what it is (in the best possible way), and she didn’t like that; but Will loves that about me.
    I think Will and I are going to be good together; as it was his birthday last Friday, and I gave him Tibetan Prayer flags for his house. He laughed and told me he had bought two sets just last week! How’s that for great minds thinking alike? 😀

  3. Karen says:

    Hi Michele,
    While I completely understand where you’re coming from and agree that we shouldn’t waste time trying to change the way people think if they don’t indicate that they want to change I also think that you didn’t waste your time talking to this guy, it just depends on why you spoke to him.
    If you were keen for him to indicate a change in his attitude there and then might this not have been out of self-interest – proof that you DO make a difference to peoples’ lives? I think that putting positive energy into an atmosphere can do nothing but good. Maybe someone who was listening in to your conversation really benefitted or maybe your conversation was a catalyst that will take a long time to see fruitition but will eventually lead to a change in the way that guy thinks. Who knows? But you’re right, we can’t force others to change – that guys choice to be negative was his choice and your positive energy is your choice. Just keep spreading the good vibes and don’t let someones negativity stop you : )

    1. Michele says:

      Thank You Karen! That was such a nice thing to say and it totally uplifted me. You’re right, some good may have come out of it and you never know the ripple effect of your actions. I’m going to keep your last comment in mind and keep choosing to be positive as much as possible.

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