How To Nip Bad Social Habits Today

There’s something to be said for slow and steady progress.  But there’s also something to be said for strong, decisive action.  When it comes to bad, self-defeating habits, there’s no time like today to quit cold turkey.  Easier said than done; believe me I know from personal experience. For some reason I've been more aware lately of the annoying social habits of other people.  Worse than that, I've then been noticing many of the same behaviors in myself.  Yikes. As I approach my 30's I'm determined to try my best to engage in self improving activities and think happier more positive thoughts. Whether you're in your late 20's, 30's, 40's, heck even if you're in your teenage years these tips are all great ways to usher positivity into your life and the life of others around you. Cutting out these negative habits makes it simpler to foster good relationships by getting to the heart of productive communication, so why not start today? Come on guys, don't make me do it all alone. =) Anyway, here are some some social habits that needs to be kicked to the curb pronto.   

Seeking attention by complaining

I spoke to someone a while back who all but refused to talk about the positive aspects of their life.  After listening to their troubles, I asked about some of the cool projects they have going on. Within two sentences, they were back to complaining about trivial things.  We all need to share our troubles with friends or strangers from time to time, but don’t fall into the habit of turning conversations into your own personal dumping ground 100 percent of the time.  It’s an easy way to get attention, but it’s a poor way to keep it; and it’s a poor way to view your life.

 Cutting people off mid-sentence
If I were to be judged by a jury of my peers I'd be found guilty of this one big time. I don't talk a lot but when I find someone I feel super comfortable with I babble incessantly. When I engage in my babble sessions I tend to cut people off mid-sentence. Oopsie. The only time this is okay is when you’re in an intense brainstorming session.  Or you’ve got an urgent situation to attend to.  Or you haven’t seen your  friend in months...you get the gist.  Most of the time, interrupting just means that you’re missing the best parts of the conversation.  Plus, you’re showing your chat partner that you value your own thoughts over theirs. Yikes. Say it with me; I will not cut anyone off mid- sentence. Now the hard part begins, actually practicing what we preach. 
 Focusing on your inner monologue instead of the dialogue in front of you
I admit it, I've been guilty of doing this a lot. If you do this as much as I do then you'll know that after a while it becomes somewhat automatic. It'll take some effort to get out of this habit but it's worth the effort. Stay focused on the other person’s words and points.  People rarely mind when you say, “Hmm. Let me think about that for a second.”  Quite the opposite, since it shows that you’re taking the conversation seriously.  If you compose your answers while someone else is speaking, you’re really only having half a conversation. You owe it to yourself and the person you're talking to to stop for a bit and truly be engaged in the conversation. Might I suggest you read Just Listen, it's a great book. Don't think or judge, just listen.

Multi-tasking while you chat

Even if you are a professional multi-tasker, if you’re talking to someone, talk to them, and that’s it.  Don’t browse online, don’t watch TV, don’t update your to-do list, and please, don’t eat while you’re on the phone.  Whether they say so or not, most of the time it really annoys the person you’re talking to.  My mom constantly complains about me typing on my phone or on the computer while she speaks to me. In turn I hate the fact that she constantly eats while talking on the phone to me. We both promised to stop those bad multitasking habits with each other; so far so good. If you really don’t have the time to talk, be honest and find another time, or cut it short.

Not paying attention to the people you care about most

Pretending to listen while your mind wanders to your work day, etc.  Do you really think that your loved ones can’t tell? And even more importantly, they need you to listen sincerely and thoughtfully.  I know I'm not the only one out there that does this. There is no greater gift of love and no greater expression of caring that you can offer the special people in your life, than your undivided time and attention.  You need to remember that ‘love’ is listening, and everyone wants to be heard.   Read The 5 Love Languages. I know it's aimed at married couples but it's a great book for anyone interested in improving their relationships.

Constantly fishing for compliments

“Oh, I look terrible today.” – after someone compliments you.  “I just threw it together at the last minute.” – when you obviously dressed up.  “I’m really not good at things like this.” – when the people you’re with know you are.  Please.  Stop.  It’s annoying and not flattering. Just take the compliment and smile.  

De-emphasizing compliments with self-effacing remarks

It’s okay to say “thank you” when you’re complimented.  By making a self-effacing comment, you nearly force the other person to repeat their compliment, which is not a gracious thing to do.  Acknowledging a compliment isn’t snobby – like you’re admitting that you think you’re just grand – it’s a simple courtesy.  Besides, you earned it.  Saying “thank you” not only makes the other person feel good, it’s a healthy reminder that you’re responsible for some really good things in your life.

An un- supportive attitude

The greatest compliment you can give to someone is to believe in them and let them know you care.  When you see something good in someone, don’t hesitate to express your appreciation.  When you see something that isn't good in someone, don’t neglect to give them your wholehearted blessings and best wishes. Like my grandma always say, " If you've got nothing good to say then say nothing at all." 

Trying to please everyone

This one is all about keeping your sanity.  Man oh man this one plagued me for much of my adult life thus far. I've always felt the need to please everyone and most of the time I would keep my opinions to myself or bend over backwards in order to make everyone else but myself happy. No more darn it. No matter how loud their opinions are, others cannot choose who you are.  The question should not be, “Why don’t they like me?” it should be, “Why am I wasting all my time and energy worrying what they think of me?”  If you are not hurting anyone with your actions, keep moving forward with your life.  Be happy.  If others don’t like it, let them be.  Life isn’t about pleasing everybody. Trust me I've tried and it you'll drive yourself insane.  You'll never ever please everyone and you'll live a miserable life trying to.

Obviously we all slip up sometimes, so don’t berate yourself when you do.  I too have been guilty of every single one of these negative social habits, some more than others but I'm guilty of doing every single one of them from time to time. 

So with that said, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Any bad habits you’d like to add to the list? Please continue the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Live long and prosper
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