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To paraphrase Scott Adams in his book The Dilbert Principle – A Cubicle’s-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions- fire all the jerks. Sometimes it isn’t you, it’s them.


Naturally, the response to that would be “But can’t we carve out the path of a relationship? Why give up so early?” It’s really up to you whether you wish to invest time and energy into changing a person for a better. Sometimes, it isn’t worth it. How do you know if it isn’t worth it? Well, here we go.


Tell-tale Signs of Bad Relationships


1) Self-Centered Folks


Why it’s bad: A sense of self-worth is rarely a bad thing, but the inability of a person to think beyond their own being is something to watch out for. In a business context, this is a person that will prey on others to further their own goals. Good for them –bad for mutual growth in the workplace.


Worst still, these are folks that really have little to offer others. Their mental calculus is skewed. Helping you is a big thing, but your help to them is seen as trivial. Your relationship with them goes only as far as you are a useful asset to them.


Spotting them: Gauge their reactions when you ask for (reasonable) help. Normal people don’t make much of a fuss. Self-centered people weasel their way out. Also, observe how they interact with you. In many cases, conversations are centered on their life. They rarely ask questions relating to you.


2) Close-Minded People


Why it’s bad: They are never wrong, even when they are. Close-minded people are toxic to relationships. Business-wise, they resist change and have trouble accepting views from others. This limits discussion and dialogue which are integral to growing and maturing a relationship.


Everyone is closed off to certain ideas –there are some things off the table for discussion. However, this group of people actively resists new ideas regardless of topic. They have a mentality of rejection that states they are always right, even if they can’t debate and prove otherwise.


Spotting them: Challenge their beliefs (rationally) and watch as they isolate themselves from discussion or pan you for “attacking” them. Discussion with these folks often ends with them using a silver bullet to answer any questions on their ideals. Discussion doesn’t progress; instead their reasoning falls back onto the same responses. Even when those responses are refuted, they still rely on them. Nothing changes them, and if it does, they’re sour about it.


These are just two tell-tale signs of relationships you should be wary of. This isn’t to say that anyone who displays these characteristics should be automatically ditched. Rather, proceed with caution. We all display these characteristics to a certain extent, and at different times depending on our mood and circumstances. A true jerk either displays a few bad characteristics, or one to a severe degree; most of the time, they consistently showcase these attributes regardless of mood.


When managing relationships, it’s crucial to know what you’re getting into. Don’t place yourself as the victim of fate and circumstance; know who you know.


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