An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of heartache
I received many grateful emails regarding my Usable Insight: The Learned Person. Several people said that what got to them most was not just seven specific qualities they could aspire to, but also the realization of how the opposite of these qualities could cause you to be a “golem.” One person told me that perhaps a simpler word for having those negative qualities was being a “taker.” That response as well as rereading the chapter, “Steer Clear of Toxic People” in my new book, “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM, $24.95) caused me to realize that before you can “Steer clear of toxic people” or “Just say, ‘No,’ to takers,” it would be helpful to recognize them before they take from you (Are you listening Erin Woods and Elizabeth Edwards?).
How do you recognize takers? The best way to recognize a taker is to make the most of the hindsight you will beat yourself up with, the next time you’re taken from by one of them.
Think of the last time this happened to you. Was it when you paid money to someone for something you never received? Was it when you gave someone who hurt you for the tenth time, an eleventh chance to do it again, and then they did? Was it when you gave your employee a second chance to get their work in on time, and they again failed to do so? Was it when you gave your boy friend or girl friend another chance to meet you on time and again they were thirty minutes late? Or was it when you truly believed that “sure fire” guaranteed offer that sounded too-good-to-be-true that turned out too good to be true?
Where do you find takers? Takers cross all socioeconomic, age, gender, ethnic, personal, occupational, and familial boundaries. There are taker husbands and taker wives; taker parents and taker children; taker brothers and taker sisters; taker friends and taker foes; taker neighbors and taker strangers; taker bosses and taker employees; taker young and taker old; taker Caucasians and taker African Americans; taker Asians and taker Europeans; taker New Yorkers and taker Californians; taker intellectuals and taker anti-intellectuals and taker writers and taker readers. (Fortunately, givers also cross all these boundaries, but more about that later).
What are some of the qualities present in most takers?
25 Warning Signals That You’re Dealing With a TAKER
This list can be discouraging. You may be hard pressed to think of many people who don’t show at least some of these characteristics. More upsetting is that you will probably find yourself owning up to at least a few of these qualities. Take a breather now if this list is too upsetting, but come back later if in your heart, you know it’s true. Don’t become paranoid, but do become mindful of people with these qualities and just say, “No,” before you become involved with them.