You know the feeling. You have a new business idea, personal breakthrough or have gotten great feedback on your recent hard work. In your excitement, you reach out to some of your friends and colleagues to share your news. 10 minutes later, you find yourself questioning your idea and feeling oddly deflated about your success. What has happened? Chances are, you have just spent time with a confidence crusher.
Confidence crushers are people who either can’t handle change, have denied their own passion or are stuck in a negative mindset about life’s possibilities. Most of the time their responses point back to their own fear; the kind of fear that compels them to react in less then positive way to your happiness. No matter the reason, it doesn’t feel good when you encounter them.
So, when it comes to sharing your dreams and accomplishments, it’s important to choose wisely. Here are three ways to spot a confidence crusher.
Teasing. Confidence crushers use sarcasm and teasing to deflate good news. They might say things such as “Look at you climbing the corporate ladder while the rest of us stay behind” or “Well now that your starting your own company, I guess you won’t take my calls anymore”. Though couched as “humor” there is jealousy tucked inside the teasing and it reflects back to the discomfort someone has with your personal or professional success.
Negative Statements. Confidence Crushers lead with negative remarks. They can’t rise to the occasion because they are stuck in their own negative mindset. This chronic negativity causes them to respond without regard for your feelings. They might react to your news by saying, “That will never happen for me” or “I would never get married again even if you paid me” or “I guess you know what your doing but I wouldn’t take the risk in today’s economy”.
Immediate Questions. Crushers tend to focus on what’s wrong with the picture you’re presenting, rather than what’s right. (This is different from someone who hears your good news and then asks if they can give you feedback). Confidence crushers don’t ask permission, they simply launch into non-supportive question in order to poke holes into whatever you have shared. Questions such as, “Why would you leave your job?” or “Don’t you find it odd that you are getting a promotion when you haven’t been there that long?’ or “Do you really know that person well enough to marry them?”
When you run into a confidence crusher, avoid trying to justify your success or personal happiness. Most crushers aren’t really interested in hearing your good news. Keep the interaction to a minimum and celebrate with people who will be genuinely happy for you. They’re out there.
This story originally appeared on LinkedIn
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