Gain or Drain


Lesson:We’ve all heard the question, “What type of company do you keep?” I’d like to push that question a little further and ask, “What type of company are you?”

Are you the type of person that energizes others, lifts them up, encourages them and makes them smile? Do people just feel good, like they’ve gained an extra boost for life after they’ve spent time with you? Or, are you the type of person that is totally draining, with complaints, negativity, and a sour attitude? Are people trying to get away from you as quickly as possible after talking to you for a few minutes?

Now I’m sure that most people reading this feel like others have gained after spending time with them. Hopefully when people leave most of us, they feel like they have gained some joy, some wisdom, some love, some positive energy, some insight, etc. But just in case you know that you are the type of person that can be draining, here are 5 conversational habits to avoid that tendency:

1-Being Sarcastic: Being sarcastic is overrated! I know that people often feel as though they are being “witty,” but it can be a real downer for people on the other end of that sarcasm. A lot of times people don’t understand our sarcasm anyway so it’s probably best just to keep it to ourselves.

2-Being Critical: No one wants to be in the company of someone who is always criticizing something others are saying or doing. I’m not suggesting that every conversation you have with someone has to be “peaches and cream.” There are times when we all need feedback and constructive criticism. However, giving constructive criticism is not easy to do positively, so make sure that you have mastered how to do this lovingly before you attempt to give it.

3-Being a Gossiper: This can be a hidden drainer that we don’t realize is happening until we are already in the thick of it. Gossiping comes in many shapes and sizes. The blatant gossiper is more obvious and many of us think if we’re not this type of person then we’re good to go. But that may not be the case. Gossip can be disguised as, “I’m concerned about this person so let’s talk about their issues” or “I want you to be informed about this, so let me air this ‘dirty laundry.’” Whatever the case, gossip is gossip and all of it can be draining.

4-Being the Victim: Now let me be delicate with this one because I don’t want it to come off the wrong way. We all have things that happen to us in life and we just need someone to be there for us to hear us vent and share our feelings. I believe that is needed and appropriate at times. Holding everything in isn’t healthy for anyone. However, there is a healthy balance that has to come with that or it can be very draining. You don’t want to be the person that always has the “woe is me” theme going on every time someone has a conversation with you. Try to be mindful of how often you vent to one person just to be sure you aren’t overwhelming them or draining their energy.

5- Being the Faultfinder: I think we all are aware of the many problems and issues in the world, and I am not suggesting we put our heads in the sand and pretend everything is great when it isn’t. But most of us don’t want to be in the company of the person that finds fault and flaws with everything and everybody in the world. It’s one thing to address problems and concerns in order to brainstorm solutions, which can be productive. However, it’s another thing to just rant on and on about problems. That is very draining.

Application: Have an honest moment of reflection and ask yourself if you have the tendency to exhibit any of the 5 conversational habits above. If you do, then be intentional about replacing those habits with something positive the next time you have a conversation with someone.


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