Obnoxious comedians like Don Rickles and Lisa Lampanelli may be fun to listen to and laugh at, but people who act that way in real life may not have many friends. (Keep in mind that both comedians are reportedly very nice in their personal lives, knowing that their shock schtick is for their careers only.)
In your own life, you may be abrasive to others and not even realize it. Maybe your loved ones are used to it by now, or perhaps they are abrasive, too. Or perhaps they are afraid to give you constructive criticism, for fear of having some of your barbs directed towards them. Life coaches in Chicago and other cities have had to deal with issues like this, like helping people become less abrasive.
So how can you tell if you are too abrasive? Here are some tips:
Do you find yourself constantly getting in trouble for what you said?
If you get in hot water once for something you said that rubbed somebody else the wrong way, it is indeed possible that the person who took offense is being way too sensitive. If you get in hot water multiple times with multiple people, maybe it’s you.
Do you use profanity or slang?
You may think that cursing is no big deal, but others may not, and they may find your constant dropping of four-letter words annoying. The same goes if you use slang – while your friends may not care, your boss could think you are sounding ignorant.
How loud is your voice?
This is something I have had struggles with – I have a loud, strong voice which sounds great on radio interviews, but can get on others’ nerves in real life. Since my hearing isn’t the greatest, it is sometimes hard for me to realize how loud my own voice is. So I have had to work at modulating my voice to make sure that it is not irritating. It is something I have to remember to continually notice, so when I realize I might be getting too boisterous, I need to turn it down a notch. Perhaps you need to, as well.
Do you give compliments – or barbs?
Think about how many negative things you say during a day, vs. positive things. If all others around you hear are your “jokes” at their expense, or constant complaints, you could be getting on their last nerve. You don’t have to be a Pollyanna, but try to say nice things about others more often, and be more positive. Nobody wants to be around a Debbie Downer, or somebody who can never say nice things about anybody else.
Do you like to argue?
I like to argue and debate things myself, but I have to remind myself to keep most things on a good-natured level. You don’t want to lose your cool over minutia, and you want to be able to respect the other person’s opinions, even if they are different from yours. When things get too heated, here’s a phrase I have had to use more than once – and need to use more often: “We’ll have to agree to disagree.” And then move on to another, less controversial topic.
Do you talk too much?
It’s not all about you. If you find that you are flapping your gums all the time, chances are that others may see you as abrasive. Remember to listen to others, and stop monopolizing the conversation. Just being a good listener may help your reputation.
In summary, if you are indeed abrasive, there is help out there. You can talk to one of the many life coaches in Chicago or elsewhere to work on better ways at handling things. Click here to talk with life coaches in Chicago.
Lisa Swan writes for life, career, and executive coaching sites like Meredith Haberfeld.