3 core skills for avoiding problem people

There seem to be just a few key differences between individuals who are good at spotting and avoiding destructive and problematic people, and those who repeatedly get zapped:

  1. Competent people-evaluators notice how they feel around others, and get closer or withdraw in response.This gets them away from people who treat them poorly, and closer to people who treat them well. Over time, their life becomes filled with good people.
    Ineffective people-evaluators have learned to ignore, dismiss, or devalue certain information, including problem behaviors in others and troubling emotional responses in themselves. Even when they do notice problems, these individuals tend to get upset and complain, but not move away. That sends problem people the nonverbal message that it is acceptable to continue their problem behavior.

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4 ways to bring out the best in any lover

One of the tricks to finding great lovers is bringing out the best in other people. Bring out people’s kind and generous side, and you get to be around kind, generous people. Bring out a person’s red-hot inner lover, and you both get to have a great time.

I’ve learned to bring out the great lover in MOST of the guys and gals I play with by how I respond. You can learn to do this too. Here are the basics:

  1. Help people feel good when they’re around you. Instead of blaming or criticizing, focus on what does work and give sincere complements. When your lover does things you like, respond in a positive way, with praise, smiles, loving touch, or other positive feedback. Make sure you use responses your partner finds rewarding, rather than assuming what you like works for them.
  2. Clearly communicate what you want. Your lover is not a mind-reader. Rather than making him or her guess, be specific. (And ask, don’t demand.) Many guys and gals are desperate for clear requests and feedback from the opposite sex, and they’ll adore a partner who provides it.

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How to pick great lovers

“MrCunningLinguist” asked:

How do women select great lovers aka whats the criteria?
What are the secrets of selecting a great lover?

As a woman, I have always had far more positive sexual experiences than negative ones. Now that I have good “people radar”, my sexual experiences are usually good to fantastic, even with new or inexperienced partners. I’ve learned how to be a good lover, and how to bring out the great lover in my partners. It’s a lovely combination!

Below is what works for me. I’ll add updates as people comment and give me ideas. ;-)

How to pick a great lover

Key concepts:

  • Understand that you seek a lover who is great FOR YOU, not some generic “great” lover. For instance, a person who wants 1/10 the sex you want, or 10 times as much, may match another partner’s sex drive perfectly — but that person is not a good match for your sex drive.

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Nice Person Syndrome

by Jack Morin

Some of us are strongly influenced by a destructive pattern called the Nice Person Syndrome, which distorts or totally blocks effective communication. The Nice Person Syndrome is an exaggerated role adopted during childhood as a means of getting approval and affection. Nice People are carefully trained to be good boys and girls at all costs. They’re steeped too soon and heavily in the values of unselfishness, cooperation, and pleasing others. They grow up inclined to defer to the wishes of others and to put their own desires in second place, or ignore them all together.

I use the word Nice (capital N) to describe adults who still act like good boys and girls. Such people are often highly intuitive but they use their sensitivity mostly for the purpose of discerning what’s expected of them. They have a profound need to be liked and will violate, if necessary, their own integrity for even the possibility of love and affection. Ironically, they usually are accepted and well-liked, but they’re not satisfied because they know they’ve withheld something of their true identity. As a result, Nice People often live in fear that nobody will ever truly love them — including their imperfections and blemishes. They’re convinced they must be perfect yet they’re constantly and painfully aware that they’re not. Not surprisingly, they often exhibit bodily signs … of an unrelenting inner conflict.

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How to avoid problem people

Originally posted to a members-only website, this post got over 180 comments (mostly positive), over 100 likes, and many requests to post it publicly where readers can refer their friends and family. So here it is. This page always contains the most recent article version (currently version 3.4), so send your friends here.

Want to print, link to, quote, or reprint this post? Read this.


You’ve known good people. You’ve probably also known some obvious “bad apples.” But for many of us, the biggest problems come from friends, colleagues, and dating partners who seem okay at first, then end up causing major and unnecessary disruption, drama, and disaster.

I’m not talking about good people who sometimes make mistakes, but then try to put things right. Everybody makes mistakes. And I’m not talking about good people who struggle to cope with big problems like depression, failing health, failing relationships, family problems, single parenthood, Alzheimer’s, mental problems, or mood disorders. Everybody I know has some significant problems and issues. No, I’m talking about people who repeatedly cause major life problems, harm, and trauma to those around them, either deliberately or unintentionally. People who do things such as:

  • sleep around without telling you and without using protection, and give you an STD
  • become emotionally or physically abusive, or molest your kids
  • claim they have a vasectomy or tubal, then you or they end up pregnant
  • dump you without warning, while you are in the hospital or otherwise emotionally vulnerable
  • tell your friends, family, and social network lies that damage your reputation and relationships.

These people are “emotional leeches” — sometimes called “emotional vampires” or “toxic people.”

The bad news: Emotional leeches are all around us. The number of people with serious personality and mental problems likely to cause problems for others is significant — at least 1 in 16. [1] Add in the people who are simply hostile, clueless, manipulative, addicted, violent, or destructive, and you get a much larger number.

The good news: You can learn to detect and screen out most emotional leeches before they disrupt your life or damage you.

And you can do this based on their behaviors, without needing to label or judge them. This article explains how.

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