No matter where you go in life, you're sure to find people who seem to make it their life's joy to make you angry. They probably don't even realize what they are doing... it just comes naturally. Two conflicting personalities at work.

I find it fun to think of people who you can't stand the most, then think of their spouses, friends, or children who love and support them, and probably don't have the faintest clue that you think they are an ass.

I remember the first time I met my ex-wife, she found me rude and annoying. I was teaching a card game to a group of kids after church and she came up to talk to one of the girls, the daughter of her best friend. Here I was trying to herd cats, so to speak, and I finally got everybody to listen to the rules when she interrupts not once, but twice.

So I stopped talking and (politely) waited for her to finish her conversation before resuming my discourse of the rules of "idiot". According to her, however, I was the idiot. She interpreted my silence as a glare that said "how dare you interrupt me!"

She stayed well clear of me for some time after that. But, it wasn't long until she was around me enough to see the charm and wit hidden underneath the "rude" behavior demeanor I portrayed. For a while at least.

There is no doubt that I could have reacted differently during that interaction. The same is likely true of most people that we find irritating. Most of the time it's minor personality flaws that just don't allow us to see eye to eye.

Life dishes these people out to us through business, related friendships, social events, on the beach, and even church. In your personal life you have some control over who you interact with. Not so much in business.

In his book High Maintenance Relationships, Les Parrot discusses several types of people that have personalities that tend to get under our skin:

Critics who constantly complain or give unwanted advice.
Martyrs who are forever the victim and wracked with self-pity.
Wet blankets who are pessimistic and habitually negative.
Steamrollers who are blindly insensitive to others.
Gossips who spread rumors and leak secrets.
Control freaks who are unable to let go and let things be.
Back-stabbers who are two-faced.
Green-eyed monsters who seethe with envy.
Volcanoes who build steam and are always ready to erupt.
Sponges who are always needy and never give anything back.
Competitors who always keep track of tit-for-tat.

Many books have been written about how to deal with or prevent hostile work environments. The book, The No Asshole Rule talks about having a completely asshole-free work environment. It talks about how to deal with these people, and the solution generally comes down to firing them.

But what this and other books often overlook is how not to be one of these 11 types of people. We can learn how to be better managers, better communicators, better leaders, better workers and whatever else. We can read books on how to create a more productive work environment, how to reward your employees or make your co-workers feel special.

But often the best advice for any manager boils down to one thing:

Don't be that guy!

I can see myself in any number of these personality types, and I'm sure many of my friends and colleagues do to. So, what can I do? Recognize which tendencies I have, and make a deliberate effort to act contrary to my nature.

This is crucial for anyone looking to get ahead in business, whether you're an employee, manager, or business owner. Continuing with any of these 11 personality traits simply makes people not want to work with or for you.

The more you temper your personality to be the type of person that people want to be around, the better success you'll have in your relationships and life and business in general.

July 13, 2010

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


I would like to add 'Ego-Maniacs' to the list. Those people that walk around with a real chip on their shoulder yet ultimately have nothing to be proud of. The kind of chaps that Patrick Bateman 'dealt with' in American Psycho.

Can I add the "Resentful Helper"? This person will always say "yes" but they will resent you, hate you, talk bad about you, and never let you forget that you needed their help. They will build this resentment forever until you can't even stand to be in the same room as them because they throw flaming eye daggers at you every time they see you.

I say if you don't want to help, just say No. (It kind of falls under the Martyr category a little bit)

Nice article!
Yes there are lots for different kinds of in this world.
But i m always follow one rule in my life with all kind of people.... that is:
"Listen to everyone and remember also but don't react. And when get a right time with right topic on right place give back to him/her whatever you get from him/her."

And then there's the drama queen, the best of which can mix and match from all of the above.

I can see myself in any number of these personality types, and I'm sure many of my friends and colleagues do to. So, what can I do? Recognize which tendencies I have, and make a deliberate effort to act contrary to my nature.
This is so important. It sounds a little like faking it, but it's not. In practice, once you let your crap dictate your direction, all you get is more compost. Eventually, ya gotta turn it over and plant.

Good article Stoney, however, you describe almost every negativity that will get a persons blood rising - however, what about the "over-keen", those that are too willing yet become an agitation because of their need to help - I know I'm going to come over as a grumpy sod - but life does that to you - especially, when you have had a few "over-keen" little sods under your feet, ready to jump at any second to prove you wrong.

I used to be such a nice guy till I turned 40 - [growl].

Awesome Post. I have been pissed off by Critics, Wet blankets, Gossips, Green eyed monsters, and volcanoes. And envy at work place is so common there are courses out there on hoe to mange those Green eyed monsters at workplaces.

Nice article. Those kind of people who get to our nerves especially the wet blankets, green-eyed monster and back stabbers are the ones who have unhappy disposition in life.

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