It was Booker T. Washington who once said, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” Too often we have people that cling to our lives like barnacles on the bottom of a boat, simply because we don’t pay attention to the impact that they really have on us.
As I pointed out in the article 4 People No One Needs in Their Life, I bet that you have at least one of the following people in your life.
The question becomes: Why?
The Sponge is characterized by their need to suck the life out of everything around them. Often times for the Sponge, they don’t do it consciously, it just kind of happens. At the core of the Sponge is a need for everyone around them to be as miserable as they are, so any chance to for levity, excitement, or enjoyment quickly becomes a chance to ruin the experience for anyone involved. Chances are, if you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, you can find a Sponge in the first page.
The Seeker is very similar to the Sponge, in that their ultimate goal is shared misery. The difference is: with the seeker when they don’t have something to be upset about – they go out and find one. They will even go as far as to make up excuses to be mad or upset, simply for the sake of being mad or upset. The seeker is often very much like a “Cat Person” in their actions, and associated guilt trips.
The Expert is a person who seeks validation from others by seemingly knowing everything there is to know about a given subject. These are the people that have the google widget displayed predominantly on the home screen of their smartphone in the event that they can highjack a conversation with their “knowledge”. It becomes a display of dominance via an internet connection, or in some cases – pure bullshit. The real defining property of an Expert is their need to dominate conversations, the less significant, the better. Another fun aspect of the Expert is often to give advice on subjects that they have no experience with – to people that don’t need it.
Again, the Judge is similar to the Expert, in that their actions are ultimately an expression of validation. The Judge takes the opportunity to project their opinions, values, and beliefs on anyone and everything around them in an effort to validate themselves. Judges are often also miserable people, not unlike the Sponge, and carry a lot of the same behaviors. By looking down on everyone and everything from their self-created “pedestal”, the Judge builds a false sense of superiority.
As I pointed out before, I know that no one is perfect. I think we all have some of the characteristics in us to some extent. The difference is being aware of these behaviors in others and in ourselves. We truly are an extension of the company we keep.