I’ve talked about how to get over the fact that someone doesn’t want you in his or her network. Now, I want to turn your attention to the people who shouldn’t be in your inner circle. And I’m not talking about being rude to these people and forming, as Marcy Twete called it, an adult clique. What I mean is for you to watch out for these people — and to not rely on them as you do your big supporters.
That said, here are the people not to keep in your network:
- The sleazy salesman. I’ve seen a lot of these types at networking events. These are the people who constantly call or send text messages, and say things like “I have something urgent to talk to you about. Call me right away.” When you call back, they give you a sales pitch. They contact you only when they need to sell a little more product or push a service. Beware.
- The gossip girl (or guy). Whenever you see this person, she only wants to talk about what she’s heard about other people. Before you know it, she’s pressing to hear all about what’s going on in your life these days. Again — beware.
- The tease. I always hate this word, but I mean this to apply to networking. To me, this is the person who always says “I’ll call you next week,” or “Let’s have coffee soon,” and you never see or hear from them until you happen to run into them at the next event. If this person really wanted to make the time for you, she would. Yes, everyone gets busy, but if you never hear from her, don’t consider her a strong or close connection on which you can rely.
- The unavailable. You contact these people or reach out to them in some way and they consistently never respond. Just like with dating, it’s time to move on. The same goes for people who always say they’re just so “busy” right now.
- The partier. This is the person who is only around for the good times. When you are doing well in your career and have recently advanced, this person is constantly wanting to meet up and connect. When you need something, however, this person never seems to be available.
- The indirect-insult comic. This tends to be a negative person, or the person who is always making sarcastic comments that are some sort of indirect insult. She was smiling at you the whole time, yet you always seem to walk away from her feeling worse about yourself… Only interact with this person when absolutely necessary.
What other types have you run into that you’ve needed to avoid? I’m sure I’m missing a few! Always make sure that any relationship you have is mutually beneficial, and that one person isn’t taking more from the other. Don’t be afraid to sever a toxic relationship.