Are You Repelling People?

I have this acquaintance… let's call him Nicholas. That's not his real name, for reasons that are about to become glaringly obvious. You see, Nicholas repels people.


He's a genius. Yet it seems nobody wants to hear what he has to say…

He consumes and learns vast quantities of books, training videos, and seminars. He truly knows more about his chosen area of expertise than most of the official “experts” themselves.

Nicholas generously shares his knowledge with everyone he knows. He is constantly giving advice, feedback, and suggestions to his friends and coworkers.

In fact, it's just about impossible to get a word in edge-wise with Nicholas.

To be clear, he's not mean-spirited. He's funny, reasonably attractive, well-groomed, and there's nothing seemingly “off” about him.

Even though I like him, I find him hard to be around. Because I know every time we get together I'm going to get a lecture. He's going to point out some area where I'm “wrong”, all under the guise of helping me “get it right”.

Nicholas wonders why he has very few friends, and why so many of his relationships end in conflict and bad feelings. Seriously, he doesn't see what's obvious: he repels people.

What's the application?

If you're struggling to build a following online (or off-line, for that matter)… and if you can't figure out why that following isn't growing… this just might be the answer.

Constant lecturing, exhortation, and “correcting” people leaves them tired and discouraged. It also leaves them less than enthusiastic about being around you.

If you long to be a leader, but no one is following, it may be time to stop talking and start listening.

The antidote to repelling people is simple. Instead of looking for what is wrong with them, and seeking to correct that, try looking for what is right.

Encourage them. Stir up their hope, their faith in the future.

People are naturally drawn to someone who gives them hope. The more hope you create, the more influence you will have.


Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • These kinds of posts always make me nervous!

    “Seriously, he doesn’t see what’s obvious: he repels people.”

    It’s so hard to know the obvious — that’s not always obvious to us!

    Friends, point out the obvious in me so I won’t be oblivious!

    All the best,


  • Michael Hawkins


    I love the last three sentences of your post. It’s NOT about us. It’s about others.

    For me, that’s the true leadership quality: building up other people. Encourage them.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Kellen Carroll

    There are constructive ways to show people you are close with areas of needed improvement.

    The main one I think of is, asking leading questions. Far to often we neglect the art of asking the right question.

    Questions, when asked appropriately, are one of the most powerful tools we employ as leaders, husbands and fathers.

    What are some of your favorite questions to ask your clients?

  • I think I will keep my two ears open and my one mouth shut. Time to pay attention to and really hear others. Maybe it is time to check the level of hope I have as well… just to be sure I have plenty to give others!

    Thanks Ray!

  • I have an acquaintance like that in my life and I’ve recognized that they have a very strong gift, it’s called the gift of perception. They live in a very black and white world, things are right or they are wrong. They can easily perceive the truth behind any situation and they don’t hesitate to offer correction. Their heart is in the right place, but sometimes their diplomacy is lacking. Understanding that their motivation is to help, not to criticize, goes a long way in improving the relationship.

  • William McPeck

    So what have been your strategies with Nicholas Ray? How are you helping him to see what he can’t see?