Monday, July 29, 2013

Cling-Ons ...

For the five Mondays in July, we'll deal with dealing with one type of difficult person.

The last post in this series is about Cling-Ons ... not to be confused with the Klingons from Star Trek (for my Trekkies out there). Cling-ons are people who hang on to you, follow your decisions and agree with you on everything. These are also known as Yes Men (or women).

Some people like to be surrounded by Cling-ons. It makes them feel important. Celebrities who travel with an entourage are surrounded by this type. I once dated (briefly) a very successful athlete who was surrounded by them. The sad thing is all of these years later, after his career fizzled and he became pretty much a caricature of himself, I believe he's still surrounded by them. I can't help but think what his life would have been like if someone had stood up to him, challenged some of his very bad decisions or just had the guts to tell him 'no'.

His story is a cautionary tale of what is wrong with Cling-ons. At first glance, they seem harmless. All of us should know how to lead and to follow. Most of us are comfortable with one role over the other and Cling-ons are the followers. You can't have too many cooks in the kitchen right? To an extent, that is true. However, there are times in all of our lives when we need a reality-check.

I got one from one of my best friends the other day. I had an important decision I had to make. For this decision to work, I would have to be very strict with my finances, and although I have made progress in this area, for me, it is still my Achilles Heel. She stopped me in my tracks and said, "I love you to death but there is no way you are going to do that. Think about it. Who are we talking about here." She was right. There was no arguing about it. She gave me a cold dose of reality that I needed. It helped me make, what I believe, was the right decision.

She came from a place of love and it made all of the difference. She didn't just agree with me. She didn't just go along because she thought that was what I wanted, she told me the truth and very well saved me from some dire consequences down the line.

If there is a Cling-on or two in your circle, recognize them for what they are - just don't rely on their opinions when it comes to decision-making or when you need an honest answer. They might be a great shoulder for you to lean on but recognize their strengths and their weaknesses.

If your circle is made up of Cling-ons then your work is a little harder. You need to ask yourself why you feel the need to surround yourself with people who will follow you regardless of what you do. Sometimes there can be underlying insecurities or needs that haven't been met. Then again, maybe you just like this type of person, either way, you need to take a real look at yourself before you make that decision.

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