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Damaging people

A simple New Year prayer: ‘O Lord, help me avoid the right people in 2013.’

People can damage our health. I recently saw a woman whose mother came to stay for five days. By the time she left, from being a cheerful sociable optimist my friend had become tetchy, closed-up and looked ten years older. Some people are energy-sappers; when they’re off sick for a couple of days, everyone in the office feels better. When they come to stay, it’s the Raw Fish Rule: ‘More than two days and things begin to stink.’

So who will be good for you this year and who won’t? Here are some creatures you may recognise, adaptable to various environments and each able to inflict nasty wounds on the unwary. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Henry Hindsight: Always there after the event to tell you what you should have done: ‘You see where you went wrong don’t you?’ A depressed soul, only able to function where there’s the sniff of failure. P.S. Don’t bring Henry your successes or happiness; he won’t know what to do with them.

Chill-Out and Move-On – Two self-helpy souls who get through life by avoiding reality rather than facing it. They say ‘Just move on’ because that’s easier than facing difficult things. They also say money isn’t important to them in their new consciousness; but don’t expect them to pay for the meal.

Seamus – Genuinely scary figure. ‘If only people knew you as you really are,’ he says, ‘they wouldn’t like you at all.’ Seamus stirs shame in you, the constant feeling that you’re not good enough, that there’s something fundamentally wrong. A killer whale is a kinder companion.

Chris the Consultant . Found on office training days facilitating discussions which lead nowhere except a desperate longing for the coffee break. Says things like: ‘Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.’ Chris loves ‘blue-sky thinking’, ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ and saying ‘I believe in people’ – at least the ones who agree with him.

Dee Straction: You’re talking to Dee in the pub – ‘Hi Honey, great to see you!’ she exclaims on meeting - but she’s only half-talking to you. She answers the phone while you’re in mid-sentence, watches out for someone more interesting and keeps checking her Facebook page. (By the way, she called you ‘Honey’ because she’s forgotten your name.)

But here’s someone you will want to meet!

Sunny – She’s on your side. It doesn’t mean she’ll always tells you what you want to hear, but she’s got no agenda other than your well-being. She listens well, gently holds your jagged edges when they appear and sees the good in you that you’d lost sight of and the genius you never knew you had.

I hope you have a very happy 2013; and for a final wish, instead of ‘Go well’, ‘Know well.’



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