MY WRITING SUCCESS TOOLS TO HELP YOU CRUSH THE GAME

by Sean Kernan

These programs will help put your editing and content production on track.

Picture a woman writing marker notes on a glass door with post-it notes around it.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that writers have no use for tools or gear. I make my living writing and spend hours at the keyboard. I’ve found a great set of software and equipment that I still use every day.

The best writing tools are the ones you enjoy using and that are built to get things done quickly and efficiently. If you are serious about becoming a professional writer, it’s worth considering the following options.

Capturing and saving ideas for later

My best articles are usually the result of ideas that seemingly fell out of the sky. I can’t replicate how it happened. It feels random and it’s frustrating. I’ll agonize to myself, “Why can’t I think of a funny idea like that one from earlier?” I do know ideas come from a certain mode my brain gets into. I have a terrible memory and have found it’s of absolute, paramount importance to write down even mediocre ideas. They often evolve into better concepts.

I use a free sticky notes app on my phone. One sticky is just for random ideas. The other stickies are categorized for specific articles. I find that ideas surface when I’m doing something repetitive and passive, like walking, or cleaning. There’s also a voice-to-text feature that is good for jotting ideas if you are bad at writing on your phone.

Programs for writing articles

Grammarly is still a valuable resource for typos. The premium version justifies itself and sends you wordcount recaps each week to track productivity. I’ve also found one trick with their corrections. If it is trying to correct a phrase or word that isn’t actually a typo, that often means your wording is a bit foggy and inefficient. Consider rephrasing the entire sentence.

Grammarly won’t catch everything. You’ll still need to read the article out loud to maximize your editing. I’m introverted and don’t like talking a lot, even by myself. I lose my voice easily and get a sore throat. I often use text reading software, such as Natural Readers. I’ll put this in one window, paste my article in, then follow along making edits while it reads my article to me.

Help for writing and ghostwriting books

I’d heard so many polarizing opinions about Scrivener. People either despise it or can’t live without it. I’m a bit old-school and thought deviating from Word was a fool’s errand until I found myself on a project I couldn’t wrangle.

I was ghostwriting a novel for a high-paying client. I was getting input from so many different sources: friends, exes, bosses, employees. Every conversation was more chaotic than the next. I was left scratching my head thinking, “How in the heck am I going to string this together?” People assume that ghostwriting clients come in and know exactly what they want for their book. The truth is closer to, “I’ve had a cool life. I want to share it with everyone. You can write it.”

A writer told me the signature benefit of Scrivener: organization. You can separate your writing out into modules and sections and have all sorts of notes. This became unbelievably helpful while I was dealing with the chaos. Scrolling through a hundred pages of random stories was unsustainable.

Article and content imagery

Initially, I was using the popular royalty-free images on Pexels and Unsplash. The problem with these images is that they are common. When readers see the same image they’ve seen over and over again, they glaze over and move on. If you can’t afford to buy your images, I strongly recommend you scroll further down before choosing your image. The images at the top are often overused.

If you can spend a few bucks, I strongly recommend using iStock photos or Adobe Stock photos. I love having access to images that most people don’t use. The pictures are considerably better and more tasteful. It’s also a tax-deductible expense so it makes sense.

Office equipment and extras

I’m a rather tall guy and don’t like scrunching up so I bought an adjustable desk, PC, and giant monitor to write on. The idea of spending all day on a laptop makes me shudder. I also have great hardware on the computer so that I can run multiple tabs and programs while I write. Investing in a solid-state drive will make any computer instantly faster than you thought possible. There’s no reason to have a computer that sounds like a lawnmower as it groans to open a new chrome tab.

I also bought a very comfortable chair that helps my posture. Everyone’s body is different, but you should be considering your physical comfort while writing. Hunching over a laptop on your couch isn’t a way to live. If you have a backache while working, something is wrong. Much of this has to do with head positioning. I love having a massive monitor that is right at eye level so I’m not looking down or up and signing myself up for pain.

The key takeaway is that you should be mindful of the programs you are using while you write. There are very real ways to make your writing better and more efficient. Ultimately, your ability to continue writing, stay critical of your work, and get feedback from others will determine your success.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the value of extras.

AMERICA IS A DEEPLY UNWELL SOCIETY


Going Back to “Normal” In a Broken Society Was Never Going to Be Good Enough
by umair haque

The picture above (missing for this post).
Kids are pretending to die in an “active shooter drill,” as men with guns pretend to kill them. I bring it up because America’s had another shooting. That’s two in two weeks. That’s six so far this year. Things are going back to normal, my friends tell me. I don’t want to say what I think back to them: normal in America was already dystopian. And now, perhaps, you see the flaw in the logic of “things can just go back to normal.”


America is a deeply unwell society. What was “normal” — before the overt fascism of the Trump years? School shootings and mass murders. Kids having to pretend to die as masked men burst in and shot them with blanks — “active shooter drills.” Can you imagine what it does to a kid to have to pretend to be shot? To die? Then there was the “student debt,” the “medical bankruptcy,” people begging strangers online for money to pay for bills. All that was normal.


But a society like that is not normal. It’s just that all that has been normalised in America. What is all “that,” though? I want to explain it in a different way to you.


When my European friends visit America, or live there, or when I return to America, having lived so long in Europe, what strikes us is this. How mean and cruel and brutal American life is. American culture is. In Spain and France, friends — or just strangers — will greet each other with kisses and an embrace. That’s not some kind of pointless anecdote. There is real human warmth in these cultures. In America, it seems to have gone missing entirely.


Nobody is really friendly in America. I know they think they are, but they’re not. Americans don’t seem to know what is to be gentle, warm, kind. Hug and kiss an American and they’d probably think you were crazy, or maybe try to shoot you. Go to the store, the airport, school — anywhere — and simple social interactions are bizarre, dehumanizing, alienated things of people barking orders at each other. To Canadians, Europeans, Asians — literally the whole world — this way of being is deeply bizarre.
You can feel anger and rage pulsing through America like a shockwave. If you’ve lived elsewhere.

Nobody will be nice to anyone, really, kind, gentle, warm. It’s exhausting, wearying, depressing, if you can sense it. Americans have mostly lived no other way, so they can’t. But if you have — it shakes you. The aggression and hostility of American life is omnipresent — literally everywhere, inescapable, ubiquitous. At school, at the workplace, at the university — thanks frats — at the office, in church. There is nowhere you can go in American life to escape the shockwave of aggression surging through it.


Why do I bring all that up? Am I just condemning Americans? Of course not. I am diagnosing a certain kind of social illness. Rage.


It’s true that guns are a big problem, and I’d never want you to think that I’m not on the side of gun control. Of course I am. But beneath the surface of guns, there is a culture of omnipresent aggression, brutality, cruelty. That has resulted in a culture of rage.


Where do you see the culture of rage? Where don’t you? Turn on the cable news, and you’ll see talking heads screaming at each other. American pop culture is movies about death on an epic scale and video games where people just kill each other. Am I saying movies and video games are to “blame” for mass shootings? Of course not. But I am saying so much rage and anger and violence are signs of a deeply unwell society. In a very precise and technical and formal way.


What is it that makes American so angry, so aggressive, so hostile, so cruel? Why is it that that’s the very first thing anyone not from America notices — and why the world, for example, rolls its eyes at American tourists?


What’s immediately apparent to anyone from elsewhere is that Americans have reduced each other to commodities. In Europe or Canada, life is completely different. Schools are not just little arenas of violence, where kids are encouraged to compete brutally, for sports trophies or grades. The result is that there is less bullying — and far, far less violence like school shootings. The workplace isn’t like a prison — a place you have to go to have healthcare and retirement — because of course everyone already has those basics. University isn’t dominated by the stupidity and ignorance and violence of fraternities. Profit isn’t the sole motive of every aspect of human existence.


I could go on endlessly. The point is this. Take the example of going to the store. In America, you can go to the same Starbucks forever — and never know a thing about anyone who ever works there or goes there. That would violate a social norm. In Europe, you can’t not be friends with people, at least if you go to your neighbourhood bistro or cafe. That would violate the norm. American life is completely atomized, and because it is atomized, it has been dehumanized. What does that lead to?


America is a society that has undergone an almost complete process of social disintegration. Social bonds are almost entirely nonexistent anymore. Way back in the 90s, sociologist James Putnam began documenting this startling collapse of social bonds, in his famous Bowling Alone. In Holland, the number of people who think that most people can be trusted is almost 70%.

In America, it’s half that: just 35%. And that almost certainly overstates the number, because people tend to be polite in surveys.


Think about that for a second. Just three people out of every ten in America trust the rest. But can you blame them? I can’t.


Think about American life for a second. What is it, if we really think about it? It’s an endless war, a battle, a life-and-death contest, that you have to wake up and engage in day after day, every day, your whole life long, just to have the basics. Want healthcare? Want a tiny bit of money? Want to be able to have a place to live and pay the bills? Then you have to go out there and compete with everyone else for a “job.” That means, in plain English, some morsel of pointless work, whose only real purpose is to make billionaires richer. And you don’t even get a fair share of that.


American life is a bitter, bruising, endless life-and-death contest. For things that people in every other rich country, and plenty of poor ones, simply give each other. Healthcare, medicine, retirement, education, income, housing, transportation, utilities. Americans have to compete with everyone else just to have a tiny, tiny share of those things. And if they don’t compete, they don’t get them, which means they’re left to die. If they can’t compete, or if they don’t win this game, even on some tiny level, again, they’re left to die.


Existence itself has become a battle in America. So who can blame Americans for not trusting each other? They are made to regard each other as adversaries, enemies, competitors, rivals. For the basics of life, whether money, food, water, or shelter. That is the way America is “institutionally structured,” which is a fancy way of saying “set up.”


But turning life into an endless life and death contest for the basics, where if you lose, you die — it has a price. When you’re forced to regard everyone else as an enemy, rival, competitor, adversary — they can’t also be your friend. Ally. Partner.


Sure, you can pretend they are — with that weird fake plastic mean smile Americans are famous for. But that’s just a game of make-believe. Americans are made to regard each other was enemies, so, unfortunately, they can’t be friends.


That is why America has undergone a process of social disintegration. That is why it feels so bleak and brutal and cruel. It’s why when someone like me or my European or Canadian friends visit or move, they feel alienated, weirded out, estranged. Nobody’s genuinely friendly, and everybody’s angry and cruel all the time, and strangest of all, they don’t know it.


What my Canadian and European friends are baffled by is this. Why do Americans live this way? All the things they’re made to compete with each other for aren’t really in short supply. They are just kept in a condition of artificial scarcity. There’s no real shortage of houses, or money, or work. It’s just that these things are kept artificially scarce, by America’s weird, failed systems. Hedge funds buy entire neighbourhoods and demolish houses — while Americans go homeless. Billionaires like Bezos and Zuck have all the money — while the average American lives pay check to pay check and dies in debt, just like a neo-serf. There’s no shortage of insulin — it’s just made cruelly, fatally unaffordable because corporations need to perpetually jack up their profits, into infinity.


Americans are made to live the way they do — a bleak, brutal existence of competition and adversariality — because their failed systems make them. In that way, America’s worse than the Soviet Union right now. The Soviet Union really did have shortages of basics. America doesn’t. Americans live this way — in a state of perpetual competition for the basics — because that’s the way they’ve been told is a good and just and noble way to live.


But it isn’t. The theory is false — the theory being more or less all of American economics, which basically says if we give people the basics, they’ll turn lazy and mean and violent and stupid. Not having the basics is what’s made Americans violent and foolish. Why? Because the price has been to destroy social bonds.


That might not sound like a big deal to you — “the destruction of social bonds” — but let me assure you, there’s little greater calamity a society can suffer. What is it called when I begin to distrust you? Regard you as an enemy? Someone who has to be vanquished?
Hate.


America’s culture of rage has produced a hateful society. American society is so full of hate, it leaves the rest of us, who’ve lived elsewhere, exhausted and depressed, and plenty of Americans too. What do I mean by that? Do you really need more “evidence”? Weren’t the Trump years enough? How about two mass shooting in two weeks?


The first one, in Atlanta, was at the intersection of many kinds of hate — minority women were targeted. American life is permeated by rage and hate. And it spills over into violence. Real violence, like mass murder. All the time, over and over again.


And all that is because, at root, Americans live in a failed society, a failed state. Where artificial scarcities are used to control them. To force them into attitudes where everyone must everyone else’s competitor, adversary, enemy, not ally, friend, partner. Hence, America strikes the rest of the world — where friendship and warmth are norms, but in America brutality and cruelty are — as profoundly ugly and backwards and bizarre. It is.


I can’t think of any other society where rage and hate are as normal as they are in America, because people are made to compete, controlled by artificial scarcities — to the point that they are driven mad by them. Remember, we humans are deeply social beings. If we don’t have sociality — we begin to lose our marbles. And that is what appears to have happened to Americans. Not having sociality — true sociality — in society anymore, warmth, gentleness, friendship, has created the illusion that brutality, cruelty, selfishness, materialism, objectification, commodification, treating everyone else like something to be dominated, abused, acquired, discarded, are all normal. They’re normal in America, sure, but they’re not normal at all.


And when a society normalises dehumanization, brutality, cruelty, selfishness, isn’t it obvious to see how things like mass killings become, well, everyday events?


America’s a deeply unwell society. Americans still don’t really grasp it. They don’t feel how abnormal it is to live in a society where aggression and hostility are the only things that exist, because the only way people are allowed to regard each other are as rivals and enemies. All that’s normal in America.

But that, my friends, is why going back to “normal”

was never going to be good enough.

IT’S TIME TO REFRESH THESE 7 COMMON WRITING HABITS


by Jennifer Calonia

WRITING TIPS

As you develop your writing skills, it’s easy to adopt a few habits along the way. Some of these habits are helpful, like having go-to jargon when composing business emails or using a stream-of-consciousness approach when writing a rough draft quickly.

But not all learned habits are helpful in all contexts. Some can derail your message or leave your reader confused and even frustrated.

Your writing, at its best
Be the best writer in the office.
To take your writing skills to the next level, read our list of seven common writing habits to stop stat—and advice on what to do instead.

1 Procrastinating (instead, use time blocks)
Procrastinating on your writing might have served you well during undergrad all-nighters, but it’s not sustainable in a professional setting.

A handout by The Writing Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill delves into all aspects of procrastination, namely how making it a habit can leave you feeling deflated and stressed about the writing process. “Procrastination and perfectionism often go hand in hand,” the handout explains. It also attributes the procrastination to fear.

Let’s say you’re dreading writing an analysis, for example. In worrying about how your leadership team will receive your report, you might avoid working on it until the last minute. But procrastinating means you have less time to fix mistakes—making your initial fears that your writing won’t be up to snuff all the more prophetic.

Instead: Dedicate time in your calendar to think about your writing project and nothing else. Do this long before the deadline. This doesn’t have to be a long block of time—it could be twenty to thirty minutes. Keep these time blocks short. This manageable approach moves your writing forward and allows for self-editing, without the pressure to write perfectly in one sitting.

2 Overusing vague adverbs (instead, find synonyms)
Adverbs like “really,” and “very” add emphasis. It’s understandable why using them is a common habit. Especially if you sprinkle these adverbs into your everyday conversations, it’s natural for them to pop up in your formal writing, too.

However, overusing “very” and “really” is counterproductive and risks reducing the impact of your statement. Your aim in writing is to communicate clearly; descriptions like “very nice” or “really great” don’t convey that much. It can also lead to confusion: If five points on a memo are “really important,” then they all have the same value and therefore neither is more important than the other.

Instead: Play around with word choice. When you discover too many adverbs in your writing, turn to a thesaurus. Consider the noun’s true significance and choose a word that accurately describes it to keep “very” and “really” to a minimum. Grammarly can help you by suggesting more concise, powerful language.

3 Relying on turns of phrase (instead, get descriptive)
Familiar language can feel like an easy way to explain or describe a thought. Turns of phrase like “break a leg” or “go the distance” help your reader quickly get an idea of your meaning. But they aren’t useful for keeping a reader’s attention.

Relying on idioms and cliche phrases doesn’t help you hone your unique writing voice. Hackneyed sayings can also disengage your audience, leaving them disinterested.

Instead: Avoid overused language by using rich details and words to describe the subject. Adding more information and deepening descriptions leads to more engaging writing.

4 Writing run-on sentences (instead, embrace punctuation)
Crafting too many run-on sentences is a popular habit. A stream of consciousness might feel natural as you’re writing, but readers generally appreciate the chance to catch a breath (or two).

Not only can a run-on sentence be overwhelming, but it also risks confusing your reader. Lengthy, meandering sentences invite more misunderstandings about the point you’re making.

Instead: Look at your sentences and spot areas that lend a natural pause. Don’t be afraid of punctuation: Use a comma or semicolon, or create a full stop with a period. It may feel choppy to you, but tighter constructions make it easier for readers to absorb your message.

5 Overusing exclamation points (instead, refine your tone)
It can feel natural to want to use exclamation points in your writing. They’re nearly ubiquitous in casual writing like texting and social media. And, they’re useful for conveying enthusiasm, importance, or alarm. After all, what better way to express how you feel than an exorbitant number of exclamation points!!?!!?

In more formal writing, exclamation points are rarer. Sprinkling too many exclamation points throughout a piece or typing many in a row risks coming off as comical. They also take away from your message. Sometimes, there’s an argument for them. But in these situations, one exclamation point is enough.

Instead: Think about the tone or attitude you want to convey. Tone is a combination of word choice, punctuation, and syntax, all of which can effectively do the work of ten exclamation points.

6 Employing too much jargon (instead, write simply)
Unless you’re an experienced fishmonger writing a book specifically for other experienced fishmongers, avoid jargon in your writing. This goes for all writers of any subject—fishmongers et al.

Some jargon, when clearly explained, can be informational. However, too much jargon forces your audience to reread the text multiple times to understand its meaning. Not only does this lead to readers spending more time making sense of your writing, it results in frustration and bewilderment.

Instead: Keep your writing simple by using plain language and paraphrasing ideas into descriptions that a reader at any level can grasp.

7 Hedging (instead, write with confidence)
Hedging occurs when you insert qualifiers into a statement to avoid coming off too strong. Some examples of hedging include using words and phrases, like “I think,” “it looks like,” “somewhat,” or “this seems to . . .”

In an academic paper, there are practical applications for hedging. But in the workplace and everyday writing, it resonates as too uncertain and cautious. It can even undermine your credibility from the start.

Instead: Keep your business writing strong by removing hedging phrases and words. You can write assertively while maintaining a polite and professional tone without hedging.

Outgrowing these common writing habits takes ongoing practice. That’s where Grammarly can come in. The Grammarly Editor provides suggestions to help strengthen your writing, from catching common mistakes with sentence structure to offering clarity rewrites.

THIS QUESTION WILL HELP YOU WIN ANY ARGUMENT


A psychology-based approach to conflict
By Michael Easter

About five years ago my significant other and I were in a dumb argument. I wasn’t backing down. She wasn’t backing down.


Stalemate, I vented to a friend. I explained to him in agonizing detail why I was right, why my significant other was wrong, how the world would be better off if I could just get her to understand this — and did this guy have any advice for convincing her that I was right? His response: “Do you want to be right or happy?”

This question has since saved me a lot of headaches and led me to discover something important about the human mind.


Psychologists theorize that our capacity to reason didn’t develop so we could find better beliefs and make better decisions. Reason likely evolved so we could win arguments. Convincing others we were right helped us gain status and influence. In a debate our brain acts like our puff person, using reason as a weapon to protect us and make us look good.


Our brains always default to picking the evidence that helps us and ignoring the information that doesn’t. For example, here’s a fun game: Ask someone if they think they’re always right. Unless the person is some sort of egomaniac, they’ll usually laugh and say, “of course not.” Yet ask that same person if they think they are right during any one specific argument or debate and they will assume they are correct. And so, by default, we think we’re always right.


This mechanism probably made sense during the crucible of human evolution. It oftentimes still benefits us today. But in our safe, comfortable world the majority of our everyday disagreements — in relationships and at work — are astoundingly inconsequential in the grand scheme of our lives. When we ask ourselves, “do I want to be right or happy?” we insert perspective into the equation. Choosing the latter option can be uncomfortable in the immediate short term (we’re fighting against our pit bull brain). But over time it has a way of dissolving the bullshit that causes our everyday suffering. And when bullshit dissolves it becomes fertilizer, bringing growth.


“Do I want to be right or happy?” can even give us perspective and clarity to see another important fact: We probably aren’t right in most arguments. And neither is the other side. Time changes our worldviews. Most of us can look back on past arguments and realize that there are very few where we were totally, undeniably, universally right. We overreact more than we underreact. And who we are and what we know and hold true is a moving goalpost. A hill we’ll die on today is one we’ll happily cede tomorrow. Yet we all suck at seeing this in the moment. Even facts humanity holds universally true — like gravity — will likely be overturned in the near future, according to physicists.


So “Do I want to be right or happy?” is now a question that I try to ask myself any time another person and I face a discrepancy in perspectives. I am not perfect at asking this question. Wouldn’t even say I’m good at it. But when I do find myself in moments of tension with others, remembering to ask myself if I want to be right or happy buys me some emotional space and perspective and cuts down on my daily suffering. And that feels like happiness.


P.s. If you’re interested in how evolution has shaped our brain and influences our modern behaviors (both good, bad, and ugly) and how you can outsmart your evolutionary impulses for better physical and mental health, you might enjoy my book, The Comfort Crisis. It’s out May 11th. You can pre-order it wherever books are sold — but I’d love it if you order it here from an independent bookstore that conducts non-profit writing workshops for disadvantages kids and teens.

7 Little Things That Can Tell You A Lot About Someone


Potent habits that can reveal a person’s character

by Anthony J. Yeung

Without a doubt, one of the best life skills there are is the ability to gauge a person’s character and personality accurately. It’ll help you find stronger relationships and avoid a lot of pain and frustration.
Of all the many different methods, I’ve learned seven over the years that have helped me tremendously—either they were the sign that led to a long, fulfilling friendship or they were the warning before things fell apart.


Note: Please don’t use these to condemn or judge people. Everyone has bad days and our personalities can change. (If anything, we should look at our own character before evaluating others.)
Also, keep in mind each thing on its own might not say much; but together, they can reveal a lot. From there, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to be friends, clients, or lovers with them—or not.

  1. How they keep their commitments
    They’re not always big — like swearing under oath or wedding vows—but we actually make a lot of commitments in life like:
    • “I’ll let you know about the meeting by Friday.”
    • “I’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
    • “I’ll call you at 6 pm.”
    Yet we don’t always keep them. Now, life happens and it’s important to give some leeway, especially for things outside of our control. But if you notice a pattern where someone fails to follow through with any of their commitments—or regularly changes them—it can reveal someone who isn’t reliable, doesn’t hold themselves accountable for the things they say, or doesn’t value you all that much.
  2. How they treat people below them
    “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
    — Malcolm S. Forbes
    A common test is how people treat service staff at restaurants, cafes, etc. It’s a decent one, but to me, I think the bigger picture is how people treat those who can do absolutely nothing for them or to them. (Waiters, on the other hand, can definitely do something to you if you’re a jerk so it pays to be nice.)
    Strangers on the street. People selling flowers on the sidewalk. Janitors. People “below” their position at work. How does someone treat those people or talk about them? It can tell you a lot.
    I remember being at a cafe on a Friday night that was packed with people going to bars and clubs. A homeless man walked in selling flowers and people started rolling their eyes and laughing at him. Sure, they laughed, but what did their actions say about them?
  3. How their car looks
    Years ago, I had a client who was a surgeon at a leading hospital and who used to interview new residents. I never forgot what he told me.
    “It’s not allowed,” he would say with a chuckle, “but I’d love to just go to the parking lot and see inside their car.”
    It wasn’t to judge the kind of car they drove or how fancy it was. It was to look inside and see if it was clean, organized, and tidy, or if there were food wrappers and empty soda cans everywhere.
    He had a point. In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell shared a study where the personality of 80 students was assessed by those students’ closest friends versus complete strangers who only spent 15 minutes visiting their bedrooms.
    The complete strangers, it turned out, were more accurate.
    “What this suggests is that it is quite possible for people who have never met us and who have spent only twenty minutes thinking about us to come to a better understanding of who we are than people who have known us for years… If you want to get a good idea of whether I’d make a good employee, drop by my house one day and take a look around.”
    —Malcolm Gladwell
    Obviously, if you can visit someone’s home, even better. But anytime you get a ride from someone, it might tell you quite a bit about a person, their identity, behaviors, and how they think and feel. How you do one thing is how you do everything.
  4. How they act when they make a mistake
    We all make mistakes. But when you address it in a respectful, kind, and fair way, how do they respond?
    • Do they apologize and commit to avoiding it?
    • Do they make excuses, get defensive, or go silent?
    • Do they blame you, accuse you of making it a big deal, or go back in time and list your transgressions (that they never mentioned before and have been saving just for this occasion)?
    Sadly, I’ve had to let friends go because of this, but it was the right decision. I believe the true mark of a person isn’t how they act when things are going well; it’s how they act when things are not going well. There’s always going to be some conflict and disagreements in any relationship, but how they respond in those moments can reveal a lot about their character and ego.
  5. How they act when you make a mistake
    On the other hand, if you make an honest mistake and apologize, how do they respond?
    • Do they respect you and share how they feel? Do they take it in stride?
    • Do they make things personal and say, “You always ” or “You never _?”
    • Do they belittle you, hold a grudge, or insult your character, intelligence, etc.?
    If it’s the last one, it doesn’t always mean they’re “bad” people. (Maybe they had a tough upbringing and it’s how they were raised.) But it definitely reveals a bit about their “true colors” and how they’ll act when times get tough.
  6. How they act with people they want something from
    I’ve noticed some people have a “split personality.” For example, when some guys see women they’re attracted to, they suddenly act friendly and happy; once those women leave, they’re back to their old selves. I knew guys like that and, if we went out on a Saturday night, their eyes would dart all over the room searching for women as they half-listened to their own friends.
    The thing about people like this is they don’t really have an established sense of self—who they are changes completely depending on who they talk to. And they only put on their “A-Game” when they’re around a person they like, they admire, or they want something from.
    Do they put on a special show around certain people? Do they “kiss up” to people above them while ignoring people below them? Do they “friend hop” to climb their way up the social ladder? Take notice.
  7. How their real-life compares to social media life
    I once knew a guy who was obsessed with how he was portrayed on social media—his posts, profiles, and stories were designed to present him in the best light possible. Yet in reality, he was just a relatively average guy who was good at his job.
    We eventually had a falling out, but looking back, this was one of the biggest warning signs. Because, like on social media, he was overly concerned with how people thought of him, he made his friendships calculated, and he chased validation and approval.
    Check how someone acts on social media versus reality? Do they always need to put on a show, humblebrag, or showcase every “amazing” detail of their day—even though their life is ordinary? It can say a lot about how a person thinks, how they feel, and what motivates them.
    Again, the point of these checks isn’t to judge someone. (After all, my ex-friend wasn’t a “bad” guy; we just had different personalities.) It’s simply to gauge someone’s personality—in that moment—and see if it aligns with your values, your goals, and what’s important to you.
    Because once you surround yourself with people who match those important things to you, you’ll find awesome relationships that will grow and grow over time.

I hope it helps…..