Scott’s Thoughts: Dangerous Drama


“Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

-George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist.

Graffiti of an angry man.The happiest top producers know that being a people person makes a huge difference. Though introverts can make great real estate agents, it helps to be someone who genuinely thrives in the day-to-day personal interaction with clients and colleagues.

While no one expects you to become best friends with every buyer and seller in your life, you hope to work with people you genuinely enjoy. It’s not always the case. When this happens, being a professional means being able to serve clients who aren’t necessarily ideal. There are times, however, when you come across a client who is not only a mismatch for your personality, but might be downright dangerous to your mental health and focus.

Bill Eddy’s book, “5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life: Identifying and Dealing with Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other High-Conflict Personalities,” provides crucial insights into how to identify people who aren’t worth the drama. These HCFs (High Conflict Personalities) drain you, occupy a disproportionate amount of your time, and may go so far as to damage your reputation. Here are four warning signs you may be encountering one of these toxic clients:

1. A propensity to blame others. Keep your ears open for the prospect who catalogues all the people in their life who are responsible for their misfortune. Often these will be authority figures, or the people closest to them.

2. An “all-or-nothing” perspective. The solution is always their solution, and they refuse to recognize nuances. They’re quick to dismiss other points of view and compromise is practically unheard of in their world.

3. Disproportionate emotion. When responses to minor setbacks suddenly become inappropriately intense or disarming, beware. An inability to manage their emotional responses to everyday situations is a warning sign.

4. Extreme behavior. It doesn’t have to just be physical (but it can be!). It might be instances of lying, manipulation, or even an obsessive-compulsive need for contact. Keep an eye out for those who don’t connect their behavior to the outcomes in other peoples’ lives.

Granted, these personality types may be rare in your experience, but letting one slip into your life can significantly damage your career. Don’t let the drive to land a deal push you to look past these warning signs. Take the long view and pass up those who seem filled with dangerous drama.

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