By Bryan Orr

A joiner is a person who, for one reason or another, wants in on the most recent happenings and ideas. If you’re a joiner, you’re likely one who is up for attending the events where groups of people are coming together to discuss new ideas for business, community programs, a fishing club, etc. We need joiners because they’re the people who are often going to put their heads and hands together to make things happen. They’re the people that take someone else’s dream and help see it through to the end.

There are a lot of good reasons that people jump in and get their hands dirty, but there’s an ugly side to this coin. There are five ways that you might actually be hurting yourself or others by joining in.

1. Solely Seeking Acceptance

Acceptance from others is something that is often sought after by a joiner. Do you find yourself joining a conversation or a project in order to feel some sort of emotional connection and worth from other individuals? It might be perfectly normal, but you are not doing anyone a favor. You might need to refocus. If feeling involved is all that keeps you involved, the minute you feel disconnected, you’re going to withdraw, and your participation will be a liability for the project instead of helping. Don’t allow the acceptance of others to be the driving motivator of your life.

2. Loss of Individuality

Teamwork is necessary. We spend a lot of our efforts finding the group or club or corporation that is rocking the world. We’re ready and available to be the guy or girl that will volunteer for any task. We don’t spend much time exercising our individual “craft” or abilities and will often end up not knowing how to do anything out of the ordinary. You will never find your personal niche or unique ability that you have to offer.

Find out what you love doing and use that to help people, instead of trying to shoehorn yourself into roles that don’t suit your abilities.

3. Saying Yes, Yes, Yes

A joiner hears many voices and opportunities coming from the outside. Vision gets blurred and it feels impossible to focus on the one thing that is truly pressing in your business or your personal life. Opportunities come up to make connections or to improve your craft or you name it. You want to attend them all, and saying no feels as if you’re destroying your dream.

You say yes, over and over and over. Each opportunity on its own may very well be a wonderful opportunity, but you will not have the time to invest in them all. Budget your time like you would treat your money. Maybe you say yes to one opportunity at a time, or you carefully weigh every opportunity to maximize your benefit-to-effort. Practice saying “No.” Get your mind wrapped around the beautiful, mono-syllabic freedom of the word. “No.” “Nooooo.” NooOOOooo.” Try it. It’s fun.

4. Being a People Pleaser

Sometimes a joiner is the more extroverted individual who is out to connect with people. You join up with others because you genuinely care about people. It bothers you that you might have put someone off or annoy them somehow. You do what it takes to get everyone back on a happy track.

It’s kind of like going back to your junior high school days. Everyone remembers the feeling of trying to figure out what’s normal, changing whatever it is about yourself to become more pleasing to others. Watch out for that. Don’t go back to being a 13-year-old. You do you. Every time you notice that you’ve offended someone, ask yourself if you were insensitive or if that was just you being you.

5. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

Do you jump into things, ready to make a big impact, only to find that no one really comments on your contribution? Is it almost commonplace that no one really gives you the respect you deserve? You’re always putting out, and no one pays attention to the way you’ve sacrificed? But are you actually being selfish by helping?

A quick check would be whether you actually are happy when other people are praised. Does it bug the boogers out of you when someone else gets kudos for something that you helped with? Stop doing that.  You’ll stunt your growth and burn bridges left and right. In the long run, a fixation with what you can get out of others is going to destroy your ability to benefit from good, trusting relationships, and even the relationships that survive are going to suffer from a lingering paranoia. You will never be able to a part of anything that lasts.

When you catch yourself doing this, mark the reaction and squish it. If you even recognize the problem, you’re one of the lucky few. For the sake of being able to have lasting friendships, learn to rejoice for others.

Are you a joiner? How can you be a joiner for positive change?