Dr. Phil McGraw, talk show host and best selling author, recently appeared on Katie, the talk show hosted by former CBS News anchor Katie Couric on Friday, November 16, 2012. His appearance on the show was partly to promote his new book, Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World, and partly to discuss the General Petraeus affair, infidelity, and why men and women cheat.
Two topics that resonated with me from Dr. Phil and Katie’s discussion are BAITERs and social climbers. Both terms sync business with diversity and inclusion, a topic I write about from time to time. More important, BAITERs and social climbers pop in and out of our lives, and sometimes, more often than we like.
The real question is how adept are you at recognizing and managing these folks — especially the high maintenance, attention seeking ones? If you want to not only survive but thrive at work or in business, it is important to recognize a BAITER and a social climber should you cross paths with one. This post briefly discusses both.
BAITERs, as Dr. Phil explained, is an acronym that stands for:
Host Katie Couric’s follow up response was, “It seems to describe all the creeps who are out there.” I can only speak for myself in saying that I have met all six, and have encountered a few evil twins and some multiple-personality disorders in the BAITERs camp. “They are reckless with your life and mine,” says Dr. Phil, “Don’t fear your enemies, fear your friends who flatter you.” BAITERS infiltrate themselves into your lives with flattery. PAY ATTENTION! There is no need to be paranoid around them, but pay attention.
Now according to Dr. Phil, these folks give themselves away. He discusses the characters of the Evil 8 in his new book. Here’s the good news. They have an air of arrogant entitlement that gives them away. Some BAITERs believe that whatever you have is theirs. This includes your husband, your money, your reputation, your job, your dog, etc., and they have no guilt when they make a move on any of these. If you are paying attention, they will show you these patterns early on in your relationship. They also exhibit a pattern of short-term relationships.
BAITERs will brag about out-smarting other people. Let’s face it, BAITERs are haters by another name, and more clearly defined.
“Given all the nefarious forces out there, how do you deal with this?” asked Katie. Dr. Phil also provided the Sweet 16 tips or advice for how to address BAITERs in his new book. If you are haunted by BAITERs or haters, his new book may be well worth its price and the read.
We’ve met BAITERs and haters, now what’s up with social climbers? Let’s start with the two words: social and climbing. If you have never heard the term, you might think it has something to do with high class society and socialites….and it kinda sort of does. According to Brett Borders [Ref 1], of Copy Brighter Marketing, social climbing is usually done by the principle of proximity – where the ticket to higher class is frequently associating with people of a higher class than yours.
You don’t have to be a rich genius, you just have to find a way to be associated with one. You can date one, or even just work as their low-level assistant – and you’ll be treated as a member of an influential servant caste. Oh welcome, welcome to the new caste system!
Borders goes on to say that social climbing gets a bad name because it often involves turning a cold shoulder. Even if some people don’t intentionally oppress others, they spend so much time and energy “climbing” that they rarely have any energy left to smile or chat with someone who can’t help boost their status. That’s interesting.
- Someone who cares about being nice and sociable merely for their own gain – they’re not genuinely interested in their friends, but would throw them under the bus if it benefited them and they saw no consequences for themselves. This manifests itself in many different ways but in general, it reflects selfishness that is carefully masked. It can be hard to tell when you look at individual situations or incidences, but becomes clear when you look at behavior habits. (Source: Yahoo! Answers)
- A social climber is someone who seeks social prominence, for example by obsequious behavior. (Source: Wikipedia)
- Similar to an “attention whore”, a social climber is anyone that becomes friends with someone else if they have something that they want, which we all know involves people. They become ‘friends’ with people who “know people”. In turn, they become (or attempt to become) ‘friends’ with that first person’s more “popular” friends, leaving the first person behind. This cycle repeats to “get to the top”, in their own mind, until they realize they are shallow and unable to like people for who they really are. Inevitably, they will be forced to “mature” beyond this. This usually pertains to girls more so than guys. (Source: Urban Dictionary)
Social climbing can get pathological and downright nasty according to Borders. He uses the term road blocking to define behavior that deliberately excludes or sabotages people – with the (unconscious) intention of maintaining one’s perch on the social ladder. Road blocks can be as simple as quietly pulling out someone’s speaker application because you’d rather have the limelight to yourself – or as complex as creating a whole suite of false, libelous rumors about someone and spreading them on multiple fronts.
Social climbers are usually looked upon with disdain. However, Alain de Botton of the BBC News asks this question: Is social climbing always a bad thing? No, and most people engage in it to promote themselves or their careers.
How does one separate good social climbing activities from the bad and ugly ones? According to de Botton, “What really marks out corrupt as opposed to forgivable social climbers is the former’s strong belief that the rich, powerful and famous are at heart better than other people”.
And there you have it….enough said! If you didn’t know, now you do.
1. “What is Social Climbing?” Brett Borders, copy Brighter Marketing, http://copybrighter.com/what-is-social-climbing, September 8, 2009.
2. “A Point of View: Is social climbing always a bad thing?” Alain de Botton, BBC News Magazine, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14346040, July 29, 2011.