Annoying people: we all know a few. Regardless of your easy-going nature or the length of your relationship, folks who annoy you to tears will enter and exit your life. These stories grab headlines when an individual accommodates another person’s annoying behaviors until one day, seemingly out of the blue, they snap. When you become so bothered by this person that you behave in an uncharacteristic and potentially dangerous way, the situation reflects poorly upon you - not the annoying person. After all, we are responsible for our own behaviors, and practicing self-control is expected by mature adults.
Whether a family member, co-worker, or your spouse, it’s important you learn to manage the buttons annoying people push while also finding good in them - and maybe even enjoying their company. I have listed five suggestions that can help change your perception of the annoyer’s behavior and moderate your reactions in a healthier manner for your mental and physical health.
1. Manage your perspective. We often find someone annoying because we judge them impulsively and place them in a category to avoid. Giving them the benefit of the doubt or a second chance is a much healthier option than avoidance. Take a deep breath and remind yourself to give them grace.
2. Acknowledge your own faults or annoying behaviors. Interrupt your judgments by reflecting on your personal shortcomings. This helps shift your perspective and deflect from their bad habits to examine your own personality.
3. Seek common interests. We enjoy people and tolerate their annoying behavior when we share common ground. Couples fight less about annoying habits when one of them interjects with something they both agree on or have in common. If you find yourself annoyed, change the topic, and discuss a common interest (for example: the Astros). This technique can help lessen the annoying behavior in question. Plus, you’ll like them more if they agree with you.
4. Mentor deliberately annoying people. Experts suggest that deliberately annoying others can begin as a negative habit in childhood. Be curious. Consider the events in your annoyer’s life that contributed to practicing this negative behavior and adopting it as a habit. When mentored by people who ignore their annoying behavior and focus on their good traits, deliberate annoyers annoy less. You may be the only person in their life who mentors a healthy option.
5. Foster the right mindset. Life is short. How much of your life do you want to sacrifice by loss of sleep and stress caused by an annoyer’s behavior? Never seek revenge. Instead, the best reaction is to breathe, distract, and refuse to give their annoying behavior unnecessary attention.
When we expect others to behave the way we do and become annoyed when they don’t, we set unrealistic expectations. During your off days, you hope others will not misjudge you or react negatively. Pay it forward by extending grace to the annoyer and yourself before judging. You’ll make your day a little less stressful and put charitable karma out there for the next time you need it.