How many times have you told your kids or spouse to “be patient” with someone who was annoying them? Maybe your daughter’s friend “borrowed” her books or clothes without asking. Again. Or perhaps your spouse’s boss frequently takes extended 2-hour lunch breaks. And, how about that rude threesome who refused to make room on the sidewalk for your friend to pass?
Or course, it’s hard to be patient when the inconsiderate teenager is loading the supermarket express lane conveyor belt with 30+ items. Or the little blue-haired grandmother darts in and steals the parking spot you were waiting for at the mall.
However, you probably didn’t know this was the teen’s first expedition in the world of grocery shopping because her mom was home sick. And Grandma swiped your parking spot because all of the handicapped spaces had been claimed and she couldn’t walk very far without discomfort.
The reality is that we all have our pet peeves because no one is perfect. Not even ourselves. Have you ever stopped to think about what others may find irritating about you? Most of us don’t realize how someone else perceives us or that we may have some little “issues” that need to be tweaked:
It’s been rumored that chewing ice is a sign of anger. There may be some truth to that because lots of people have gotten mad at others for loudly chomping their ice in public. To some this is the equivalent of raking fingernails across a chalkboard. If you must chomp, do so in private – and make sure your dental insurance is current.
Overusing empty phrases
We all have our favorite “filler” phrases that we like to insert in conversations. However, many of us don’t realize that we are doing it constantly while driving other people nuts. Some examples to check yourself on are: “Just saying,” “You know,” “To be honest,” “Seriously,” “Having said that,” and the all-time favorite, “Like.”
When you’re talking to someone, don’t stop the conversation so that you can read and send text messages to someone else. The exception to this rule is if this is an emergency message from your spouse or kids that can’t wait. Also, don’t text while walking or driving. You knew that, right?
Talking on the cell phone in public
No one wants to hear all the titillating details of sassy Aunt Marva’s bridge game the night before. And they certainly shouldn’t be privy to work related conversations. If you must take the call, step away or go outside so that you can talk in private.
Do your eyes glaze over when your spouse is trying to talk to you about a tough day at work? Maybe you appeared to be distracted when a friend tried to discuss a sensitive issue while you were rooting through your purse for something. To communicate well in any type of relationship someone has to listen while the other person is talking. Becoming a good listener is often a learned skill.
The above are relatively minor annoyances that can usually be easily remedied. However, there are more deep-seated irritations that are not as easy to overcome and may require the assistance of a mental health professional. Two examples are:
Letting your insecurities show
An insecure person usually doesn’t realize that they are promoting their insecurities when they constantly redirect attention back to themselves. An example is “one upmanship” when the insecure person always has another better experience to relate. Or, they easily take offense when none was intended, or offend others by putting someone down. An insecure person may also put themselves down and be “needy” for lots of attention and validation. There are many causes of insecurity, including anxiety disorders, changes in circumstances, and life experiences.
An argumentative person may be the loudest in the bunch, but he or she is rarely the most popular. It’s one thing to share your opinion or experience when appropriate, but it’s the kiss of death to be perceived as an arrogant know-it-all. No one wants to be around that type of person for any length of time, so if you sense that people are distancing themselves from you, it may be time to work on your social skills with some outside help.