When Other People Annoy You

1. Pushing Buttons Just To Make You React

Consider the sibling who knows damned well that you hate the word “moist,” so they make sure to say it at the dinner table whenever the family gets together for a meal.

You’ll cringe right to your toes, and they’ll just sit there, smirking at you.

Why do they do it?

Quite frankly, because they have a sadistic streak and take pleasure and satisfaction in upsetting you.

You’ll also find this kind of behavior online. “Trolling” seems to flourish online, since people have carte blanche to be jerkish… and from a safe distance.

In a paper entitled Trolls Just Want to Have Fun (Erin E. Buckels, Paul D. Trapnell, and Delroy L. Paulhus, 2014), correlations were drawn between button-pushers and sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellian tendencies.

Once these jerks find a soft spot, they poke at it. And they keep poking until they get the reaction they’re seeking.

They get off on it, and will continue to do so as long as you keep responding to their proddings.

The way to stop them from doing this is to do what’s known as going “Gray Rock.”

Since these jerks get joy in seeing you suffer, the key is to be really poker-faced and boring, so they just lose interest.

Sounds easier said than done, but worth a try… especially if this is a family member whom you’ll have to keep seeing.

If you exhibit antagonistic behavior for fun, you might want to book some time with a therapist. This button-pushing might be one facet of a more serious issue, and if you don’t sort it out now, you run the risk of losing everyone you really care about.


The Time I Crossed the Line

We're all guilty of getting on someone's nerves at one time or the other. We don't set out to be annoying, but still it happens. I'm sure there have been times when I have been annoying to others. It isn't my intention to upset anyone, none the less I know at one time or another I have been guilty of this crime.

Like when my son brought his new girlfriend over to have dinner with us, wanting to score some points for Randy, I opened my big mouth and served a few compliments about his good looks, talents, and all that good stuff. He immediately bore his eyes into mine with daggers aimed directly at me. I stopped talking – period.

My son was annoyed with me, and I was trying to help. But what I did was embarrass him. Of course, I now see the error of my ways.

The first step to stop yourself from annoying your friends (or your son, as in my case) is recognition. We don't mind readers, and most of the time, we aren't even aware that we are annoying another person. But when we learn that we have "crossed the line," it's time to file your mistake in the proper place and never repeat the offense.

Six Leading Annoying Habits

There are habits that others have that are very annoying to someone else. Often the transgressor has no idea that his actions are bringing a person to the boiling point. Here are six on the list of the worlds worst habits:

  1. Slurping food and other noises stemming from eating.
  2. Failing to turn off cell phones in a movie.
  3. Not picking up dog poop when walking the dog.
  4. Driving slow in the fast lane on the freeway.
  5. Using your cell phone at the dinner table.
  6. Clearing your throat in public.

What kinds of annoyances drive you up the wall?

How Do You Know If You’re Annoying Someone Online?

You know if you’re annoying someone online if they take these digital actions:

  • they suddenly “have to go” or their “internet is having problems” while on a Zoom call
  • they keep pushing your next meeting to later, and later, and later…
  • you get blocked or unfriended
  • you create a new account to message them, only to get blocked or unfriended again
  • people type at you with ALL CAPS and use exclamation marks (!!!), but you think that means they are excited
  • mean or derogatory emojis are used toward you
  • they say they want to meet up but end up ghosting you

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20. The Ghost

This person might totally disappear on you for days, weeks… even months or years.

You might make plans with them, and instead of letting you know that they can’t make it, they just won’t respond to your texts….

…or won’t show up at an arranged time and place.

They’ll have an excuse for their behavior, of course, usually making themselves out to be either a victim or a hero of whatever circumstance they find themselves in, and ask for forgiveness/another chance, etc.

After all, it wasn’t their fault, right?

Funny thing, it might not be their fault, but not for the reasons they’re trying to use.

Many people who ghost like this suffer from mental health issues such as severe anxiety or borderline personality disorder.

When they’re in the throes of a spiralling panic attack or emotional overwhelm, they run away and hide until they feel “safe” again…

…and that includes not having any contact with a person who might trigger them or hurt them in any way.

Calling them out on their behavior during a period like this makes them feel humiliated and remorseful, so they hide.

Try not to take it personally. Like Don Miguel Luis says in his Four Agreements:

Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.


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