Portrait of an upset unsatisfied asian woman standing with arms folded and looking away isolated over white background
“Whoever is able to anger you is able to control you.” – Lamine Pearlheart
Aggravated? Irritated? Bothered? Angry? All these feelings, or emotions, can be interchanged to describe the feeling of being annoyed. We as humans will encounter being annoyed more frequently than we would like. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines annoyed as “feeling or showing angry irritation.”
Feeling annoyed can be caused from just about anything. But knowing what to do and how deal with being annoyed is important so that you do not overreact or hurt someone. Feeling annoyed is one of the most important emotions we as humans have. When you feel annoyed or angry, it is a sign that something needs to change.
It is normal and important for you to express yourself but doing it in the right way is key. Finding ways that work for you to help you cope in healthy ways during these times are critical for controlling your emotions. Listed below are 4 ways that can help to deal with your feelings and emotions of being annoyed.
#1: Remove Yourself
When you feel annoyed, whether it be caused by someone treating you unfairly, you feeling threatened or attacked, others not respecting you or your feelings, or maybe it’s because something has interrupted you from reaching your goals – there are ways to deal with your emotions positively. The last thing you want to do is overreact or act in the moment.
You will need to cool off before making a premature decision. If possible, when you start to feel annoyed or angry it is best for you to step away and remove yourself from the situation. Once you have removed yourself from the situation you can cool off and decide the best way to handle it. There are many ways to go about cooling yourself off so that you can open your mind and decide what is the best for you to do.
#2: Talk to a Friend
One thing you can do is talk to a close friend. Having a friend to talk to about what is causing you to be annoyed can be helpful. As an outsider from the situation, a friend is someone who can be a shoulder for you to lean on, listen to you, and offer advice. Being able to talk through the situation that made you annoyed, can be beneficial for you.
Talking about feeling annoyed can help you realize that the situation may not have been that big of a deal to begin with or you might realize that there was another underlying issue that caused you to become annoyed. Having a friend to talk to about anything and allowing yourself to feel emotions is beneficial so that you do not bottle emotions up and boil over, which will result in you feeling worse and could result in you unintentionally hurting yourself or others.
Another thing you can do when you get annoyed is to exercise. Exercising can be going for a walk, a run, a spin class, weightlifting, playing a sport with a group of friends, or attending a group fitness class. You could also do less strenuous exercise such as gardening, dancing, or housework.
Exercising releases endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling in your body. After exercising you will feel a sense of euphory and can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. When you exercise you focus on your workout and you are able to forget about everything else that is going on outside of your workout. Exercising is not only a good option for you when you get annoyed, but it is also a stress reliever, can boost your mental state, and overall is a good way to help yourself stay healthy.
Try meditating. Meditation is the process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. Through meditation you can train your brain to be rewired for positive thoughts, which pushes the less positive ones away. You can increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings through meditation. There are many ways that you can go about meditating – such as mindful slow breathing, yoga, journaling, or reading a book.
Accept and Respect the Process
When you get annoyed allow yourself to process the feeling, calm down by doing something that allows you to find your happy place, explore the reason why you became annoyed, own up to your part of wrongdoing, and decide the best course of action to handle the situation that caused you to be annoyed.
Going through this process will allow you to learn something yourself. It might be that you learn how to better communicate clearly with others, how to improve how you respond to being annoyed, or maybe you learned what you can do differently next time you become annoyed.
Each of us react to being annoyed differently, and some of us experience being annoyed more often. Some people express their annoyance verbally, aggressively, violently, passively, or some people will hide their feelings. Knowing how you deal with being annoyed and knowing what helps you calm down so you can reassess the situation will be beneficial for you throughout your entire life. Doing more of what makes you happy can also help you become more focused on the positive things in your life, and less on what makes you unhappy and annoyed.
Sometimes people can get very annoying very fast. You’ve got to be just as quick thinking to keep your cool.
Let’s face it, sometimes people can get very annoying very fast and sometimes, you’re just not in the mood to cope with people at all. Nothing is wrong with that, but for some reason, people, a lot of people actually, find it very hard to provide you with the space you need.
You find yourself being bombarded with questions, attitude, and attention that you did not ask for nor need. You end up getting annoyed and irritated and upset even more than you were previously. So how do you avoid these people? I am completely against violence and therefore, I fight the urge of rearranging their face but it’s not always easy. Actually it never is, so here’s just a few tricks on how to deal with annoying people and their nuisance.
1. Do not get angry and/or lose your temper
You must realize that by taking on the high road, you are strengthening your patience and your tolerance.
2. Slow down and focus on your breathing
Force yourself to walk away from the person that is annoying you and just slow down and focus on your breathing. Visualizing memories that make you happy can get you back to “the right state of mind.”
3. Separate your anger from the annoyance that person is causing you
Yes, that person can be extremely annoying and they can get a bit extra annoying when you’re angry and won’t leave you alone. However, lashing out at them, or failing to separate your anger from your actions toward that person, will only leave you feeling worse.
4. Distract yourself
If you’re in a situation you can’t leave, because we all know how there are a few people that will just never leave you in peace, distract yourself with anything surrounding you. Focus on other things, may it be people in the room or simple decoration or furniture, focus on anything else.
If you’re able to leave that situation, consider yourself lucky. However, distract yourself with exercise afterwards to let out the negativity you’re feeling.
6. Let go of all your triggers
Whether it is big or small, we all have things that tick us off. Work on identifying those triggers and figure out how it’s best for you, and only you, to work around these triggers.
7. Realize that annoying people are always there and it’s impossible to avoid them
There’s a way to deal with every person, figure out how to deal with every annoying individual you know.
8. Annoy them
Sometimes annoying people will not stop annoying them until you give them a taste of their own medicine. Go on, have fun and beat them in their own game.
9. Be firm but polite
When annoying people don’t take no for answer or fail to understand hints, be clear, vocal and firm. Simply state that you’re not in a particularly cheery mood at the moment and want to be left alone. Stay firm but polite so as not to put yourself at fault.
10. Understand that being quiet doesn’t mean you’re weak
I personally find it easier to let me people talk on and on and on or poke fun at me thinking it’s funny, which is not and I find it incredibly annoying. So instead of snapping back a hurtful remark, I just let them think they’re funny. After all, their childish ways are all they have.
11. Widen your perspective
When people get annoyed and through a tantrum, it’s because they have made that one annoying incident or that one annoying person their entire universe. When you get annoyed, understand that we’re all small entities made out of atoms in large universe between billions of other galaxies. How annoying is that incident now?
Are you feeling annoyed all the time? Do you find yourself wondering, ‘Why do I get annoyed so easily?’ Find out more about why people are easily annoyed, and how to stop getting annoyed.
This can help if:
- you find everyone annoying
- you’re grumpy and easily irritated
- you can’t pin down what’s bugging you.
Getting pissed off or frustrated with people
When you’re really stressed, it’s easy to become frustrated with others, even though they aren’t really doing anything annoying.
Being able to recognise when you’re being unfair is a skill worth developing. Once you can do that, it’s easier to notice when something’s bothering you so you can sort it out, instead of taking out your frustration on others.
Why people get shitty with others
There are two main reasons why stress causes us to be grumpy with other people:
- When you’re stressed out or not satisfied with life, but you’re not sure why, your mind focuses on all the little things that you usually don’t even notice.
- When there’s a lot on your mind, you have less tolerance for other people’s problems or the way they act, and you can be a lot less forgiving.
This is normal, but it can cause a lot of grief when you’re being hard on friends, workmates or family for something small and unimportant that you’d normally overlook.
Keeping yourself in check
There are a few things you can work on to build your self-awareness and catch yourself before you impose your crappy attitude on others:
- When you feel grumpy or pissed off, stop and think about why. Once you’ve identified the reason, ask yourself: ‘How much does it really matter?’
- When you feel like being critical of someone, stop and think about why you’re angry. Does it really have to do with them?
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed and it seems that everything’s piling up on you, instead of letting yourself get angry, try focusing on the way you’re feeling, and what you need to feel better.
- Try some stress relief strategies and see if they make a difference. Exercising or taking some time out are both good options.
Remember, you can’t change everything about the world, but you can change how you react to it. The better you get at dealing with stress, the less of an issue it will be. Check out some of the info on stress and anger management to learn how to deal with the stuff that gets to you.
What can I do now?
- Learn how to communicate better.
- Try using ReachOut WorryTime to keep your worrying in check.
- Learn about relaxation.
Explore other topics
It’s not always easy to find the right place to start. Our ‘What’s on your mind?’ tool can help you explore what’s right for you.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.”
He was shorter than me with a mustache, and he was positioning himself in front of me, but just off to the side of the line. He was traveling with a young teen, probably his son. I knew that when the line moved, he would take one assertive step and insert himself and his kid into the line ahead of me.
I sneaked a look at his boarding pass and it read B53. I was holding A51. It was my first time being in the A boarding group on Southwest, where your position in line is determined by when you check in online.
I checked in exactly twenty-four hours before the flight, specifically so I could be in the A group. I deserved this. This guy didn’t.
Not only was he butting, he wasn’t even an A. He was a B. He should have been sitting down waiting for his group to be called.
He smiled at me. Trying to make friends? Mocking me? He knew I had seen his boarding pass. His son fidgeted nervously with an iPod.
I was flying home to Oakland from Denver, and on the ride over something similar had happened. My number was B4, but there were at least seven people ahead of me. Three people were butting!
On that flight, it wasn’t clear who was a butter and who wasn’t, so I didn’t say anything. I ended up feeling taken advantage of.
Here was the choice again, and a lousy choice it was, say nothing and feel like a chump, or say something and feel like an uptight agro-jerk.
I went for choice B.
“Excuse me sir, what number do you have?” He gave me a stare.
I started to waiver and began explaining, “I, ah, just want to see where I should….” I trailed off. I was trying to make nice, but there was no hiding my aggressive intent.
He relented his stare and showed me his boarding pass with the look of a man beaten in a poker hand. “Go ahead of me,” he said. He let out a long sigh of annoyance. I avoided eye contact.
The line moved forward. I gave my boarding pass to the agent. As I entered the corridor that connects the airport to the plane, I looked back. I was hoping the agent would bust the man for boarding with the wrong group.
Instead, I saw the young teenager enter the corridor without the man. The teenager was flying alone and his father, I am guessing, was just anxious to make sure his kid got on the plane with a decent seat and enough space for his bags.
I felt embarrassed. All that drama to make sure one kid didn’t butt me line.
I realized it was time for a little reflection. What could I, like the Jung quote says, learn about myself here?
The first thing I realized is that someone butting in line triggers me. My first reaction was an emotion: anger. But when I looked deeper I saw that beneath the anger, fueling it was a fear of being powerless.
There was also the thought that I was being taken advantage of. In fact, I remembered a little voice in my head at the moment the mustached guy butt in line: “He thinks he can butt in line, and you won’t say anything. He thinks you’re weak.”
In essence, I was playing out a story line in my head that didn’t have much to do with the reality of the situation.
The truth was the guy was probably worried about his son. Or maybe he butts in line all the time. Either way, his action wasn’t a statement about me.
I am not saying I did the wrong thing by speaking up. In fact, I got the last exit row seat, and I might not have if I didn’t say anything.
What I am saying is that because I got triggered, my range of action was limited (in my own mind) to an unsavory choice between being wimpy or overly aggressive. There was no option that would leave me feeling good about my decision.
Everyone has trigger points, places where they are vulnerable. When these places get touched they cause us to lose our sense of perspective and can cause us to act in a way that is out of touch with our values.
For me, the series of events (inner and outer) looked like this:
- Situation: man cuts in line
- Feeling: anger, fear of being powerless
- Thought: “I am being taken advantage of”
- Action in response to thought: Call him out for butting
- Feeling in response to situation: Guilt (feel like a jerk)
Now that I am aware of this trigger point, I can watch for it in the future and employ a simple strategy to diffuse this internal reaction. Here is the plan the next time someone butts me in line or for when you get triggered in general:
- Notice you are triggered. This is the most crucial step. It gets easier with practice.
- Take three slow breaths. This defuses the emotional reaction and helps you find your balance.
- Let the old storyline—in my case, “I am being taken advantage of”—fall away.
- Try to see the situation from a less personal place. Ask yourself, what is really going on here?
- Check in with your values and assess how to deal with the situation. In my case, the next time someone cuts me in line I want to think about whether it is a time where I need to stand up for myself, or whether I can let the line butting roll off my back
My hope is that I can get to a place where if I decide I need to say speak up, I can approach the person from a calm but firm place, minus the indignation and aggression. If I decide not to speak up, I hope I can let the incident go, and move on.
In this case, the action I take is less important than the emotional place I am coming from. Either way, I want to remain calm and centered.
Through this process of breathing, seeing what is happening in myself, and letting old storylines drop, I am allowing a triggering situation to be an opportunity for growth.
This is not easy work. Places where we are vulnerable usually don’t heal overnight. It takes practice, patience, and a sense of humor to keep cool when someone or something pushes your personal buttons.
But the benefits are great: by practicing when someone butts me in line, I am learning one of life’s master skills: staying calm in the hurricane of my own emotions.
something that annoys you, especially over a period of time
something that annoys you
something or someone that causes trouble or annoys you
something that is so bad or silly that it annoys you
something annoying that you have to do
used humorously about something that is annoying but not really serious
someone or something that annoys or threatens you
informal something or someone that is boring or causes small annoying problems
a red rag to a bull
something that will make someone very angry
mainly American something that annoys you
British informal something that is extremely unpleasant or annoying
formal something that causes this feeling
- Feeling angry or annoyed
- Feeling very or extremely angry
- To be, or to become angry or annoyed
- To make someone angry or annoyed
- Anger and annoyance
- Words used to describe someone who is easily annoyed or difficult to please
- To express anger
- To say something, or to speak to someone in an angry way
- Ways of emphasizing when you are annoyed or angry
- Old-fashioned expressions used when annoyed or angry
- Impolite and offensive expressions used when annoyed or angry
- To make someone less angry
- To forgive or excuse
- Words used to describe someone who is forgiving or understanding
Free thesaurus definition of something that is annoying from the Macmillan English Dictionary – a free English dictionary online with thesaurus and with pronunciation from Macmillan Education.
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Almost everyone finds themselves dealing with annoying people at work at some point in their careers. Waking up in the morning and dreading the fact that you’ll inevitably run into that obnoxious coworker can affect your mood and work performance. Although you can’t change the behaviors or personalities of your annoying coworkers, you don’t have to suffer endlessly. While it might take some practice, changing the way you interact with annoying coworkers may help minimize their effect on you.
Your coworkers might unknowingly act in obnoxious or annoying ways simply because they aren’t aware of the way their behavior affects others. Perhaps they don’t realize how they come across because no one else has had the nerve to tell them thus far. Confronting coworkers can take confidence and all of your assertiveness skills, but you have a right to a peaceful work environment. It’s best to be candid instead of letting your coworker drive you up a wall, Business Insider says.
While it’s no guarantee that their behavior will change, letting your annoying coworkers know that their behavior or actions are interfering with your ability to do your job might help change the situation.
Turn to White Noise
Some of the most annoying coworkers tend to be the ones whose voices you can’t drown out no matter how hard you try. You might overhear them chatting loudly on the phone with their spouses or friends or complaining to others about their workplace woes. Perhaps you can’t close your office door or you don’t feel comfortable addressing your concerns directly with your coworker.
If you wish you could tune her out or at least reduce her volume, consider turning on a radio or white noise machine. Relatively inexpensive white noise machines can be purchased in most electronics and home goods stores. Or you can use one of the many free white noise generators available online.
Annoying colleagues can drain your energy, leave you feeling frustrated and make you feel like a dark cloud is following you around. While it might be tempting to gossip about your obnoxious coworker with other colleagues, gossip inevitably comes back to bite you in the long run.
And gossiping might turn the tide and transform you into the annoying coworker in the eyes of your colleagues. If you have concerns, it’s best to confront the annoying coworker directly or discuss your concerns with your direct supervisor or manager. Just be sure to frame your complaint as a workplace issue – in other words, how it’s affecting your work – rather than a personal complaint, Marie McIntyre, Your Office Coach, says.
Breathe, Laugh and Be Positive
Despite your best efforts, there are times when there’s nothing you can do about an annoying or obnoxious coworker. Instead of focusing on his or her behavior and stewing in silence, try to take a more positive, forgiving approach.
Try to see their positive contributions to the workplace. When you start to feel stressed or bothered, take a short break, get some air and practice deep breathing, Total Wellness recommends. Deep-breathing exercises can help you re-focus and calm down so you don’t blow up or act out toward your coworker. It won’t change their behavior, but trying to see an annoying colleague from a humorous and more relaxed perspective might help you cope – and keep your cool.
Recently, I asked a group of ordinary American women to describe their significant others’ most annoying characteristics. The responses were startling, not for their content but for the loathing I observed in these usually pleasant, well-adjusted people. If you want to see the red gleam of murder in someone’s eyes, if you want chilling insight into the thinness and fragility of the civilized veneer that glosses over humanity’s primal drives, don’t read Greek tragedy or visit death row. Just listen to a few nice, normal folks talk about the way their spouses fake a Cockney accent, reuse unwashed underwear, or repeat every joke three times.
Hating the Ones We Love
As we pledge our undying devotion to our partners, it might be wise to acknowledge the flashes of vile, indefensible hatred we occasionally feel toward them. Acknowledging them while they’re still small can help us deal with them responsibly. Denying their existence allows them to grow until they overwhelm our social niceties, turning us into various manifestations of the Incredible Hulk.
Do you want to reach that point? If not, read on and follow these steps.
Step 1: Find the Meaning in Maddening Moments
Tom and Jerri were furious at each other. On their way to my office, they’d stopped for a cup of coffee. Tom had also purchased a newspaper and flipped to the sports page, holding out the front section and asking Jerri, “Do you want to look at this?” At that point, Jerri burst into tears, all communication ceased, and the couple was officially at war.
Clearly, this had nothing to do with the newspaper. However, the coffee shop incident was an excellent “access point” for figuring out the core issues that were causing conflict. The key to this process is simply asking each person to describe, in detail, the meaning he or she gives to an event.
“He never gives me his full attention,” Jerri said. “He finds anything to distract him—traffic, the sports page, whatever. And then he gives me the rest of the paper, like he thinks I’m behind on current events.”
Tom’s jaw dropped. The motives Jerri had ascribed to his actions had nothing to do with his real intentions. “All I wanted to do was check the baseball scores—my dad and I used to do that. I gave Jerri the rest of the paper because my mom always read it.”
Likewise, when Jerri began to cry, Tom knew that, as he put it, “she was accusing me of being a bad husband, trying to control me.” This could not have been further from Jerri’s intent. “I needed his attention for five minutes over breakfast. If I get that, I feel close to him all day.”
What to Do
Like Tom and Jerri, you’ll often find that the behavior you don’t like is triggering insecurities, fears, or unfinished grief. The next time you feel hatred flaring up, wait until you’re no longer frothing mad, then calmly check whether the meaning you attach to events is the same as your partner’s intention, listen to the response, and then suggest alternatives that might meet both your needs. This technique can turn a maddening moment into an opportunity for deeper mutual understanding and a significantly happier relationship.
Step 2: Take Care of Your Share
Sometimes you’ll search in vain for any deeper significance. Sometimes he’s incredibly annoying, full stop. In that case, the easiest course of action is not to change him (though, as we shall see, this may be possible) but to figure out what you might do to reduce your own irritation.
What to Do
One of the following strategies may help:
Step 3: Train His Brain
If the methods outlined above don’t work for you, it may be time for some good old behaviorist training. This is a simple procedure, grounded in the fact that animals (including humans) will repeat behaviors that are positively rewarded and decrease those that aren’t. I love behaviorist training because, in contrast to the noble approaches we’ve already discussed, it doesn’t require all those tedious virtues (open communication, self-examination, authenticity, yada yada). It’s just plain bribery, though invisible and, of course, well intentioned.
What to Do
Begin by identifying small, easy-to-give treats your mate really loves: praise, chocolate, backrubs, shiny objects. list as many as you can. Hand out these rewards whenever your mate does something you like, especially something that replaces the behavior you most hate. Don’t tell him what you’re doing, and don’t react to the annoying behavior at all (carrots are much more effective than sticks). At first, reward behavior that goes anywhere near what you’d like to see. Then, as the positive behavior increases, offer the reward for more specific actions. This method requires persistence, like housebreaking a puppy, but if you’re up for it, you’ll find it highly effective.
Realize this last strategy may seem Machiavellian, but would you rather shower your mate with kisses (real or Hershey’s) or emerge from a mental mist to find you’ve strangled him for doing that weird falsetto humming thing?
This month, then, might be just the time to work on clearing out the fetid pockets of mate-hate in your relationship. Look for meaning in maddening moments, take your share of blame, and use gentle means of changing behavior. Got that? Good girl! Have a piece of chocolate!
Keep this up, and by next Valentine’s Day you’ll hardly remember how it felt to hate the one you love.
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast.
Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.
Verywell / Laura Porter
Everyone feels irritable sometimes. But, if you’re not careful, your irritability could cause some bigger problems in your life. Whether you say things you don’t mean and it harms your relationships or you struggle to stay productive at work because you’re annoyed by people around you, it’s important to address your irritability.
These strategies can help reduce your irritability so you can feel better.
Acknowledge Your Irritability
When someone asks why you’re so grumpy, it’s tempting to snap at them and say, “I’m not grumpy!” You might even blame everyone else for being too sensitive, too loud, or too annoying.
But denying your irritability is likely to make you feel worse.
When you notice that you’re feeling annoyed with everything and everyone around you, acknowledge that you’re irritable.
You don’t necessarily have to announce that you’re feeling irritable. You might just acknowledge it to yourself.
Studies show naming your feelings can take a lot of the intensity out of them. You might even rate your irritability on a scale of 1 to 10. One study found that when individuals ranked their anger on a scale, their physiological symptoms declined and they felt calmer.
So take a minute to label your emotions when you’re feeling irritable. And you might notice you start to feel just a little better right away.
Determine if There Is a Clear Source
Sometimes, the source of irritability is obvious. Screaming children who won’t listen to your directions, for example, can ignite some irritability after a long day.
At other times, you might just feel like you “woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” You may feel angry and frustrated without really knowing why. A little self-reflection might help you recognize that you’re stressed out or that you haven’t spent much time caring for yourself lately.
You might also consider if you need to get something to eat. Being “hangry” is a real thing. A drop in blood sugar might cause a spike in irritability.
If you can determine the source, you might be able to solve the problem. But keep in mind that sometimes, irritability isn’t caused by anything external. Sometimes, it’s just a normal human experience. Or it may stem from something internal, like a hormone shift or a mental health issue like depression.
Take a Few Deep Breaths
Thoughts like, “I can’t stand to be here one more minute,” will feed your irritability. Your body will respond accordingly by releasing cortisol, a stress hormone.
Then, your heart might beat faster. Your palms might grow sweaty. Your blood pressure might rise.
Taking a few slow, deep breaths can calm your physiological response. When your body grows a little calmer, your brain might grow calmer too.
When you’re feeling stressed and irritable, try inhaling slowly to the count of three through your nose. Hold your breath for just a second and then exhale slowly through pursed lips for a count of three. Do that three times and see if you feel a little better.
Take a Break
When you’re working on a frustrating project or when you’re in an environment that is increasing your stress level, sometimes the best thing you can do is take a break.
Walk away for a minute and take an adult-sized time-out.
Think of your irritability as a sign that you’re running low on batteries (similar to the way your digital devices do). Taking a quick break might be all you need to charge your batteries again so you can re-enter the situation feeling refreshed.
Whether a break for you means a quick walk around the building or it means a few minutes of listening to music in your bedroom with the door shut, find something that can help you calm down fast.
Get a Healthy Dose of Physical Activity
Research shows that getting exercise can be good for your mental health. Physical activity has been used as an effective treatment for anxiety, mood disorder, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. So if irritability stems from a mental health issue, working out can help.
On the flipside, however, too much exercise may increase irritability. This may be especially true if you’re dieting or overtraining.
So make sure you’re getting healthy doses of physical activity but not too much. If your exercise regimen seems to be worsening your mood, talk to your physician.
Chewing gum might be a quick way to relieve stress, which may be helpful in reducing your irritability. A study found that people felt less anxious and less stressed when they were chewing gum. It also improved their focus and attention.
So the next time you feel a little irritable, reach for a piece of gum. You might find it helps you feel a little calmer and a little happier.
Reframe Your Negative Thoughts
When you’re dealing with an inconvenience, like a traffic jam, you might start thinking thoughts that fuel your irritability. Thinking something like, “I hate wasting my life in traffic!” will cause you to feel worse.
When you catch yourself dwelling on the unfairness of a situation or thinking about how much you dislike something, reframe it.
Stick to the facts, rather than your judgments and emotions surrounding those facts. In the case of a traffic jam, you might remind yourself that there are millions of cars on the road every day and traffic jams are bound to happen.
Get Professional Help
Irritability can be a sign of a mental health issue, like depression. So if your irritability lingers for a couple of weeks or you are concerned about it, talk to your physician or reach out to a mental health professional. Treating an underlying mental health issue may help resolve your irritability so you can feel better.
A Word From Verywell
A little irritability may just be a sign that you need to create some lifestyle changes. Adding a little more self-care into your daily routine might be all it takes to feel your best.
If, however, you are struggling with irritability and it’s not going away or it’s starting to take a toll on your relationships, seek professional help.
Press Play for Advice On Prioritizing Self-Care
Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring TV Host Brooke Burke, shares ways you can make self-care a priority regardless of what your schedule may look like. Click below to listen now.
It’s Friday afternoon, last period. The weekend trip you planned with a friend starts in exactly 4 hours. You’ve been catching up on studying and chores all week so you can enjoy the time away. And now the teacher announces a test on Monday.
You probably feel annoyed — or maybe downright angry. You might feel disappointed. You might also feel pressured or stressed about all the studying you’ll have to do.
But how do you react? What do you do and say?
You may want to jump up and yell at the teacher, “That’s not fair! Some of us have weekend plans.” But you know you need to keep your cool until class is over — then share your feelings with your friend.
But what if you’re not the calm, collected type? Don’t worry. Everyone can develop the skill of responding well when emotions run high. It just takes a bit more practice for some people
Learning to React Well
Managing emotional reactions means choosing how and when to express the emotions we feel.
People who do a good job of managing emotions know that it’s healthy to express their feelings — but that it matters how (and when) they express them. Because of this, they’re able to react to situations in productive ways:
- They know they can choose the way they react instead of letting emotions influence them to do or say things they later regret.
- They have a sense of when it’s best to speak out — and when it’s better to wait before acting on, or reacting to, what they feel.
- They know that their reaction influences what happens next — including how other people respond to them and the way they feel about themselves.
You’ve probably been in a situation where someone reacted in a way that was too emotional, making you cringe or feel embarrassed for the person. You also might have been in a situation where your own emotions felt so strong that it took all your self-control not to go down that path yourself.
Maybe you can think of a time when you didn’t manage your reaction. Perhaps anxiety, anger, or frustration got the better of you, It happens. When it does, forgive yourself and focus on what you could have done better. Think about what you might do next time.
The skills we use to manage our emotions and react well are part of a bigger group of emotional skills called emotional intelligence (EQ). Developing all the skills that make up emotional intelligence takes time and practice.
People who react well are already good at some basic EQ skills. But these are skills anyone can practice:
- Emotional awareness. This skill is all about being able to notice and identify the emotions we feel at any given moment. It is the most basic of the EQ skills. Sometimes, just naming the emotion we feel can help us feel more in charge of our emotions.
- Understanding and accepting emotions. Understanding emotions means knowing why we feel the way we do. For example, we might say to ourselves, “I feel left out and a little insecure because I didn’t get invited to the prom yet, and two of my friends already did.”
It helps to view our emotions as understandable, given the situation. We might think to ourselves: “No wonder I feel left out — it’s natural to feel that way in this situation.” It’s like giving ourselves a little kindness and understanding for the way we feel. This helps us accept our emotions. We know they’re reasonable, and that it’s OK to feel whatever way we feel.
Accepting emotions means noticing, identifying, and understanding our emotions without blaming others or judging ourselves for how we feel. It’s not helpful to tell ourselves that how we feel is someone else’s fault. It is also not good to judge our emotions and think, “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “It’s awful that I feel this way!” The goal is to acknowledge your feelings without letting them run away with you.
Once these basic skills feel natural, you’re more able to manage what you actually do when you feel strong emotions. Practicing the basic skills also will help you get past difficult emotions faster.
What Would You Do?
Imagine this situation: Your friends have received promposals (or college acceptances, team places, etc.). But you haven’t. Once you identify, understand, and accept how you feel, how might you react?
- Look unhappy when you’re around your friends, hoping they’ll ask you what’s wrong.
- Gossip about people who already have dates, and say you don’t even want to go to the stupid dance.
- Confide in a friend, “I feel bad about not getting asked yet. But I can still go with friends.”
- Remind yourself that it’s not the end of the world. Decide to give it time and not let it ruin your day.
Consider each choice and think about what might happen next for each one. Which reaction would lead to the best outcome?
We always have a choice about how to react to situations. Once we realize that, it’s easier to make choices that work out well.
Learning to react well takes practice. But we all can get better at taking emotional situations in stride and expressing emotions in healthy ways. And that’s something to feel good about!
It’s human nature to want other people to think well of us. And indeed we are often called upon to put our best foot forward—highlighting our accomplishments and character traits in job interviews and on first dates. So we get a lot of practice in effective self-presentation.
Then why are so many people annoying?
The simple answer is that, despite all our natural inclination and practice, much of our self-presentation backfires. And it backfires because we too often misunderstand the tradeoff between self-promotion—blowing our own horn—and humility. The fact is that modesty, or even self-effacement, can be more effective than bragging in creating a good first impression. Most of us know this from being on the receiving end, yet we still err on the side of self-aggrandizement.
But why do we get it wrong so much of the time? Here’s where some new research may be illuminating. Psychological scientist Irene Scopelliti of City University London and her colleagues believe that this common but harmful behavior is really a failure of emotional perspective taking. Emotional perspective taking requires predicting how somebody else will respond to your situation—putting yourself in their shoes and adjusting for what you see.
But bridging this so-called “empathy gap” is very difficult, and we often fail at it. We assume that others share in our emotions, and thus underestimate the real difference between our emotions and the emotions of others. So we talk openly about our achievements and successes—we brag—because we genuinely believe that others share our joy and pride in those accomplishments. When they don’t—and they often don’t—our self-presentation fails. We are annoying.
At least that’s the hypothesis that Scopelliti and her colleagues decided to test in a few experiments. They wanted to see if self-promoters overestimate others’ positive reactions to them, and underestimate the negative. To test this, they asked a group of subjects to describe in detail an occasion when they bragged to someone about something. They were then asked to describe the emotions they had felt, and the emotions they believed the recipient had felt. Other subjects did the opposite, describing a time when someone had bragged to them. The scientists expected that self-promoters would be more likely than recipients to experience positive emotions, and that they would erroneously project those positive emotions on to the recipient.
And that’s just what they found. Self-promoters were more likely to report positive emotions, and much more likely to believe that recipients also felt positive emotions, when in fact they had not. Similarly, self-promoters were less likely to report negative emotions, and less likely to project negative emotions on to the recipient—when in fact that’s what the recipients felt. In other words, self-promoters’ judgments were egocentric. They were unable to fully adjust their perspective and imagine someone else being annoyed with their bragging.
The scientists wanted to double-check these results and investigate the empathy gap in a different way. So they again had subjects take the part of either the self-promoter or the recipient. They then asked the self-promoters to estimate the recipients’ experience of these discrete emotions: happiness, pride, jealousy, annoyance, anger, upset, and inferiority. The recipients rated themselves on these same emotions. The scientists then compared the two groups’ judgments, with some interesting results: First, self-promoters overestimated the extent to which recipients would feel happy for them and proud of them. And they way underestimated the extent to which others would find them annoying.
The scientists ran a final experiment to see if all this miscalibration has consequences. Specifically, they wanted to see if people who are trying to make a good impression tend to brag excessively, deluded by the belief that their self-promotion will work. And they did, as described in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. When their goal—manipulated in the lab—was to be liked and judged as successful, subjects did engage in more self-promotion, but their efforts backfired. Indeed, the more they engaged in self-promotion, the less the others liked them—and the more they dismissed them as braggarts.
So self-promotion can be much more annoying than we think it is. But it may backfire for another reason as well. Others may also assume that braggarts aren’t holding anything back, so there is nothing positive left to discover. If, by contrast, someone is modest in self-presentation, and hints of good things dribble out, then others may assume that there is much—qualities, skills, character traits—that remain unrevealed.
Follow Wray Herbert’s reporting on psychological science in The Huffington Post and on Twitter at @wrayherbert.
I agree. last night I had dinner with a friend who brags non stop and can’t take a hint that I am annoyed by my body language and eye movement. I eventually took out my cell phone and payed attention to her…LOL Those people just don’t get it and it annoys me because I don’t want to waste my time with them I wonder if I should say something to help them not be so annoying. These peoplen are accomplished and wonderful and I like having them as a friend but this gets so crazy. Them is a her.. Just to be clear.
There are numerous other ways that human’s are annoying. I was confused when your Topic sentence said, “Why are people so annoying”, and then your article focused on only one aspect, bragging to the point of being annoying.
I find that annoying! I was hoping for a more in-depth discussion on why people are annoying.
Correct! People are annoying in every way imaginable, so to document each & every detail would be impossible.
Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia
PhD Student in Psychology, University of British Columbia
Todd Handy receives funding from NSERC.
Sumeet Jaswal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
University of British Columbia provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation CA.
University of British Columbia provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA-FR.
Are you bothered by seeing someone else fidget? Do you ever have strong negative feelings, thoughts or physical reactions when viewing other peoples’ repetitive movements such as foot shaking, finger tapping or gum chewing?
Well, if you do, you aren’t alone.
In a new study we ran as attentional neuroscientists, we put that question to a sample of over 2,700 undergraduates and found that more than one-third said yes. And it wasn’t just students who had such sensitivities. When we went out and asked people in the general population about how they feel when others around them begin to twiddle, tap or jiggle, they too reported negative reactions at a similar rate.
Many of us humans, it turns out, are challenged by fidgeting.
‘Hatred of movement’
Termed misokinesia, or “the hatred of movement” in Greek, these reactions can have serious social impacts for those who experience them. As our findings confirmed, it can reduce peoples’ ability to enjoy social interactions, impair one’s ability to learn in the classroom and create difficulties at work.
There was a lot of individual variability in the range of challenges people reported: some had a lot of difficulties, some just a few. We also discovered that these negative social impacts seem to increase with age — the older you get, the more intense and widespread your misokinesia reactions may be.
And perhaps even more surprising? We’re only learning this now.
For several decades there has been growing scientific recognition of a similar challenge associated with hearing the sounds other people make. If you are bothered by sounds like slurping, lip-smacking and gum chewing, you may have a disorder called misophonia. It’s defined, in a paper that has not been peer-reviewed, as a decreased tolerance to specific sounds, in which such sounds evoke strong negative emotional, physiological and behavioural responses.
Misokinesia, on the other hand, has remained in the scientific shadows. Originally mentioned in a study of misophonia by the Dutch psychiatrist Arjan Schröder and his colleagues in 2013, it had never been the focus of a peer-reviewed study until our paper was published in August. So for now, we have a lot more questions than answers.
Most prominent among these is, why are so many of us bothered by fidgeting?
Why we fidget
We think the answer might tie back to why we fidget in the first place. In addition to evidence suggesting that we often fidget as a way to mindlessly burn extra calories, another clear reason is that we do it when we are feeling nervous or anxious. And that’s where the problem may be for those who have to see it.
The trouble is, our human brains are equipped with an exquisite capacity to mimic the actions we see others perform. This is the function of our so-called “mirror neuron system,” which helps us understand the actions and intentions of others by “mirroring” their actions in the same brain areas that we would use to make similar actions of our own.
While this can be critical to normal human social interactions, if we start mirroring actions that we associate with anxiety and other negative emotional states — actions like nervous fidgeting — that very well may trigger those negative states as we observe them. While this is speculative for now, we will soon be exploring it as an explanation for misokinesia in a new set of experiments.
But importantly, there is also a lot more to misokinesia’s immediate impacts than just the potential rush of negative emotions whenever fidgeting is encountered, and this raises another pressing question we’ve been pursuing.
Fidgeting and attention
In a new experiment we have yet to publish, we recently asked people to watch a pair of short instructional videos that showed a person talking, and then after each video we gave them a memory assessment, to determine how much information they retained from each one. The critical manipulation was that in one video the person talking occasionally fidgeted with their hand, and in the other they did not.
In interviews we’ve had with misokinesics, a common report is that beyond the aversive reactions fidgeting can trigger, it also impedes peoples’ ability to pay attention to whatever else may be happening around them. And so this raised another question for us — does misokinesia distract people from their surroundings?
The answer, our preliminary data suggest, is yes.
For those with higher levels of misokinesia, their memory performance was worse relative to both those not reporting any sensitivities, and those with lower sensitivity levels. And the effect wasn’t just due to overall poorer memory systems in those with higher levels of misokinesia; they performed equally well on basic assessments of memory.
While this second study is still awaiting peer-review, what it helps to confirm is that misokinesia isn’t just an experience of negative emotions. It alters how people can engage with the world around them, impacting what they see, hear, or might otherwise simply enjoy.
This also helps to explain something else we’ve recently found.
In unpublished interviews we’ve had with misokinesics, they have reported adopting a variety of strategies to help them cope with these negative emotions and attentional distractions, including leaving rooms, blocking individuals from view, seeking out cognitive behavioural therapy and even physically mimicking the observed fidgeting behaviour.
Given what we’re now learning about misokinesia, this shouldn’t be surprising — the impacts can be serious, people need support, and we need to be more aware of this widespread social challenge.
OTHER WORDS FOR annoy
OPPOSITES FOR annoy
VIDEO FOR ANNOY
What Words And Phrases Make Your Eyes Roll?
This dad and daughter help us explain why there are just some words and phrases your parents (or kids!) say that automatically make eyes roll.
Origin of annoy
synonym study for annoy
OTHER WORDS FROM annoy
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH annoy
Words nearby annoy
MORE ABOUT ANNOY
What does annoy mean?
Annoy means to bother or irritate.
The word implies that the resulting irritation does not rise to the level of serious harm or a major problem—even if someone or something annoys you very much.
People usually annoy through some kind of irritating and unwanted behavior (especially when it’s repeated), such as chewing too loudly or asking you the same question over and over again. Things that annoy are often those that distract, interrupt, or intrude on what you’re trying to do, like a noise that keeps waking you up when you’re trying to fall asleep or a pop-up ad.
Someone who is bothered in this way can be described as annoyed. Someone or something that annoys you can be described as annoying. Someone or something that annoys you can be called an annoyance.
Less commonly, annoy means to harass. In this case, the results are more serious than the more common meaning of annoy.
Example: Mom, Jeff is trying to annoy me again! He keeps humming!
Where does annoy come from?
The first records of the word annoy come from the 1200s. It comes from the Old French anoier, meaning “to tire” or “to harm.” This term derived from the Late Latin verb inodiāre, which means “to cause aversion” and itself comes from the Latin phrase mihi in odiō est, meaning “I dislike.”
People and things that annoy are doing something that you dislike—something that bothers you. Still, it’s usually something minor and not truly harmful. Annoy has a lot of synonyms that can be used in all kinds of annoying situations, including bother, aggravate, pester, vex, irritate, irk, exasperate, and perturb.
Did you know . ?
What are some other forms related to annoy?
- annoyed (past tense verb, adjective)
- annoying (continuous tense verb, adjective)
- annoyance (noun)
- annoyer (noun)
- half-annoyed (adjective)
- unannoyed (adjective)
What are some synonyms for annoy?
What are some words that share a root or word element with annoy?
What are some words that often get used in discussing annoy?
How is annoy used in real life?
Annoy is a very common word that can be used in all kinds of contexts. It’s always used negatively.
My little brother is trying to annoy me by singing at the top of his lungs. Little does he know, I’m not bothered. I’m tuning him out.
Some people say someday you’ll miss the things that used to annoy you — like dirty socks on the floor — when someone is gone.
Nope. I miss a lot, but the things that annoyed me? I’m totally fine with those gone.
what annoys me the most is when someone tells me how I should feel in a certain situation
Try using annoy!
Which of the following words is a synonym of annoy?
D. all of the above
Uncontrolled anger can be problematic for your personal relationships and for your health. Fortunately, there are tools you can learn to help you keep your anger in check.
Wrath, fury, rage — whatever you call it, anger is a powerful emotion. Unfortunately, it’s often an unhelpful one.
Anger is a natural human experience, and sometimes there are valid reasons to get mad like feeling hurt by something someone said or did or experiencing frustration over a situation at work or home. But uncontrolled anger can be problematic for your personal relationships and for your health.
Fortunately, there are tools you can learn to help you keep your anger in check.
Anger can take different forms. Some people feel angry much of the time, or can’t stop dwelling on an event that made them mad. Others get angry less often, but when they do it comes out as explosive bouts of rage.
Whatever shape it takes, uncontrolled anger can negatively affect physical health and emotional wellbeing. Research shows that anger and hostility can increase people’s chances of developing coronary heart disease, and lead to worse outcomes in people who already have heart disease. Anger can also lead to stress-related problems including insomnia, digestive problems and headaches.
Anger can also contribute to violent and risky behaviors, including drug and alcohol use. And on top of all that, anger can significantly damage relationships with family, friends and colleagues.
Strategies to keep anger at bay
Anger can be caused by internal and external events. You might feel mad at a person, an entity like the company you work for, or an event like a traffic jam or a political election. Wherever the feelings come from, you don’t have to let your anger get the better of you. Here are some techniques to help you stay calm.
Check yourself. It’s hard to make smart choices when you’re in the grips of a powerful negative emotion. Rather than trying to talk yourself down from a cliff, avoid climbing it in the first place. Try to identify warning signs that you’re starting to get annoyed. When you recognize the signs, step away from the situation or try relaxation techniques to prevent your irritation from escalating.
Don’t dwell. Some people have a tendency to keep rehashing the incident that made them mad. That’s an unproductive strategy, especially if you have already resolved the issue that angered you in the first place. Instead, try to let go of the past incident. One way to do that is to focus instead on things you appreciate about the person or the situation that made you angry.
Change the way you think. When you’re angry, it’s easy to feel like things are worse than they really are. Through a technique known as cognitive restructuring, you can replace unhelpful negative thoughts with more reasonable ones. Instead of thinking “Everything is ruined,” for example, tell yourself “This is frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.”
Try these strategies to reframe your thinking:
- Avoid words like “never” or “always” when talking about yourself or others. Statements like “This never works” or “You’re always forgetting things” make you feel your anger is justified. Such statements also alienate people who might otherwise be willing to work with you on a solution.
- Use logic. Even when it’s justified, anger can quickly become irrational. Remind yourself that the world is not out to get you. Do this each time you start feeling angry, and you’ll get a more balanced perspective.
- Translate expectations into desires. Angry people tend to demand things, whether it’s fairness, appreciation, agreement or willingness to do things their way. Try to change your demands into requests. And if things don’t go your way, try not to let your disappointment turn into anger.
Relax. Simple relaxation strategies, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help soothe angry feelings. If you practice one or more of these strategies often, it will be easier to apply them when angry feelings strike.
- Focused breathing. Shallow breathing is angry breathing. Practice taking controlled, slow breaths that you picture coming up from your belly rather than your chest.
- Use imagery. Visualize a relaxing experience from your memory or your imagination.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. With this technique, you slowly tense then relax each muscle group one at a time. For example, you might start with your toes and slowly work your way up to your head and neck.
Improve your communication skills. People often jump to conclusions when they’re angry, and they can say the first (often unkind) thing that pops into their heads. Try to stop and listen before reacting. Then take time to think carefully about how you want to reply. If you need to step away to cool down before continuing the conversation, make a promise to come back later to finish the discussion.
Get active. Regular physical exercise can help you decompress, burn off extra tension and reduce stress that can fuel angry outbursts.
Recognize (and avoid) your triggers. Give some thought to the things that make you mad. If you know you always get angry driving downtown at rush hour, take the bus or try to adjust your schedule to make the trip at a less busy time. If you always argue with your spouse at night, avoid bringing up contentious topics when you’re both tired. If you’re constantly annoyed that your child hasn’t cleaned his room, shut the door so you don’t have to look at the mess.
You can’t completely eliminate angry feelings. But you can make changes to the way those events affect you, and the ways in which you respond. By making the effort to keep your anger in check, you and the people close to you will be happier for the long run.
How a psychologist can help
If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consult with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional who can help you learn how to control your anger. He or she can help you identify problem areas and then develop an action plan for changing them.
The American Psychological Association gratefully acknowledges psychologists Raymond W. Novaco, PhD, and Raymond DiGiuseppe, PhD, for their help with this fact sheet.
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the The Verywell Mind Podcast.
Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.
Whether your child is burping loudly at the dinner table or poking their sibling in the arm just to annoy them, obnoxious behavior can be downright irritating. But most kids experiment with obnoxious behavior at one time or another.
“Obnoxious” means behavior that is extremely unpleasant, offensive, or distasteful. As a parent, you might feel annoyed or irritated by your child’s behavior. However, before jumping into these strategies, ask yourself:
- Is my child’s behavior truly obnoxious or am I feeling triggered in some way by it?
- Is this a developmentally appropriate behavior? Does it really need to be addressed?
Kids are immature and they do things that appear obnoxious to our more mature adult brain. If you do feel you need to address a behavior, there are effective strategies to try.
Prevent Obnoxious Behavior Before It Starts
Proactively teach your child skills that will prevent them from exhibiting disruptive behavior. Teach empathy so they can understand how their rude behavior affects those around them. Pause when you’re reading books to ask questions about how a character’s behavior affected the other people in the story.
Teach healthy ways to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Show kids how to cope with anxiety, fear, loneliness, or rejection without acting out.
Praise Good Behavior
Kids often misbehave as a means to get attention. Giving your child attention for behaving can prevent them from acting out. Rather than scolding your child for interrupting every time they butt into the conversation, pause when you’re talking to a friend and say, “Thank you for playing so quietly.”
Praising good behavior can encourage your child to keep up the good work. It shows that the best way to get attention is to follow the rules.
Ignore Behavior That Isn’t Harmful
If your child’s obnoxious behavior is purely attention-seeking—like making loud noises repeatedly at the dinner table—ignore it. Selective ignoring can ensure that your child’s misbehavior isn’t effective in getting them the attention they are trying to attract.
Ignoring will only work if everyone in the family is able to be on board. If a sibling is likely to cover their ears and repeatedly yell “Stop!”, their reaction will only reinforce to your child that obnoxious behavior is effective in getting a reaction out of someone.
It’s important that everyone is on board and able to ignore the obnoxious behavior. If not, you might need to try a different strategy.
Point Out Obnoxious Behavior
If your child doesn’t recognize the type of behavior that is likely to annoy others, point out obnoxious behavior when it occurs. If your child is showing off when you have visitors, they may think they are entertaining people. Or, if they are not sure how to invite other children to play with them, they may act out in an attempt to get their peers’ attention.
If you’re in private, simply say, “Please stop. Those loud noises are annoying” or even “Those noises hurt my ears.” A little reminder may be all you need.
If it’s a public situation, call your child to the side and privately explain that their behavior is inappropriate. Say something like, “I know you want the other kids to play with you. But blocking them from running across the bridge is annoying them. Ask them if you can play with them rather than interrupting the game they’re already playing.”
Create a code word or signal so you can point out obnoxious behavior in public without embarrassing your child. Saying, “Nice shoes” or “Be kind” might remind them to change their behavior.
Offer a Warning
A when. then statement is an effective way to remind your child to make better choices. Say something like, “When you choose to stop banging that toy on the floor, then you will get more play time” or “If you choose to keep banging, then you will need to take some time away from the activity.” Only offer one warning and be prepared to follow through with a consequence.
Give a Consequence
If your child doesn’t heed your warning, it may be necessary to follow through with a negative consequence. Time-out is usually an effective consequence. Remove your child from the situation and stop giving them any attention.
If obnoxious behavior turns aggressive, or if a time-out isn’t an option, taking away a privilege can help your child learn.
Problem-Solve for the Future
If the obnoxious behavior is an ongoing problem for your child, it’s important to problem-solve the issue together, before you enter into a situation where disruptive behavior is likely to occur—like in the car or when visiting Grandma.
You might decide to pack an activity for a car ride, like a coloring book and crayons. Or, you might offer a little reward for good behavior. Say something like, “If you follow the rules at Grandma’s house today we’ll stop and play at the playground on the drive home.”
Talk about your expectations up front. Discuss what your child can do if they are bored or how they can get attention in a more positive manner.
May 7, 2022 11:00 am
Robocalls are one of many daily annoyances that irritate Americans. (Photo by Getty Images)
We live, work and learn in an increasingly aggravating environment.
Robocalls rank among the top petty annoyances. We may overlook one or two, but several in a day can trigger ire.
Americans receive close to 4 billion robocalls per month, on track for 47 billion robocalls by the end of the year.
The content of calls is disturbing, but the timing can be even more so.
You’re preparing a meal, watching Netflix or enjoying another’s company when the cell phone vibrates — someone wants to indict you for tax fraud, extend your car warranty or report an unauthorized Amazon charge.
The word “annoy” comes to us from the French, “enoiier,” which means to weary or vex. Webster’s defines it as “to disturb or irritate especially by repeated acts.”
Depending on party affiliation, you’ll get political texts and calls — a communique from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or an urgent message from Sen. Charles Grassley.
Americans received an estimated 18.5 billion political text messages in 2020, and there’s little you can do to stop them. Unfortunately, the National Do Not Call Registry does not apply to politics. Neither can you bar charities and debt collectors from contacting you as they are exempt from the Federal Trade Commission’s blocking list.
And then there is the mobile phone itself. Among the top annoyances are battery life, software updates and passwords. Once again, time, place and occasion dictate the level of exasperation. Your phone dies during an important call or updates and wipes out your passwords so you have to remember them again.
The password guessing game is infuriating. You get three chances to recall a password before you’re blocked and now must call the facility or organization to be reinstated digitally.
Then there is two-factor identification, increasingly used by schools and businesses. You can’t simply sit at the computer anymore and get to work; you have to find your phone and affirm, “Yes, it’s me.”
We also are annoyed face-to-face.
According to one study, top irritants include bosses requesting urgent work, no toilet paper left, empty milk cartons in fridge, friends canceling plans at last minute, and encountering someone you dislike at the supermarket.
Journalism annoys, too. Former Des Moines Register columnist Kyle Munson listed these bothersome cliches:
- Familiar with the situation. “I’m always glad that the reporter didn’t rely on an unnamed source who was unfamiliar with the situation.”
- War chest. “If political writers want to get cute, I vote that they replace it with the term ‘piggy bank.’”
- Amid. “Amid these turbulent times, a little less ‘amid’ would make me happy. And we can ditch of ‘turbulent times’ while we’re at it.”
(For the record, my most annoying news phrase is “take a listen.”)
A Marist poll reported in December 2021 that “Trump” and “coronavirus” were among the most maddening terms, replacing “whatever” for the first time in more than a decade. Other annoying words included “Critical Race Theory,” “woke,” “cancel culture” and “It is what it is.”
Americans have a hard time trusting the news. The least trustworthy anchors in descending order are Sean Hannity (Fox News), Rachel Maddow (MSNBC), Don Lemon (CNN), Mika Brzezinski (MSNBC), Chris Matthews (MSNBC), Joe Scarborough (MSNBC), Tucker Carlson (Fox News), Chris Cuomo (CNN), Laura Ingraham (Fox News) and Anderson Cooper (CNN).
Cooper also was listed as among “the most trusted” after NBC’s Lester Holt, indicating how divided viewers are in ranking the news.
Considering worldwide disease and war, we might wonder why these trivial annoyances hijack our emotions, sometimes leading to outbursts that jeopardize character and reputation.
According to Psychology Today, “A minor irritation, a ‘petty annoyance,’ can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back under chronic stress.” We are asked to put things into perspective, think positively, be patient, avoid antagonistic people and understand moods, including our own.
People have been trying to tame emotions for millennia.
Stoicism, an ancient branch of philosophy, encourages us to face our feelings in a mindful way. One Stoic meditation that can help with annoyance is called the “premeditatio malorum.” Stoicism accepts that bad things can happen in life and urges one to imagine worst-case scenarios in logical, unemotional detail. If those bad things do indeed come to pass, then we can act quickly with purpose rather than be surprised and react with anger.
Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and philosopher, believed we have power over our mind, not external events. In his book, Meditations, he writes: “Begin in the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial.” Accept that as fact, he states, because being vexed at everything goes against human nature.
Do not take petty annoyances to heart. Rather, he opines, overlook the failings of others and “remember that all is opinion.”
- Jamie Gruman is a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Guelph.
- Gruman says that having a “social allergy” to someone is a lot like having a seasonal allergy — and the emotional and physical symptoms of these allergies can be felt quickly.
- Limit your exposure by arriving late or leaving early. And be strategic when navigating these situations.
- If it gets really out of control, give feedback respectfully. If that’s not an option, try to practice mindfulness.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Social allergies are a lot like seasonal allergies . They’re annoying, exhausting, and hard to avoid. They’re also especially common around the holidays. That’s because the holidays put you at a high risk of exposure. Swap the dander and ragweed for your not-so-favorite acquaintances and relatives and there you have it — a full-blown case of social allergies.
Maybe it’s the way your aunt constantly complains about frivolous things. Or perhaps it’s how your father-in-law smacks his lips and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand when he eats. Or could it be the way your cousin can’t have a conversation without droning on about himself?
All of us have allergies to people whose seemingly inconsequential behavior irritates us. The emotional and physical symptoms these social allergens produce arise within minutes of exposure, making us want to immediately evacuate the toxic environment.
The holiday season social allergy
Like seasonal allergies, social allergies are often inescapable. Triggers include the obligatory get-togethers that come with the holidays. For many, the season is supposed to be a time to recharge our batteries: recover from the unreasonable deadlines, numerous pressures, and other demands we face on a daily basis.
Social allergies can interfere with that plan.
Rather than having a few days off to decompress, we spend our time away from work filled with dread, anxiety, and exasperation because we have to endure people we are allergic to.
Although we can get out of some noxious social situations, there are others that are almost mandatory.
So, what are the social antihistamines that will help us cope?
One effective way to prevent a social allergic reaction is to limit your exposure. In the same way a person allergic to cats should avoid snuggling up in bed with a pride of domestic felines, a person with social allergies should avoid staying in an environment full of social allergens.
By minimizing the amount of time you are in contact with the allergens, you attack the problem directly, fostering resilience and recovery by reducing your exposure to a hazardous situation.
This means leave early or come late. Have a strategy to restrict the amount of time you spend surrounded by your social allergens. While you are at the gathering, be strategic about the social situations you place yourself in. When finding a spot at the dinner table, don’t sit next to Cousin So-and-so or Aunt M and definitely don’t sit in full view of your lip-smacking father-in-law.
We have the power to exert some control over many social allergens.
For example, when speaking with a self-centered toxic relative, she’s looking for a certain type of reaction from you. In many cases, the wanted reaction is simple: It’s support and validation.
While you may want to shut off the stream coming out of auntie’s mouth, this will not actually help calm your allergic reaction. But if you spend some time to first provide the validation she seeks, you could potentially satisfy her craving and extinguish the behavior you find repellent.
If you can no longer tolerate your father-in-law’s eating, consider speaking to him about his eating habits. But remember that conversations not only convey information, but they also have implications for relationships and identities.
Make it clear to him that you’re speaking to him about this because you love him. And see if you can bring up the topic indirectly so that you don’t come across as intrusive. Giving feedback to people often fails to change their behavior if we’re not sensitive about how it might be received.
If giving feedback to your father-in-law doesn’t seem like the best idea, you can instead try practicing mindfulness . Mindfulness is a non-judgmental state of present moment awareness.
When social allergens start bothering you, pay attention to your own internal irritation without evaluating it. Don’t cling to it and don’t push it away. Just follow it.
Watching the ebbs and flows of your experience has a way of putting distance between you and your reactions through a process called reperceiving. Mindfulness won’t necessarily prevent the allergen from bothering you, but it will help you control how much it annoys you and how quickly you recover from its effects.
Social allergies can burn you out and change a relaxing holiday into a stressful test of endurance. To get a boost during holiday time, you need to make sure that you spend your time with people who recharge and revitalize you.
Also, mitigate your averse reaction to people’s annoying habits. A few simple steps can transform your holiday into one that lets you enjoy a happy, healthy break, instead of having to contend with social allergies.
The author thanks Deirdre Healey’s assistance with this article.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Don’t let the negativity from other teachers impact you and spread into your classroom
Dealing with negative teachers in the workplace can be difficult and frustrating. When things become toxic, it’s far too easy to get sucked into the negativity. Dealing with teachers who are having an “off day” is one thing, but knowing the steps to avoid true “Negative Nancys” altogether can be difficult.
Here are five ways to deal with negative teachers.
1. Address the Behavior with the Teacher
If you find yourself getting pulled into the negativity at school, remember that it’s normal to have negative thoughts. However, the way you deal with or express these thoughts can greatly impact your mood.
If you find you have a colleague who’s relentlessly negative, the best solution may be to address their negative behavior with them. In fact, consider speaking to them with a group of colleagues who share the same positive attitude as you. Let the teacher know how you feel about their negativity, and offer support and solutions to overcome their negative behavior.
Showing negative teachers that you respect their differences and offering insight into the situation may help alleviate the negativity within an organization.
2. Get Administration Involved
Teachers have the ability to greatly impact the culture of a school, and our attitudes can help or hurt student motivation, achievement, and well-being. If a teacher’s negative behavior has progressed to negatively impacting the students, it’s time to get administrators involved. They can step in and mediate, depending on the situation. This tactic is best used after you’ve already spoken to your colleague about their behavior and haven’t seen any improvements.
3. Learn to Properly Express Your Own Feelings
Everyone experiences negative thoughts and emotions. But it can be far too easy to let bad vibes overstay their welcome when surrounded by a group of negative teachers. While it’s important to build professional relationships with colleagues, keep in mind that there’s absolutely a right way to blow off steam.
In addition to being unconstructive, airing your work-related grievances at school can make the problem worse if the source of your frustrations finds out what you’ve been saying. It’s better to find appropriate outlets for your feelings than get caught in the trap of workplace negativity.
4. Remove Yourself from the Situation
One of the easiest and most effective ways to deal with negative teachers is removing yourself from the situation. In my experience, the teacher’s lounge is one of the main areas where negativity can build and disrupt workplace dynamics. I’ve been in situations where I chose to eat in my classroom because the teacher’s lounge was too toxic for my liking.
Although you might feel like you’re isolating yourself by staying away from certain teachers, it’s important to know what’s best for you and your students. After all, students pick up on your behavior, and if you’ve been exposed to or engaged in negativity, it can affect their behavior and learning.
5. Don’t Let Go of Your Own Positivity
Teaching isn’t easy—it’s very normal to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or upset. But how we handle our emotions can greatly impact our teaching, our relationships, and ultimately our students. It’s a necessary skill to be able to shift any negative thoughts into positive ones. This may be easier said than done, but these three tactics are a start.
- Surround yourself with positive people, both in and outside of school.
- Find a creative outlet that helps you relieve stress and feel rejuvenated.
- Maintain a positive mind-set by learning to turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Positive thoughts increase your mood, improve your thinking, and help you and your colleagues have a more positive workplace environment.
Instead of being a “Negative Nancy,” be a “Positive Penelope.” Focus on the positive, and be the best teacher you can be. The effects will be evident not only in the classroom, but in every aspect of your life.
Feeling annoyed isn’t pleasant, but it can point the way to a better life.
- People often discount their own feelings of annoyance. However, those feelings often have important messages.
- Feeling annoyed may indicate that one’s boundaries have been crossed.
- Re-evaluating high standards may eliminate feelings of annoyance that are based on a perfectionist mindset.
Annoyance is an unpleasant feeling, but, like all feelings, it serves useful purposes. (“Annoy” and “irritate” have slightly different shades of meaning, but I’m going to use them interchangeably here.)
To annoy means “to rouse to impatience or anger.” Think of it as a highway rumble strip on the edge of full-blown anger. It could be a clue that you’ve gotten off course and need to steer back to your own lane.
Sometimes we’re tempted to deal with our feelings of annoyance by discounting them: “Oh, I shouldn’t feel so annoyed at such a little thing.” Sometimes a little perspective does hold annoyance and anger at bay. But your feelings of annoyance might be trying to tell you something important, such as one of these five things:
1. You need to set a limit. Someone is asking you a question that feels much too personal and you feel irritated. The irksome tingle of annoyance lets you know that someone may be about to violate your boundaries. Gear up for a protective response before things go too far, such as saying, “I really don’t want to talk about it,” or one of these options.
2. You need to protect your time. Is someone asking you to help out at another school event? Again?! Your annoyance may be telling you that you are already overloaded and that you need to do something about that, starting by saying, “I’ve got a lot on my plate already. I’ll think about it and get back to you.”
3. You need to find a better way to do something. Annoyed at all the morning tasks you need to juggle just to get to work on time? Annoyance can be a spur to creative problem-solving. It can even be a mother of invention. What could you do to make your situation better? Could you wake up 15 minutes earlier, do some tasks the night before, or delegate lunch-making to your kids?
4. You’re feeling resentful or angry. Maybe you think you’re doing more than your share of household chores. Instead of stewing about it or letting the situation escalate into a family fight, acknowledge your annoyance, turn your complaint into a request, and see what happens. You could say, “I’d appreciate it if you could. ”
5. You are suffering from perfectionism. You may become irritated when you don’t live up to your own standards, when someone else doesn’t live up to your standards, or when this cruel world betrays your ideals of how things ought to be. In that case:
- If you are annoyed at yourself for falling short of the mark, you could choose to make a creative change, re-evaluate your high standards, or just send yourself some compassion: “You have a right to be less than perfect. You are human!”
- When someone else doesn’t live up to your standards, you could either speak up clearly about what you expect, try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view, or decide you need to let it go.
- And when the world is cruel, unjust, or just plain disorganized, you can become an activist and make at least your corner of the world a bit better.
We all get annoyed by different things, so it’s important to recognize that a person is not necessarily inflicting psychological warfare on you through thoughtless actions. When your neighbor has been using his beloved leaf-blower for 45 minutes, it’s irritating but not something to take personally. Just buy earplugs or decide it’s the right time to head out for a cup of coffee.
The next time you feel irritated at something, see if you can “sit with it” for a few moments. As you explore your feelings, you may discover a variety of “instant messages.”
Or, use the 4-step approach that Toni Bernhard suggests in her book, How to Wake Up:
- Recognize the annoyance
- Label it
- Investigate it
- Let it be or take action to change the situation.
Soon you may find that the presence of annoyance can be like a visit from an old friend from whom you can always learn something new.
(c) Meg Selig, 2013
Meg Selig is the author of the book Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success (Routledge, 2009).
Ways to Say You Are Annoyed at Behavior
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Do you ever get annoyed about something that a person does or says often? More than likely, the answer is yes. We are all human, after all.
As we spend long periods at home, for example, some of our loved ones’ behaviors might become annoying. Maybe you wish they would give you more space or privacy, for example. Or maybe they make too much noise, use your belongings or rarely do their share of cleaning.
Listen to a short exchange between friends:
How are things going at home?
Mostly fine. But my brother is getting on my nerves. He is constantly leaving dirty clothes in the bathroom. And he’s always hogging the computer.
The speaker used present continuous verbs to show that these things happen often – and that she finds them annoying.
On today’s Everyday Grammar, we will explore a few forms English speakers use to talk about the present and the past.
Let’s first discuss the present and stay with the present continuous.
Sometimes, English speakers use the present continuous verb form to express annoyance or complain about a repeated action or habit. Alone, this verb form does not express negative emotion. It must be used with adverbs that mean “all the time,” such as “always” “constantly” or “continually.”
Let’s listen to part of the earlier exchange again. This time, listen for the verbs and notice where the speaker puts the adverbs. As a reminder, the present continuous verb tense is formed with is/are plus a verb ending in –ing:
He is constantly leaving dirty clothes in the bathroom. And he’s always hogging the computer.
Did you find the verbs? They are “is leaving” and “is hogging.” And, the speaker put the adverbs in between the verbs, such as in the phrase “is constantly leaving.”
Wish + would
Another way we casually complain about present behavior is with the form wish + would. Listen to a speaker talk about a current problem:
I wish you would take your health seriously. You have not visited the doctor in over a year.
For some English speakers, the wish + would sentence structure may be a little difficult because it contains a noun clause. You can learn more about “wish” clauses in earlier Everyday Grammar programs. [LINK]
Note that we can use the form wish + would in positive sentences with “would” or negative sentences with “wouldn’t” to express the same basic meaning. Here’s an example:
I wish you wouldn’t ignore your health. You have not visited the doctor in over a year.
Now let’s talk about ways English speakers express annoyance about past behavior.
We can use a continuous tense — this time the past continuous — to say that something aggravating happened often in the past.
Suppose the girl who lives with her brother moved to some other place. So, she was able to talk about her annoyance as a past problem.
Listen for the verbs in the next example. As a reminder, the past continuous verb tense is formed with was/were + a verb ending in –ing:
He was constantly leaving dirty clothes in the bathroom. And he was always hogging the computer.
Did you find the verbs? They are “was leaving” and “was hogging.” Again, with this verb tense, adverbs like “always” and “constantly” are needed to express a negative emotion about repeated behavior.
Kept + gerund
Finally we move to the past form kept + gerund. As a reminder, a gerund is a noun ending in –ing.
You may remember an earlier Everyday Grammar program that talked about keep + gerund, which has a few uses, such as to express that something that happens again and again [link]. For today’s program, let’s focus on kept + gerund for expressing annoyance at a repeated past action.
Listen to an example and pay attention for the form kept + gerund:
Our dog kept chewing on everything. He was becoming a real nuisance until we brought in a behavioral specialist.
Did you find the form kept + gerund? The gerund here is “chewing.”
Kept + gerund has a similar meaning to the past continuous when expressing annoyance or aggravation about a past problem. And, we sometimes explain how we solved whatever problem we were facing.
Well, that’s our program for today. Join us again soon for another lesson on grammar for everyday speaking and writing.
I’m Alice Bryant.
Alice Bryant wrote this story for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
annoying – adj. causing someone to feel slightly angry
get on (one’s) nerves – expression.
constantly – adv. happening all the time or very often over a period of time
hog – v. to take, keep or use something in a way that prevents other people from having or using it
negative – adj. expressing dislike or disapproval
phrase – n. a small group words that express a single idea but do not usually form a complete sentence
clause – n. a part of a sentence that has its own subject and verb
aggravating – adj. causing annoyance or exasperation
habit – n. something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way
focus – v. to direct your attention or effort at something specific
nuisance – n. a person, thing or situation that is annoying or that causes trouble or problems
Difficult patients are unavoidable and dealing with them often leads to increased stress levels within your practice. They can create unpleasant situations that have a negative effect on staff when things don’t go their way. Responding appropriately to angry patients keeps stress away and prevents these types of situations from escalating into full-blown conflicts. Follow the 7 tips outlined below to handle even the most exasperating patients with empathy and professionalism.
1. Don’t Get Defensive
The patients anger probably didn’t originate during their visit, rather it was triggered from something else they have going on in their life. Be sure to keep your perspective straight and your mind on an appropriate solution to the issue they’re facing. Even when you know you did nothing wrong, it’s always best to respond with care and concern.
2. Watch Your Body Language
If possible, sit down. This shows you have time to solve the problem. Your body will tell the story of your emotions better than your words do. When patients are angry, they are likely to push your buttons and may make you angry too. Recognize when you are responding in this manner so you can control your words, tone, body language and overall response to get the outcome you desire.
3. Let Them Tell Their Story and Listen Quietly
Difficult patients will often reveal the source of their concern. It’s best to wait until they’ve calmed down so you can take a deep breath and collect your thoughts before responding. Use the patient’s name, speak softly and maintain eye contact. This conveys openness and honesty. Don’t interrupt and mirror their words. The patient may be resistant, defensive or even frightened.
4. Acknowledge the Situation
Start by saying, “I understand why you are upset” or “I feel our communication has been broken down”. Most importantly, remain calm and take stock of your own emotions. Avoid negative language which may lead to escalation of the situation.
5. Set Boundaries
Keep yourself, your patients and colleagues safe by staying in control while defusing the situation. It’s okay to end a consultation if a patient is becoming increasingly angry and you don’t think the situation is going to improve – particularly if you feel there is an imminent risk of physical aggression.
6. Administer Patient Satisfaction Surveys
This gives your patients an opportunity to share their concerns. Doing so may prevent them from voicing their complaints with online review sites. Tell your patients that you take their feedback seriously.
7. Be Proactive
Perhaps the most important tip, don’t ignore the problem or avoid communicating with an angry patient. As much as you wish it would, the problem is unlikely to go away on its own. It is important for practices to recognize when a patient is angry, determine the cause of the anger and implement these de-escalation techniques to improve care.
In an ideal world, we would all have fantastic managers—bosses who helped us succeed, who made us feel valued, and who were just all-around great people.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. But, whether the person you work for is a micromanager, has anger management problems, shows favortism toward one person, is a flat-out workplace bully, or just isn’t very competent, you still have to make the best of the situation and get your job done.
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To help out, we’ve gathered the best advice from around the web for dealing with a bad boss. Try one or more of these tips to find some common ground with your boss—or at least stay sane until you find a new gig.
1. Make Sure You’re Dealing With a “Bad Boss”
Before trying to fix your bad boss, make sure you really are dealing with one. Is there a reason for her behavior, or are you being too hard on him or her?
“Observe your boss for a few days and try to notice how many things she does well versus poorly. When she is doing something “bad,” try to imagine the most forgiving reason why it could have occurred. Is it truly her fault, or could it be something out of her control?”
2. Identify Your Boss’ Motivation
Understanding why your boss does or cares about certain things can give you insight into his or her management style.
“. if the rules are totally out of control, try to figure out your boss’ motivation. Maybe it’s not that he really cares about how long your lunch break takes; he actually cares about how it looks to other employees and their superiors.”
3. Don’t Let it Affect Your Work
No matter how bad your boss’ behavior, avoid letting it affect your work. You want to stay on good terms with other leaders in the company (and keep your job!).
“Don’t try to even the score by working slower, or taking excessive ‘mental health’ days or longer lunches. It will only put you further behind in your workload and build a case for your boss to give you the old heave-ho before you’re ready to go.”
4. Stay One Step Ahead
Especially when you’re dealing with a micromanager, head off your boss’ requests by anticipating them and getting things done before they come to you.
“…a great start to halting micromanagement in its tracks is to anticipate the tasks that your manager expects and get them done well ahead of time. If you reply, ‘I actually already left a draft of the schedule on your desk for your review,’ enough times, you’ll minimize the need for her reminders. She’ll realize that you have your responsibilities on track—and that she doesn’t need to watch your every move.”
5. Set Boundaries
Working with someone who seems to have no boundaries means that you have to go ahead and set them.
“One of the challenges of unlikable people is that they come with equally unlikable behavior—and it’s important to learn how to distance yourself from that behavior. As Robert Frost said, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’”
6. Stop Assuming They Know Everything
Just because someone has a managerial title doesn’t mean that they have all the right answers, all the time.
“I realized then that, just because someone is in a position of authority, doesn’t mean he or she knows everything. From that point forward, I stopped assuming the title ‘manager was equivalent to ‘all knowing.’
7. Act as the Leader
When dealing with an incompetent boss, sometimes it’s best to make some leadership decisions on your own.
If you know your area well enough, there is no reason to not go ahead creating and pursuing a direction you know will achieve good results for your company. People who do this are naturally followed by their peers as an informal leader. Management, although maybe not your direct boss, will notice your initiative. Of course, you don’t want to do something that undermines the boss, so keep him or her in the loop.
8. Identify Triggers
If your boss has anger management problems, identify what triggers her meltdowns and be extra militant about avoiding those.
“For example, if your editor flips when you misspell a source’s name, be sure to double and triple-check your notes. And if your boss starts foaming at the mouth if you arrive a moment after 8 AM, plan to get there at 7:45—Every. Single. Day.”
9. Use Tips from Couples’ Therapy
When dealing with disagreement, pull on some tenants from couple’s therapy to work through the issue.
“Simply repeat back to him what he said and ask “Is that what you meant?” (a standard trick ripped from couples’ therapy). If he agrees to your recap, ask him to tell you more about it. When you repeat someone’s perspective back to him, you give him a chance to expound and, crucially, to feel heard.”
10. Avoid Future Bad Bosses
When interviewing with a new company, do your research ahead of time to make sure you’re not getting into another situation with a less-than-ideal manager.
“Have coffee or lunch with one or more staffers at the new company. Ostensibly, your purpose is to learn general information about the company and its culture. However, use this opportunity to discover as much about your potential boss as possible, without appearing creepy, of course.”
The Muse is a values-based careers site that helps people navigate every aspect of their careers and search for jobs at companies whose people, benefits, and values align with their unique professional needs. The Muse offers expert advice, job opportunities, a peek behind the scenes at companies hiring now, and career coaching services. The current team of writers and editors behind The Muse’s advice section includes Regina Borsellino, Brooke Katz, Rebeca Piccardo, Devin Tomb, Maura Walters, and Stav Ziv—and over the years has included many other talented staffers! You can also find The Muse on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and Flipboard.
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, know that, at the very least, you’re not alone in suddenly feeling unable to tolerate that thing about your significant other, say relationship therapists. “We normally ignore the things that drive us crazy because we have a busy life and we are moving around, out of the house, focused on our own things,” says relationship therapist Tammy Nelson, PhD. “Now, with nothing else to look at except Zoom and Netflix, it can be easy to hone in on the things we don’t like about the person we live with.”
“Their negative traits have probably been there all along. They just bother you more now that you’re stuck at home with them.” —relationship therapist Tammy Nelson, PhD
However, Dr. Nelson points out, you should know that it’s not your partner’s fault if you’re miserable. “Their negative traits have probably been there all along,” she says. “They just bother you more now that you’re stuck at home with them,” This also means, then, that these traits aren’t going anywhere anytime soon—even post-pandemic. So you might want to figure out how to stop being annoyed around them now.
To do this, experts advise flipping the script to address your own feelings rather than take issue first with your partner’s actions. Below, they offer suggestions for how to stop being annoyed by your partner’s negative traits and reframe them as positives.
How to stop being annoyed with your partner’s flaws by embracing them as positives, according to pros.
1. Note the specific positives associated with that negative
Recently, I complained to my therapist that my boyfriend is such a loner, and her response was something along the lines of this: “How wonderful that you’ve found someone who understands your own need for a lot of alone time to create and recharge.” Ever since that conversation, I’ve considered myself lucky to be dating a human who requires far less togetherness than my past boyfriends did, because it’s afforded me lot of time to enjoy my two favorite things—solitude and creative writing.
And according to clinical psychologist Aimee Daramus, PsyD, my difficultly in accepting traits that are both essential to my partner and reflective of why we work well together is common. “It’s strange how the things you love best about a person are sometimes the exact things that are most frustrating,” she says. “You might hate someone’s messiness but love that you can relax and don’t need to be perfect around them.”
Taking notice of this association between their behavior or trait you find irritating and the associated positive gains these annoyances ultimately afford you can help tame your irritation. For example, the next time your partner reads you yet another unsolicited depressing news story, remind yourself that one of the things you love about them is their curiosity and intellect.
2. Ask yourself whether the trait is actually harming you
That’s because, Dr. Darmus says, the distinction between “different from” from and “harmful to” is so key, and the two are often conflated. For example, “you might wish they’d hang their wet towels up more neatly, but crooked towels aren’t hurting you.”
Maintaining such perspective is important, agrees relationship expert and psychotherapist Laurel Steinberg, PhD. “These traits usually register low on the ‘scale of offensive behaviors’,” she says. “Anything too horrible wouldn’t be able to be tolerated in even small quantities, and would have been obvious early into the relationship.”
3. Make allowances for the stress of the moment
Keep in mind that your partner may have developed some new quirks during this time due to stress—people react to stress in a variety of ways, and, yes, some of them can be irritating. “Some people, when overwhelmed, become spacey, or messy, or tense, or easily frustrated,” says Dr. Steinberg. “Rather than focus in on the symptom, we should dial in on the cause.”
Once you’ve identified something as a stress-induced behavior, you can then help your partner manage the underlying issue or, at the very least, develop some compassion around it.
4. Take a timeout
You may be staying home together more than ever before, but that doesn’t mean you have to be physically in the same space, interacting, all the time. “It is okay to not spend every night or even most nights with your partner and instead re-focus on quiet solitude, alone time,” Dr. Steinberg says. “This allows for space within a somewhat claustrophobic and isolating situation.”
5. Stay humble
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that, well, your sh*t also stinks. “Remember, you have annoying traits, too,” says Dr. Nelson.
Feeling frazzled on the road? Increasing amounts of traffic and road construction (never mind other drivers) can make even routine drives a chore for many of us. But stressed-out reactions are linked to higher aggression—which is linked to a higher risk for collisions, according to a study published in Transportation Research.
“Often people project their stresses onto the driving environment,” says Sy Cohn, a therapist who specializes in driving incidents. “Stress interferes with logical thinking, and we can become a danger to ourselves and others.”
Here, experts share stay-calm strategies for common driving hassles.
Stressful Situation: Road Construction Ahead
How to deal: Winding past potholes and orange cones slows you down. But the whole thing can be even more stressful if you’re running late. The simplest way to lessen construction-related driving stress is to rely on your common sense: Check traffic patterns and routinely build in extra time for these types of unexpected detours, says Robert Nemerovski, a San Francisco-based clinical psychologist who specializes in anger management. A more surprising expert tip from Nemerovski: Don’t avoid the route altogether. Going a different way may turn into a longer ordeal that can actually increase your anxiety.
Stressful Situation: Backseat Driver On Board
How to deal: Unwanted advice from a passenger can be super annoying. Luckily, there’s a surefire way to handle it: Don’t respond. This prevents a stressful exchange (assuming the person gets the hint). Then, Elaine Masters, a yoga teacher and author of Drivetime Yoga, suggests using this stress-relieving trick: Breathe in for seven seconds, hold for four, then exhale for seven seconds. “Slow-breathing techniques help, because they can lower elevated heart rate and blood pressure—and they can be done silently,” she says.
Stressful Situation: Merging At Rush Hour
How to deal: Feeling anxious as you enter the highway (or change lanes) is common, but there are simple things you can do to feel in control. For one, remain cautious during the merge, and treat it as part of a routine drive. “Acknowledge what’s happening and that it’s affecting your body,” says Masters. To keep anxiety at bay, she suggests spending time driving onto the highway during off-peak times, when there are fewer cars on the road, and it’s easier to build your reflexes while staying calm.
Stressful Situation: You’re Lost!
How to deal: Don’t blame yourself (or anyone else). “Let go of the blame-game and focus on finding your way,” says Masters. That means pulling over. Once you’ve stopped, do a few simple neck or upper-back stretches to relax. Diverting your attention also helps you regain control. Then, have your GPS re-calculate the route, look at a map, consult your phone or drive to a gas station to ask for directions—and allow your blood pressure to return to normal levels.
Stressful Situation: Your Phone Won’t Stop Buzzing
How to deal: The pinging and ringing won’t end just because you’re behind the wheel, but the temptation to check a text message could lead you to take your eyes off the road. “The more things we have on our minds, the more stressed we will likely feel,” Nemerovski. Rather than risk getting overwhelmed, try apps that block texts and calls for the duration of your drive. Or turn off your phone until you’re safely parked at your destination.
Stressful Situation: You’re Stuck Behind A Freight Train Crossing
How to deal: Some trains can take 10 minutes or more to pass through an intersection, which can feel like an eternity for many drivers. Instead of counting down the minutes, use your time to queue up a favorite song or think through a problem. Deciding on a specific activity as the train passes and following through can provide a sense of productivity during a time when most of us feel helpless (or irritated), says therapist Sy Cohn.
Ultimately, the more you practice staying calm during stressful commutes, the more safety-conscious you’ll become. “Facing stress the right way can be good, in terms of improving focus and performance,” says Nemerovski.
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