Not everyone is born with social grace and the ability to get along well with others.
Sometimes we may not have the best role models to learn from or have other problems that make it difficult to behave in ways deemed acceptable by most.
It takes a lot of self-awareness to realize that you might have a problem that is negatively affecting your life. Many people coast blissfully unaware of how they are interacting with or affecting other people.
Making a choice to change that is the right first step on a path of personal growth.
The great news is that social skills are exactly that – skills. And skills are something you can develop, nurture, and grow with some time and effort.
In fact, many people do take the time to develop additional skills to better interact with others. Learning how to stop getting on other people’s nerves is a good step on that path.
Before we get into the tips, we should consider an important question.
Am I actually annoying – or am I surrounded by jerks?
There is something underneath your belief that you are annoying. What caused you to believe that you are annoying in the first place?
Is it not being able to integrate well with people? Always feeling like you’re saying or doing the wrong thing?
Or is it because someone is telling you that you are annoying? That you’re bothering them? And what kind of person is that person? Are they someone whose feedback you should be listening to?
The reality is that you may not be annoying at all. You may be around people who are a bad personality fit for you.
It may also be that the one person who is telling you that you are annoying is just a jerk who is being a jerk because they can, not because you’re actually annoying.
If you’re getting the message that you’re annoying, really look at the source of that claim and consider whether or not their opinion might have some validity to it.
Everyone has opinions, and many of them are not that good.
But, let’s assume that you considered the source and decided that, yes, they have a point, and you are annoying.
How can you be less annoying?
1. Talk less about negative stuff and stop complaining.
No one likes a downer. It’s emotionally draining to be around, and people are just trying to get through their day while dealing with their own problems.
That doesn’t mean that you should never talk about negative things or voice complaints. It does mean waiting for the right time and place to do it.
Mutual commiseration over a problem, discussions about current events, or sharing in a vent session with friends are more appropriate times to talk about more negative things.
Complaining about a thing is okay in small doses. Still, it’s rarely ever productive unless you have or you’re looking for a solution.
Listen, there are so many messages out there about, “Just talk about it. Talk about it. Talk about what you feel.”
But what those messages tend to leave out is that regular complaining and negativity is a really good way to alienate and annoy the people around you.
And rather than tell you that you’re annoying, they just stop returning your calls, answering your messages, and wander off.
One good way to get around that is just to ask, “Hey. I’m having a hard time and would like to vent. Is that okay with you?”
That demonstrates that you’re respecting and being considerate of the other person’s emotional load.
They may want to vent too, making it a mutual conversation instead of just unloading more negative emotional baggage onto others.
A quick way to annoy other people is to not respect social boundaries.
That can be anything from talking about inappropriate subjects to not knowing when to take a hint to incessantly messaging the other person.
It’s a bit easier to tell where your friends’ boundaries are because you interact with them regularly.
Other people may not be so clear about where their boundaries are, or have different boundaries to what you’ve experienced before.
Don’t get too personal, too quickly. Avoid sensitive subjects and keep the conversation light unless you know they want to go deeper than that.
Take some time to practice small talking with others. You can ask them about their family, what they do, how they’re doing, if they’ve done anything interesting, if they’ve read or watched or anything interesting lately.
These are all relatively safe questions to get a casual conversation going with someone.
3. Practice active listening.
Many people spend their time in conversation just waiting for an opportunity to talk, usually about themselves.
Active listening is putting away the phone, ignoring the television, looking at the other person, and hearing what they have to say. You consider and think about how to respond after you’ve given them time to say what they need to say.
It is very annoying to feel like the person you’re talking to isn’t listening, especially when they get details wrong or completely miss the context of what you were trying to say because they were looking at their phone.
Being a good listener also helps you talk less because you can’t actively listen and talk at the same time. Spend more time listening, and you will see a significant difference in the flow of your relationships and friendships. No one likes to feel ignored.
4. Consider your tone of voice and body language.
Verbal communications feature many more layers than just the words that come out of your mouth.
How you deliver a message is vastly more important than what the message is. Vastly. Because your message is not going to be received or interpreted correctly if you use the wrong form of delivery.
If you seem annoyed or angry while trying to tell someone that, “It’s alright,” are they going to believe you? Would you believe someone else who told you everything was alright when they’re clearly irritated?
Sometimes those emotions are valid. Sometimes people just have a rougher personality or delivery style where they need to be more mindful of their inflection and body language when communicating with other people.
Still, if you want to not be annoying, you want to be mindful of how you’re delivering whatever you have to say.
5. Accept responsibility for your actions.
There are two ways to address being told that you’re annoying. On the one hand, you can get angry, indignant, and argue with the other person that you’re not annoying.
On the other hand, you can just ask the person why they feel like you’re being annoying. It may be a teachable moment for you that can help you hone and develop your social skills.
By letting them express themselves, you may find that their perceptions are off or their expectations are unreasonable.
Maybe they’re just having a bad day and don’t have as much patience as they usually do. Maybe they’re being short with you, and they haven’t realized that they are being unreasonable or unfair.
But again, we have to give due consideration to the source. A person finding you annoying isn’t the end of the world. You shouldn’t change yourself to accommodate one or even a group of people.
Accepting responsibility is also accepting that you’re just not going to get along with everyone – and that’s okay.
There are plenty of people out there who will give you the time, patience, and welcome your personality.
You may also like:
- 20 Types Of Annoying People You Should Avoid <– if you see yourself in any of these descriptions, work on those things too.
- How To Stop Complaining About Everything: 7 Practical Tips
- How To Stop Being So Cynical All The Time: 8 No Bullsh*t Tips!
- 11 No Bullsh*t Tips To Stop Talking So Much
- 17 Signs That You Are Toxic To Others (+ How To Stop)
- How To Let Go Of Your Need To Be Right All The Time