There’s undoubtedly someone in your life who annoys the living crap out of you.
This might be a co-worker, a housemate, a family friend, or an acquaintance whom you run into on occasion… any number of different types of people.
The point is, these people have the uncanny ability to make you grind your teeth into paste and ruin your entire day.
Most of them might not be doing so intentionally, but others certainly are.
Let’s take a look at some of the most annoying, irritating things that people in our lives can do.
Hopefully we can get some insight into their behaviors, and avoid being just like them.
1. Pushing Buttons Just To Make You React
Consider the sibling who knows damned well that you hate the word “moist,” so they make sure to say it at the dinner table whenever the family gets together for a meal.
You’ll cringe right to your toes, and they’ll just sit there, smirking at you.
Why do they do it?
Quite frankly, because they have a sadistic streak and take pleasure and satisfaction in upsetting you.
You’ll also find this kind of behavior online. “Trolling” seems to flourish online, since people have carte blanche to be jerkish… and from a safe distance.
In a paper entitled Trolls Just Want to Have Fun (Erin E. Buckels, Paul D. Trapnell, and Delroy L. Paulhus, 2014), correlations were drawn between button-pushers and sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellian tendencies.
Once these jerks find a soft spot, they poke at it. And they keep poking until they get the reaction they’re seeking.
They get off on it, and will continue to do so as long as you keep responding to their proddings.
The way to stop them from doing this is to do what’s known as going “Gray Rock.”
Since these jerks get joy in seeing you suffer, the key is to be really poker-faced and boring, so they just lose interest.
Sounds easier said than done, but worth a try… especially if this is a family member whom you’ll have to keep seeing.
If you exhibit antagonistic behavior for fun, you might want to book some time with a therapist. This button-pushing might be one facet of a more serious issue, and if you don’t sort it out now, you run the risk of losing everyone you really care about.
2. The Unbearable Bleakness Of Over-Sharing
You ask how their weekend was and they tell you all about their hemorrhoids.
Over lunch, they discuss family members’ health issues in gruesome detail, or tell you all about something weird their partner did in bed.
Their social media feeds are full of really personal things you wish you’d never read (nor seen), and you find yourself perpetually shocked and uncomfortable with the details they insist on sharing.
Even worse, when you tell them that you don’t want to hear about the topic, they might respond with “okay, but…” and just CONTINUE talking about it…
…or make you feel like you’re a douche because you’re not supportive about the torrent of personal issues they’re unleashing at you.
There’s a lot to be said for tact, and for asking whether someone else is comfortable with the subject matter you want to discuss.
Yes, it’s important to talk about things that can be “icky” or upsetting, but some things are better talked about with a therapist.
OR, ask permission as to whether the other person is in the right emotional space to discuss said things.
Basic courtesy, and all.
3. “I Have No Personality Outside Of My Relationship”
You ask your friend what they’re making for dinner, and they tell you that they’re making their partner’s favorite.
If you compliment their outfit, they respond by letting you know that their partner picked it out for them.
Every social media post, every conversation, revolves entirely around their partner/spouse, and they don’t seem to have any personality other than being someone’s other half.
They don’t even have their own hobbies or interests anymore.
Basically, they’ve adapted themselves to be this other person’s perfect accessory, and it’s both annoying and creepy as all hell.
A lot of insecure, codependent people are like this, especially if they’re in relationships with narcissists.
Their entire lives are dedicated to their partner, so that said partner makes them feel useful and validated in turn. It can be really uncomfortable for others to witness.
If you revolve your entire existence around another, who will you be when they’re no longer in your life?
These people will try to one-up you no matter what you do.
They tend to walk around in self-righteous bubbles, and decry anything that falls below their own choices or actions.
You’re a vegetarian? Oh. Well. That’s a nice start, I guess. But they’re vegan, because they actually care about animals and don’t eat ANYTHING that comes from them.
Oh, you’re vegan now? They’re a level 5, organic, raw vegan.
…you get the idea.
No matter what you say or do, you’ll never be as righteous, or moral, or ethical, or socially progressive as they are.
They’ve convinced themselves that they’re morally superior to just about everyone around them.
Many of their conversations will begin with statements like, “No judging, but…” followed by something that’s incredibly judgmental.
They’ll always find some flaw in a person’s life choices to belittle or criticize, and will generally do so with immense condescension.
Why do they behave this way?
Possibly because they’ve had to deal with a lot of exceptionally poor behavior in their lives and thus try to elevate themselves above all the awful things they’ve experienced.
They may not necessarily realize that they’re alienating other people, acting the way they do.
In fact, they might truly believe that their beatific behavior will inspire other people to be better: to behave with more integrity and kindness, etc.
Problem is, when faced with a difficult situation, these people are just as likely to behave poorly as those they’ve been condemning.
They want to believe that they’re morally and ethically superior, but when push comes to shove, they often lack the courage of their convictions.
5. Everything’s A Joke! Don’t Be So Serious…
You know that person who never takes anything seriously and treats everything like it’s a big joke?
How often have you wanted to beat that person with a toaster? Right.
Life can be really difficult at times, and it’s even harder when those close to you don’t take you seriously.
It’s also hard to get to know someone authentically when they’re sarcastic or making jokes literally all the time.
Many people who turn every situation into a joke are actually really anxious by nature.
Their jovial demeanor is a defense mechanism to help them deal with their crippling fears, whether about death, or illness, or anything else they may consider uncomfortable.
They might also have really low self-esteem, and assume that they have to play the eternal role of “entertainer.”
That’ll deflect from having to lower their walls and be vulnerable, and as such risk the possibility of being rejected.
The problem with doing this is that it makes the other person feel really invalidated.
It might be really hard for them to open up about something that’s bothering them, and they’ll just shut down if they’re met with mockery… even if it’s just intended to be playful.
Some things really are serious, and need to be treated that way, even out of basic respect and common decency.
6. Intrusive Social Media Twits
This is more often than not an older family member, or a friend-of-a-friend who has about as much social grace as a used tissue.
They’ll slather your Facebook wall with “cute” memes, animated GIFs, and sparkly stickers, and tag you in all kinds of photos.
They’ll make a dozen (occasionally inappropriate) comments on pretty much anything you post, sometimes going completely off topic.
These people might start arguments on your Twitter feed, be really weird about things you post on Instagram, and make a general nuisance of themselves.
Worst of all, you can’t block them because they’re your parent/grandparent/aunt/childhood friend and you’ll catch complete crap from them (and others) if you restrict anything they do.
Are you guilty of this behavior? You might escape the special circle of hell reserved especially for your ilk if you cut that out right this instant.
7. Inconsiderate Jerks
These people do and say what they want, when they want, and rarely (if ever) consider how their actions might affect others.
Some examples of these are:
- People who take up several seats on public transport, and refuse to budge for anyone – including pregnant women, the elderly, or the disabled. They’re comfortable where they are, so too bad.
- Friends or family members who interrupt and talk over people mid conversation. Their thoughts are way more important than whatever’s being said right now, after all.
- Colleagues who take other people’s food out of the communal fridge to make room for their own lunch. Or eat other people’s snacks without asking.
- Housemates or spouses who leave dirty clothes/toenail clippings/rotting food around without bothering to pick up after themselves. Like it’ll just “get done.”
Why do these people behave as they do?
Possibly because they were overly spoiled and indulged in childhood and never had to learn to be responsible for their own actions, nor be considerate toward others.
If you recognize any of this behavior in yourself, step the hell up. No-one else exists for your benefit.
8. “I Find That Offensive” (a.k.a. Virtue Signalling)
Have you noticed that many people are offended by pretty much everything nowadays?
The tiniest thing can set them off, at which point they’ll yell loudly about how offended they are.
Moreso, they seem very keen to get offended on other people’s behalf.
This type of person is quite similar to #4 (Holier than Thou). They’re so eager to prove how progressive they are that they take every opportunity to show off their righteousness.
They’re virtue signalling, showing the world that they are “WOKE.”
Most people behave like this out of fear. Why? Because they’re freaking terrified that unless they howl their moral outrage from the rooftops, they’ll be publicly lambasted and attacked, especially on social media.
How often have you heard about people receiving death threats and all other flavors of online harassment because they did or said something that another person found offensive?
The more offended they act, the less likely they are to offend others. Ergo, they’re “safe.”
Sadly, there’s also another reason why they might use this tactic: manipulation.
If a person claims offense in a situation, they seize the moral high ground. The one who offended them is then forced to pander to them to make things right again.
It’s a really ugly type of power trip… and if they don’t do so, then the crybully might go on the attack.
Vicious and hideous all around.
9. Can’t Even Adult
Adulting is hard. We get it.
Whether it’s ensuring that the trash is taken out on the right day, or eating something other than super-sugary cereal for dinner every night for a month, there’s a lot of pressure that goes along with being a grown-up.
Thing is, there are always other people who depend on us to get stuff done, and a person who drops the ball literally all the time because they’d rather be at home in their PJs, watching cartoons and playing video games, gets really tiresome, really quickly.
This is especially true in the workplace: when you’re depending on a team member to hold their own and they constantly make excuses as to why they can’t get their stuff done on time.
Or they start crying when and if you call them out on their irresponsibility.
…and then they’ll complain about how mean you are.
Some people are like this because they were never given any kind of responsibility in their youth, and as such never learned how important it is to step up. Others steadfastly refuse to grow up, and have stagnated at age 14.
Whether it’s a coworker, a partner, or an acquaintance, this type is really difficult and annoying to contend with.
You basically have to “adult” for both of you, otherwise nothing gets done, or has to be done properly. Again. By you.
10. Those Who Don’t Think You Have A Life Outside Of Their Needs
- The boss who assigns you something on Friday afternoon that’s due Monday morning, without asking you if you have any plans for the weekend.
- A freelance client who wants to talk about work at 11:40pm on a Wednesday night. After all, you’re awake – why aren’t you working on their project?
- A partner who makes plans involving you without asking for your input (or even interest).
- The parent who informs you that they’ll be visiting on X date, without asking whether that’s convenient for you.
Do any of these sound familiar?
A lot of people are so self-involved, so engrossed in their own projects and plans that they fail to see you as an individual.
You’re not a person, with your own preferences, needs, wants, and the like: you’re a tool that’s available to them for whatever they need or want done.
This behavior is extraordinarily self-serving and inconsiderate. It reduces other people to objects, rather than individuals, and is incredibly disrespectful.
Are you guilty of having done this to others?
11. Manipulative Guilt Trippers
These people are incredibly selfish, and have learned that the best way to get what they want – whenever they want – is to manipulate other people.
Passive-aggressiveness and guilt-tripping are two of their key methods, and they make everyone around them resentful and miserable with their behavior.
This is really annoying. More so, it has the opposite effect than desired on most people, since no one wants to spend MORE time with a person who pulls this kind of crap.
If you see yourself doing anything like this, stop. Just stop.
Try being a bit nicer and more fun to be around, and you won’t have to try to coerce others into doing things for you anymore. You’ll just be worth their effort instead.
12. Can’t Put Their Phone Down or They’ll DIE
This one is becoming more and more prevalent, and really has to stop.
It’s incredibly annoying when you’re out with a friend (or in with a partner) and they’re on their phone instead of talking with you.
Or they’re just offering little “yeah” or “uh huh” responses during the conversation, because they’re scrolling through their feeds at the same time.
Same goes for if they’re taking photos of literally everything, whether it’s the food they’re about to eat, or a selfie, and then immediately posting it on Instagram. (And then checking to see how many “likes” they’ve gotten.)
A lot of people have forgotten basic interpersonal skills, and the fact that not being present with another person is unbelievably rude.
If you need to check your phone now and then because your sick kid is with a babysitter and you’re getting updates, fine.
Other than that? Put the damned thing away.
13. Apparently Raised By Wolves
They’ll eat with their mouths open, chomping and slurping their way through any meal.
They belch unapologetically, put dirty feet up on the table, don’t wash their hands after using the toilet.
They basically behave like feral beasts that have never learned even basic decorum, and make you want to cringe.
Now, there are certain cultural differences that sometimes excuse poor manners.
For example, slurping soup at the dinner table is appalling in Western culture, but is quite acceptable in the far East.
Similarly, belching and farting in public isn’t considered rude in Iceland, while chewing gum in public is considered rude in Switzerland and France.
The person whose manners are appalling you might have been raised with different cultural customs, or they could even be on the autism spectrum and have no idea that they’re grossing out everyone around them.
When in doubt, it’s a good idea to observe how other people are behaving, and follow suit as best you can. If they’re staring at you in abject horror, ask them why, and adapt accordingly.
14. Fitness/Diet Junkies
As soon as you set foot in the office, your colleague comes up to tell you all about their latest CrossFit achievements, and how they’re now training for the “Tough Mudder” challenge.
Then they ask when you’re going to start working out, because you know you’d look and feel so much better if you’d just let them introduce you to their trainer…
You go out for lunch with a friend and she exasperates the poor server with all of her dietary substitutions.
Last month she was on a whole grain/vegan kick, and now she’s full Keto, and tells you all about her supplement routine. Because you asked, right?
It’s great to be passionate about things, but others might not share your zeal.
In fact, they might have health issues you’re not aware of, and having you go off on them for not sharing your fitness obsession will make them feel like crap.
If you want to ululate about your workout or diet, do so at the gym or juice bar, with others who are obviously of like mind.
15. Space Invaders
Have you ever been on a flight, train ride, or other long-distance voyage of sorts and the person sitting next to you won’t shut the hell up?
It’s just horrible.
There you are, wanting to be left alone to read or watch the in-flight movie in peace, and your seatmate keeps jabbing you with their elbow to make you look at something neat…
…or want to tell you all about their travel plans, their family, their relationship, their fistula.
Not cool. At all.
Sure, they might be bubbly and friendly, but they’re also intruding on your space. On your free will, on your personal needs.
Same goes for you: if you feel the need to chat up your seatmate, maybe ask them if they feel like talking.
They might be returning home from a funeral or something and really have no interest in talking.
16. “Well, actually…”
Don’t you just love it when people step into a conversation and start blathering to show off just how knowledgeable they are?
Especially when they don’t bother to ask whether you already know about said topic, and just monologue about it?
Not long ago, I read an article in which an author mentioned something that happened at her book release party. Some guy came over to her and started prattling on about the book’s topic.
He didn’t even hear her when she replied, “Yes, I know. I wrote the book.”
He was so in the zone, so keen to show off how amazingly brilliant and well-versed he was that he didn’t stop talking until some other guy yelled at him and pointed out that the woman in front of him was, in fact, the author.
Then he blushed and ran away.
Some people get really engrossed in subjects that they’re passionate about, and then take every opportunity to prattle on about them.
They might not mean to sound like pretentious wannabe professors, but they end up sounding just like that nonetheless.
Here’s a tip: if you’re not sure whether someone is familiar with a subject, ask them.
You may be really excited about the subject and want to talk about it, but don’t assume that you’re the most knowledgeable person in the world.
The other person might be an expert, and you’ll look like a proper prat trying to school them on a topic they know inside-out.
17. Drama Queens
EVERYTHING that happens elicits more emotional drama than you can possibly imagine.
They’ll call you in the middle of the night to cry about the horrible breakup they had with the love of their life… whom they went out with twice.
If you’re out shopping with them and a salesperson doesn’t cater to their every whim, they’ll demand to speak to a manager to complain.
They send food back at restaurants for no good reason, complain about everything, and need to be the center of attention at all times.
They also LOVE to gossip, and get personally involved whenever a tragedy takes place.
Basically, they thrive on drama, and if they’re not immersing themselves in other people’s issues, they’re stirring things up to feed their need for emotional maelstroms.
People whose default setting is “histrionic” tend to yell or cry very easily, storm out of work meetings, and take everything personally.
It’s incredibly difficult to deal with, and they absolutely cannot be reasoned with. Others end up walking on eggshells because the tiniest thing can set them off.
Again, this is often a situation of low self-esteem, so the person tries to get as much attention as they can to validate their own existence.
It’s as sad as it is excruciatingly annoying.
They’ll spend as little money as possible on absolutely anything, and try to weasel free stuff out of others whenever they can.
If a group goes out for dinner, they’ll pay exactly their share (to the last penny) without offering to add in anything for a tip.
Or they’ll have “accidentally” forgotten their wallets, but swear to pay you back next time. (They never pay you back.)
They love to enjoy wonderful things, but either can’t afford to pay for them, or want other people to buy those things for them.
As such, you’re left doling out cash on their behalf, and they never reciprocate.
Is this narcissism? Oblivious self-absorption?
Who knows, but chances are that if you call them out on it, they’ll get all upset at you and will trash-talk you behind your back for being such a mean jerk.
19. Sentence Finishers
It’s damn near impossible to have a conversation with this type of person, because they assume they know what you’re going to say before you say it, and take the liberty of finishing your sentences for you.
This might be your partner, friend, parent, colleague, or boss, and is always unbelievably disrespectful and annoying as hell.
It goes beyond just being interrupted, as instead of blurting out their own thoughts while you’re trying to speak, they’re actually arrogant enough to assume that they know what you’re about to say, and will say it for you.
You know, just in case you can’t do it yourself.
No matter how many times you call them out on this, they just won’t get it. In their minds, they’re empathizing with you so much, and grok you so hard, that they’re totally just getting right into the conversation with you, ye know?
Make it very clear to these people that unless they stop doing that, you will stop talking when they’re around.
Take it up with HR if you need to, or avoid family members every time they do it.
They might learn eventually, but they’ll complain all the way along.
20. The Ghost
This person might totally disappear on you for days, weeks… even months or years.
You might make plans with them, and instead of letting you know that they can’t make it, they just won’t respond to your texts….
…or won’t show up at an arranged time and place.
They’ll have an excuse for their behavior, of course, usually making themselves out to be either a victim or a hero of whatever circumstance they find themselves in, and ask for forgiveness/another chance, etc.
After all, it wasn’t their fault, right?
Funny thing, it might not be their fault, but not for the reasons they’re trying to use.
Many people who ghost like this suffer from mental health issues such as severe anxiety or borderline personality disorder.
When they’re in the throes of a spiralling panic attack or emotional overwhelm, they run away and hide until they feel “safe” again…
…and that includes not having any contact with a person who might trigger them or hurt them in any way.
Calling them out on their behavior during a period like this makes them feel humiliated and remorseful, so they hide.
Try not to take it personally. Like Don Miguel Luis says in his Four Agreements:
Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.