Annoying People SUCK! How to deal with them without looking like a Jerk

They’re everywhere!

how to handle annoying people at work

They  are next to you in the grocery store isle on their cell phones having a

very personal conversation that you get to be a part of. . .

They are up at 3 AM having bass guitar practice. . .
They are telling obnoxiously sexist jokes at the table next to you while at dinner with your spouse. . .
They are telling you a 30 minute story about how muffins, the family cat, likes to play with yarn when all you want to do is sleep during your 6 hour flight. . .
You know who I’m talking about.
And if you don’t, chances are you are one of them.
We’re talking about annoying people!!!
You know, the ones that just grind your gears!
The ones that have the ability to change your whole whole day just with their presence!
It is these people to cause you to lose your cool and say things like “you know, I’m normally not even like this” or things like “I don’t know what happened I just lost it back there.   Something about that person just gets on my nerves!”
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Well before you resort to your instinctual street tactics to handle these people,  you should keep this list handy of how Dustin Wax

How To Handle Annoying People and Keep Your Sanity

1. Listen.
A lot of conflicts are based in misunderstandings, so always make sure you’re getting everything, It can be easy enough to tune someone out when they annoy you; the trick is to use careful questioning to focus the other person on the topic at hand so they give you what you need and avoid straying too far. Poor listening leads to misunderstandings that need clarification – which means more time spent with someone you’d really rather not be around.
2. Repeat everything.
Besides the tendency to tune out people you’d rather avoid, our feelings about another person can color our perception of what they’re saying. To avoid this, repeat back any instructions, questions, or other problems they pose to you to make sure you absolutely understand what they’re saying. Give them a chance to correct you before you go off half-cocked, sure you know what “that kind of person” wants.
3. Keep your cool.
It’s tempting to want to argue with people who rub you the wrong way, or to lose it and start pointing out their faults. Don’t do that! Unless they’re wrong about something that directly and materially affects you, don’t bother – starting a debate or, worse, an argument will only prolong your agony – and neither of you is likely to change your mind. Save the debates for when you’re with friends whose opinions matter to you.
4. Be clear about boundaries.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Which means you don’t have to do favors for everyone who asks. If someone’s encroaching on your time, simply tell them, “I’m sure this is important to you but it simply isn’t a priority for me right now. I really need to work on x and not y.” Again, there’s no need to be mean, just redirect the conversations whenever conversation drifts into areas that aren’t relevant and where you know you’ll be annoyed.
5. Fight fire with ice.
The worst thing you can do with an angry or irrational person is engage him or her. In the heat of aggression, any word or action interpreted as aggressive in response will only trigger more aggression – and most of the item, if someone is upset and railing about it, every word and action will be read as aggression. As hard as it might seem to do, the best thing is to sit quietly and let them spend themselves ranting and raving, and then ask if they’d like to schedule a time to discuss the matter more calmly and return to whatever you were doing. If this sets off another round of yelling, simply wait it out and repeat. It sucks, but the bottom line is you have nothing to gain by engaging with an irate person in the heat of the moment. And while it may seem that you’re giving up control of the situation – after all, you’re sitting there passively taking it all in, even abuse – most people feel ashamed and contrite after an outburst, especially one in which their target clearly was not responding to or inciting them, which puts you back in charge when there’s actually something you can do about the situation.
6. Close the door.
While you may have to interact with people you don’t care for in any number of situations, remember that your time is your own and don’t let other people, especially ones you’d rather not interact with, take control of your time. Communication outside of the narrow band needed to fulfill both of your objectives should be minimized – which often means forcefully limiting such talk. Make it clear when you are unavailable, and make yourself unavailable as often as possible. If you have the power, require that your partner make an appointment, and gently reject any effort to discuss your work or projects outside of that scheduled time. People – even annoying people – tend to respect the time of people who make a clear showing that they take their own time very seriously.
7. You’re valuable.
Remember it. If you’ve found yourself in a position where you are obligated for some reason to spend time with someone you dislike, remember that most likely, they are in the same position – and it’s you they dislike. But you wouldn’t be in that situation if you didn’t provide something of value – whether that’s a work skill or talent, specialized knowledge, even things as abstract as emotional support or solidarity. You have a mission, so to speak, and everything that distracts you from that mission reduces your value.

Now I am not saying this is going to be easy.  This is just your “cheat sheet”!
Something you can refer to next time your at the movies and the guy behind you decides that taking that phone call to ask who won on “The Biggest Loser” just could not wait.
If you are looking for more long term study of self control and controlling your emotions with people who annoy you at work, school, home or anywhere else you seem to cross paths, you may want to read the book “Emotional Freedom” By Judith Orloff
In it, Orloff discusses the entire mentality behind our reactions and how to better control them… even when you feel like the only possible solution to your annoyance is a well timed kidney punch.
Here are a few tips from the book:

Tip #1. Focus on a specific issue—don’t escalate or mount a personal attack.
For instance, “I feel frustrated when you promise to do something but there is no follow-through.” No resorting to threats or insults. In an even, non-blaming tone, lead with how the behavior makes you feel rather than how you think the other person is wrong.
Tip #2. Listen non-defensively without reacting or interrupting.
It’s a sign of respect to hear a person’s point of view, even if you disagree. Avoid an aggressive tone or body language. Try not to squirm with discomfort or to judge.
Tip #3. Intuit the feelings behind the words.
When you can appreciate someone’s motivation, it’s easier to be patient. Try to sense if this person is frightened, insecure, up against a negative part of themselves they’ve never confronted. If so, realize this can be painful. See what change they’re open to.
Tip #4. Respond with clarity and compassion.
This attitude takes others off the defensive so they’re more comfortable admitting their part in causing frustration. Describe everything in terms of remedies to a specific task, rather then generalizing. State your needs. For instance, “I’d really appreciate you not shouting at me even if I disappoint you.” If the person is willing to try, show how pleased you are. Validate their efforts: “Thanks for not yelling at me. I really value your understanding.” See if the behavior improves. If not, you may have to minimize contact and/or expectations.

What are some of your best ways for bringing yourself down before you “lose it”?
Share your stories in the comments below!

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  1. says

    Have you given any kind of consideration at all with translating your current webpage into Spanish? I know a couple of of translaters here which would certainly help you do it for free if you want to make contact with me personally.

    • P James Holland says

      Ummm…. My wife speaks Spanish and I am slowly learning…. but thanks anyway.

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