Let’s face it, we all know annoying people, and none of us want to be known as one! Whilst the most important factor in any social situation is being yourself, worrying about your innate habits & being overly self-conscious are never going to help you feel comfortable and confident.
Self-analysis can be tough, but it is also a powerful way to identify habits and behaviors we may have which put a strain on our relationships. Being open and honest with yourself is the first step to pinpointing any repeating behaviors you would like to change. It can give a fresh perspective on the value and contribution we all make to our friendships and social circles.
We all want to be great friends and excellent partners. Let’s look at the three worst habits and behaviors of annoying people. We will also examine what you can do if you think you have any of them!
1. Me, me, me – making it all about yourself
It takes a good combination of introverts and extroverts to make the world go around. But making every conversation about yourself, and demonstrating ‘one-upmanship’, is one of the most annoying traits people could possibly have.
To engage in a conversation and contribute often involves discussing our personal experiences. But overshadowing the achievements of others, or following every anecdote with a ‘same, but better’ story is a sure-fire way to whittle away your friendship groups.
Often this sort of behavior is seen as narcissistic, but this is usually not the intention. Particularly for those of us who suffer from anxiety, finding a topic or experience in common causes us to want to quickly jump in with our own stories, to form a bond and show that we have something interesting to share.
If you sense familiarity with this behavior, try counting in your head in a conversation. It’s also a good idea to take 2-3 deep breaths before talking. This can give you the time to consider whether you would be interrupting and riding roughshod over somebody else’s story before you speak. Wait until the person talking has finished speaking. When the conversation reaches a natural pause, then it is the perfect time to join in.
Should you worry that your conversations often feel boastful in hindsight, remember that listening is as valuable as sharing. It is not necessary to highlight every achievement you have made to make you a good friend.
Being a great listener is a skill. Once your friends know about your skills, knowledge, and experience, they can call upon you if they ever need help or advice.
2. Sorry, say that again? A wandering mind…
There are few things more annoying than baring your soul, or discussing personal situations, only to find that your audience was never listening. With the epidemic of smartphones and constant digital connectivity, society seems to be becoming more and more disengaged from one another.
Personal connections are vital to our health both mental and physical, in so many ways. Being able to confide about concerns, share our thoughts, and discuss difficult challenges are ways to create a social environment. A kind of environment that makes you feel safe, confident, and can relieve stresses and anxieties. The adage that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ stands true!
To make sure you are not this annoying person, the first thing to do is to consciously acknowledge when you are meeting other people, attending a social situation, or having a conversation. When you are truly engaged in the conversation, you should not be constantly checking your social media, or replying to emails on your phone!
If you have ever found yourself not having concentrated until you are asked a question, or a pregnant pause suddenly arrives, when it becomes clear that you are expected to make a response – and have no idea what the question was – it is quite possible you have been guilty of such annoying behavior.
We can all do this at times. So when you are meeting a friend or talking to somebody, make sure to turn off your ringer. Avoid putting your phone in your eyeline where it can be a distraction. Finally, make a concerted effort to watch and listen to the person speaking.
Body language can be as powerful as actual words, so eye contact and talking face-to-face are good ways to avoid being distracted.
3. Negativity – about everything
The third most common annoying habit is when people are negative all the time. This includes complaining, moaning, comparing, disparaging everything and anyone that comes across your path. Life can be down for everyone from time to time. But making every situation a problem and having no positive contributions to make can be draining as well as extremely annoying for the people you are talking to.
After a long hard day, or during a period of transition it can seem difficult to ‘put on a show’ of being positive and happy all the time. However, good friends will never expect this. It is crucial to be able to be empathetic without associating everything with your own situation and reflecting out your personal feelings on to others.
A useful tool to try and stave off negative tendencies is to use the box method of visualization. A common tool taught in counseling sessions, boxing means visualizing the different factors of your life; for example, relationships, career, family, hobbies, finances.
It is often the case that, whilst one or two may be in turbulent times, there are few times when any of us cannot find a positive in just one area of our lives. Once we start to analyze where our struggles are coming from, we can use this to segment our experiences. Thus, we ensure one tricky situation is not discoloring everything else in our lives and reflecting poorly on our social engagements.
It is important to remember that for each person, they are their own individual planet around which the sun orbits.
When engaging in conversations, try to remember that each person is contributing from their own perspective. Whether or not you can associate or empathize with what they have to say, should you find the topic difficult, or object to their opinion, it is not always important to share your thoughts. It’s particularly true if you have identified that this is a problem area for you in your current situation.
Take a minute, breathe, and ask yourself whether you have anything positive or useful to say? If not, best to keep it to yourself.