10 Things I Learned From People Who Drive Me Nuts
The most annoying thing about annoying people is they help us grow.
Personal growth centers on two types of people, the ones we like and the ones that drive us crazy.
The people who drive us nuts often change us most.
Isn’t it annoying when someone asks, “What are annoying people teaching you?”
I don’t want to learn from people who drive me nuts. I want them to change or, preferably, go away.
10 lessons from annoying people:
- Confidence. When I answer the concerns of annoying people, plans are stronger and more robust.
- Humility. There’s a bit of me in them. It’s annoying when I see myself in annoying people.
- Grit. Everything meaningful encounters resistance. Read, “Grit.”
- What are they teaching me about myself?
- How might they expand and enhance our viewpoint?
- What are they saying about themselves?
- Compassion. I’m the annoying person more often than I want to confess.
- Appreciation. There’s strength in the quality that drives me nuts.
- Self-control. Expressing annoyance to annoying people results in more annoyance.
- Tolerance. All successful leaders learn to navigate diverse personalities.
- Openness. The leaderly response to personal irritation is to relax and open up not push, run, or close down.
- Focus. It’s sad when annoying people distract from what matters.
*Thanks to Facebook fans for inspiring this list.
5 ways to deal with annoying people:
- Speak up. The annoyance you ignore today only gets worse tomorrow.
- Forbear. Just smile and live with it. But, if it keeps nagging you, do #1.
- Monitor. Keep an eye on your responses. Strong responses are about you more than them.
- Change. How do you need to change? Trying to change others is a smokescreen.
- Include. Bring diverse perspectives together. How can you address the core concerns of colliding perspectives and keep moving forward?
What have annoying people taught you?
What strategies help you deal with annoying people?
It’s your own worst habits in others that drive you up the wall.
Now that’s annoying! 🙂
yes, but sometimes it’s a good cue to help us improve ourselves.
2. Humility – the things that bother us most in others are often things we struggle with ourselves but don’t want to admit and may not even realize. Facing this fact and looking at ourselves rather than the other person can be a very important part of dying to self and living for Christ in all we do at work and at home.
Amen. I’ve always remembered something my mother, a non-Christian but very wise, told me in junior high – that when I see something I can’t stand in someone else, it’s good to take a hard look at myself to see if at least part of it isn’t about something in myself that I don’t like.
Thanks Paul. It’s so easy to examine others and exempt ourselves.
I love #7 Self-control. Expressing annoyance to annoying people results in more annoyance! Oh I definitely struggle with that one!
Thanks Sarah. It helps if we ask, “Will this response help?”
We need to learn ourselves before we can understand what really annoys us! Ask yourself what is it about that person that annoys you? It may be you not them on that given day!Perhaps other days they don’t annoy you so you should probably reflect on yourself first. Although there are people that just tend to rub you the wrong way too! Smile and move on your choice!
Thanks Tim. I’m starting to see a theme — the first look is the look in. Perhaps this is the number one benefit of annoying people, if we actually do it.
No. 1 and 2. That annoying person that is constantly causing problems, knows exactly what they are doing. After addressing that annoyance the first and second time, best to put distance between you and them, if you can, unless that annoying behavior still sits in a highchair. There is a HUGH difference between the inquisitive annoyance and the one who has made being an annoyance his/her profession. A continued application of trying to address that type of narcissistic behavior is a waste of time and energy.
Thanks Ron. I’m thankful you brought up the idea that some annoying people aren’t trying to help.
They have taught me that I have a temper and all the irritation, sadness and annoyance all flows out of me. I am responsible, not them.
Thanks Dennis. You don’t really mean that I am responsible for my responses, do you? 😉
Great post! In the end, we can only change ourselves. Change how we respond to that person, how we interact and how we can learn from them.
Thanks Rosie. “We can only change ourselves.” Well said and difficult to do. The appeal of changing others is I don’t have to change.
Yes, we often do that because it’s human nature. It must be the other person, because it couldn’t be me. But when we point a finger at the other person, how many are pointing back at us?
Excellent post, Dan! I have learned patience from annoying people and as one that tends to avoid conflict, I learn with ways to deal with others. I do find that my responses are better thought out and more complete, although annoying people always need to get the last word in a conversation!
Thanks Lisae. For all of us who tend to avoid conflict, annoying people are a wake up call. If we really want to avoid conflict, deal with it sooner than later.
I use to play beach volleyball in California. A fellow talented player would play with people less skilled on his team. I asked him why not play with players as good or better than yourself. His reply, “playing with lessor skilled players allows me to work harder to make sets and digs that would normally be easy with good players, plus it helps them learn as well”. That changed my view of trying to only play with the best. Later in life as I hit a few speed bumps, I found “you learn the most when you are at your worst” (assuming you are introspective). I didn’t occur to me to see the interactions with those type of people, help to work on listening skills, flexing, influencing skills, conflict management and so on.. Great tip for changing the perspective of annoyance to one of a growth opportunity.
Thanks Mike. I love a well turned phrase. “You learn the most when you are at your worst.” KaPow.
We all learn a lot from people who care and make us feel good. But, I see things in myself when I’m at worst that, if I change or eliminate them, I’m better.
I’m not sure how playing volleyball–or in my case, tennis–with persons of lessor skills is the same as dealing with “annoying” people, but your point about learning from less skilled players sure is on the mark and so true. I’m still our here in sunny California and even at the age of 57
messing around with novice tennis players who are loaded with vim and vigor for the game.
To your list of what can be learned from them is “what not to do.” And for me, more importantly,
these zealous starters bring me back to the basics–which all-important. I practice volleying, drop shots, the rudiments of both fore- and back-hands, plus an array of down-the-line shots.
Perhaps the only parallel I can draw between these tennis players and annoying staff members is to wonder how they “got in” in the first place, respectfully.
The more I grow, the more I find I like difficult personalities. It shows passion about something. The guy scowling at you at the meeting table is the one that may care the most about the subject on the table.
Thanks Emily. I was thinking this morning about people who used to irritate me but now I treasure them. Go figure!
I enjoy your posts, but I wish the entire content of your posts would be contained in the email. Clicking to another website, waiting for it to load, and reading through the first part of the post to get to the remaining content is a frustrating waste of time. Unless your topic really reasonates with me, I have turned to deleting rather than facing the irritation. Consistent with my New Year’s resolution to eliminate things that sap my valuable time, I am contemplating unsubscribing. At this point I am giving it one more month.
Thanks Lavelle. Thank you for your feedback. I feel your pain.
I’ve made a choice that helps Leadership Freak get noticed by search engines and have higher ranking because of page views.
My hope is, that for most, the content is worth the click. Please drop in from time to time and catch up.
Dan, one of the most annoying boyfriends I had (back in my 20’s…so long ago!) used to try to be “helpful” when I’d vent to him about one thing/person or another by saying, “You hate in others what you hate in yourself.” UGH! At the time, it was NOT what I wanted to hear and that phrase used to annoy me to the extremes…especially because he was right!! Ha!
Great post…it is very important to understand why those annoying people annoy you and then figure out where that fits into your world. How can you better yourself if unwilling to honestly reflect? And when you see yourself in that annoying behavior…what can you learn from that?
Thanks Margie. Aren’t helpful people just annoying?!!! 😉
It seems the great advantage of people who annoy us is motivation to engage in reflection.
Some of the ‘5 ways to deal with annoying people’ are the ways that annoying people change us as well. Sometimes those people push someone who is maybe more timid to action, or to speak up and that usually increases someone’s self awareness and confidence. I know many people who’ve been pushed from someone annoying into “not usual” behaviours that, in the end has developed them further and made them a stronger person, even if the ‘annoying person’s’ intension was not to benefit the other person. Great post!!
Thanks Mad. Very helpful comment. When I’m annoyed – out of my comfort zone – why not try on some new behaviors?
Words to reflect on after a weekend spent with extended family – including one sister who is sooooo ANNOYING!
Thanks Teacher. You cracked me up! There is something soooo wonderful when others are being annoyed and NOT me. 🙂
It’s taken years, but part of my own personal growth has involved deciding that I can learn something from even the most annoying person. When you’re willing to accept that person and open up to learning, you begin to see so much more in them. Not that there isn’t the occasional hopeless case, but I’ve committed myself to at least make the effort, and it’s usually rewarding.
My friend has a saying “if ya spot it – ya got it” and it is so true! It is very humbling to see my own character defects in someone who annoys me. At the end of the day, I realize they have actually prompted positive change in me.
A suggestion I’d make is check: while they drive me nuts, are they at the same time actually RIGHT? It’s easy to put the filters up on high setting, screen out the irritation and miss something vital. Just because they annoy you doesn’t mean they’re wrong!
And if they’re right – tell them.
I love this type of discussion because it speaks to the fact that we are all susceptible to seeing ourselves in others! I have just recently come across someone who, at first I will admit, I was somewhat annoyed by. But after doing some serious soul searching myself, I have to admit that I see soooooo much of myself in this person that I just had to eat the fact that this used to be ME, just in another body!!! It’s funny how that happens. Life is constantly teaching us that we are mirrors of one another and that no one is an island!!
Once I figured out that the things that drove me nuts about others were the guilty realizations of my own flaws, weaknesses or vulnerabilities, I got a lot better at dealing with those people who I couldn’t tolerate before. I appreciate your thought that they really have served me by improving my perspective and my tolerance. Great post, Dan!
Thanks for the post, Dan! I appreciate the wonder and curiousity you bring to dealing with someone who you initially judge to be annoying. I find that when I intentionally commit to seeing that person as my ally, our relationship shifts and I am open to owning my role in what we are creating together and also open to wonder what learning is there for me.