There is no doubt in my mind we all have someone in our lives who is downright annoying – it seems to be just one of those facts of life. It’s your reactions to those people that concerns me. So many of you write me or call me about how upset you get and how your feelings are hurt when you encounter that annoying individual.
So stop a moment and ask yourself : “Why?” Why are you overreacting to “annoying?” Annoying is not vicious. Annoying is about the other person being insensitive, jealous, inadequate (and therefore critical), lonely (and therefore attempting to be involved)…stuff like that.
You need to distinguish “annoying” from “mean.” “Mean” is to be avoided; the negative content of “annoying” is to be ignored. Here’s what I mean:
You go to a relative or friend’s home and they comment about your hair, clothes, kid, lifestyle, eating habits, etc. You can get all upset, OR you can say “Oh, you’re so cute…” and give them a hug. Let it be at that.
Surprise and confusion are the most powerful weapons: not anger or tears. And nothing surprises someone who is being critical more than a hug and a smile. It may seem difficult for you to imagine doing that but two things are instantly accomplished:
1. You don’t feel as bad because you’re behaving nicely, and behavior has a direct effect on feelings!
2. The other person is taken by surprise (i.e., your showing affection), and finds it more difficult to remain negative or critical toward you – it just becomes too awkward. So remember….surprise and confusion!
No one who is annoying expects anything except your bowing to their attempt at power or relevance. Affection with humor has you keeping the power.
Try it. With a smile, of course!