We’ve all met those people who are just annoying.
And often, it’s their habits that rub us the wrong way.
You may have noticed that many people who are extremely annoying don’t realize that they are. And if you’ve given that any amount of thought, it’s likely to make you wonder about yourself and how others perceive you.
After all, if it’s possible to be annoying without knowing it, how do you know you’re not?
The truth is, we can all be annoying from time to time. But if you want to make sure people like you more, it might be time to analyze what you do to see if they annoy the people around you.
Here are some things to eliminate if you don’t want to be that annoying person no one wants to be around:
1) Talking about yourself
No one likes someone who is self-centered. But if you are always talking about yourself, that’s exactly how you will come across.
Now, this isn’t a completely clear-cutt thing. It’s fine to talk about yourself sometimes, especially with close friends. And sometimes, telling a story from your own experience can help you relate to other people.
That’s not what I’m talking about. Instead, I’m talking about the people whose favorite and sometimes only topic of conversation seems to be themselves.
“A conversational narcissist is someone who constantly turns the conversation toward themselves and steps away when the conversation is no longer about them,” argues health writer Abby More. “They are generally uninterested in what other people have to say.”
Now, maybe that isn’t you. Maybe you talk too much about yourself out of nervousness, or not knowing what else to say.
Still, you should be aware that having a conversation like this can make you seem narcissistic, self-absorbed, and extremely annoying to be around.
Conversation is full of peril for people trying not to be annoying.
Because another way to annoy everyone around you is to constantly interrupt when they are talking.
Unfortunately, this is often something we do without realizing. Sometimes, we just get so excited by an idea that has come to us or an experience that we want to share that we can’t keep ourselves from blurting it out.
But interrupting is extremely bad manners. The polite thing to do is wait for people to say what they want to say before chiming in with your own opinions or observations. And if that means you forget what you’re about to say, so be it.
3) Not listening
This annoying personality trait is often linked with interrupting.
The thing is, people can tell when you’re not listening to them. You may be going through the motions, nodding your head, making noises in all the right places. But if you forget what people are saying or abruptly change the subject without addressing anything they said, they will know you’re not listening to them.
“Listening is hard work,” says Michael P Nichols, author of The Lost Art of Listening. “It takes concentration and effort and self-restraint.”
But listening to someone is also how we show that we respect them as a person whose opinions, emotions, and viewpoints matter.
Therefore, when you don’t listen to people, you send a message that you don’t think they are worthy of their time or respect.
As you can imagine, that’s a guaranteed way to annoy them.
4) Constantly complaining
Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes, all of us get dealt a bad hand. And when that happens, our natural impulse may be to complain about it.
There’s nothing wrong with that – in moderation. But people who are always complaining about every little thing in life quickly become annoying to be around.
No one likes constant negativity. In fact, being around negative people can often bring our own mood down. That’s why lots of people will do their best to avoid someone who never seems to have a positive thing to say.
I’m not saying you have to become a Stoic philosopher and meet everything, good or bad, with perfect tranquility.
But try to pay attention to the kind of things you regularly talk about. Because if all you ever do is complain about what’s wrong with the world and your own life, you’re probably pretty annoying to spend time with.
5) Not respecting boundaries
This is a big one.
In fact, this label can cover a broad range of behaviors from annoying carelessness to outright abuse.
The American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychology defines boundaries as, “a psychological demarcation that protects the integrity of an individual or group or that helps the person or group set realistic limits on participation in a relationship or activity.”
Everyone has different boundaries, but as long as they are reasonable, it’s polite to respect them.
That may mean some people are uncomfortable discussing their relationship with you. They may be uncomfortable with certain topics of conversation, especially ones they find personally triggering.
There may also be boundaries on the relationship you have with them. For example, it’s not appropriate to ask a work colleague that you’ve never spent time with outside the office to help you move on the weekend.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to cross people’s boundaries without realizing it. So be aware of the sometimes subtle ways people tell you how to treat them if you want to avoid being annoying.
6) Lacking manners
Being polite means treating others with respect. And although manners vary from one culture to another and even one context to another, it’s important to at least try to follow the rules of politeness in any situation you find yourself in.
That may mean addressing people in a certain way, or not asking probing personal questions of people you don’t know very well.
At a basic level, it means controlling your bodily functions when around others.
These seem like simple things, but not following the rules is a quick way to make sure that people find you annoying.
7) Being on the phone all the time
One of the newest rules of social interaction to emerge over the last few years concerns technology – specifically our phones.
Our phones are designed to keep us attentive all the time, with constant notifications letting us know what other people are doing.
And ignoring people you are physically with in favor of paying attention to your phone even has a name: phubbing.
“Ironically, phubbing is meant to connect you, presumably, with someone through social media or texting,” says psychologist Emma Seppälä. “But it actually can severely disrupt your present-moment, in-person relationships.”
8) Being loud
Some people are just naturally louder than others.
There isn’t much that’s more annoying than having your ears blasted by somebody who seems unable to control the volume of their voice.
Of course, this is highly dependent on context. It’s fine to shout and scream in a nightclub or at a theme park, but a lot less acceptable in a restaurant.
Sometimes, stopping other people from being annoyed by you can be as simple as moderating your tone and matching it to the volume of the people around you.
We live in a culture that encourages us to show off the highlight reels of our lives and celebrate our achievements – whether they are real or not.
But in real life, constantly showing off can be extremely annoying.
That doesn’t mean you have to downplay your achievements. If you’ve done something great, it’s okay to mention it. But don’t keep showing off around others unless you’re trying to annoy them.
Sometimes, what you say is as important as how you say it.
Once, I was hanging out with a friend of mine when he invited another friend I had never met to the bar with us. When she got there, she immediately monopolized the conversation, talking about herself in excessive detail.
I reached the final straw when she started telling the story of how she lost her virginity.
Remember, this was the very first time I had met this woman. For me, hearing details of her sex life was way too familiar for the relationship we had.
The thing is, it’s easy to tell other people too much about yourself. That’s especially true with new relationships, but it can happen even with people we are more familiar with.
Not everyone needs to hear every detail about your personal life. And being forced to hear things you don’t want to is extremely annoying for anyone.
Don’t be annoying
Because we can’t see ourselves from the outside, it’s often difficult to get a good sense of how we appear to other people.
Maybe you’re being annoying without realizing it.
Keep an eye out for these annoying behaviors. If nothing else, being vigilant will help you be much less irritating to be around.