You can't spend your life with someone and not ever annoy them. And you can't expect that they'll never annoy you. Sometimes it's not your fault; bad moods happen. But sometimes, maybe you are to blame. And in a cruel twist of fate, maybe it's things that you think are nice that are actually annoying your partner the most. I know. Confusing.
If you just focus on your partner's annoyed response and don't think about your behavior as a potential annoying cause, you could be trying to skip out on some of your own problems. According to Martha Beck for the supreme goddess Oprah's magazine, "Whenever you become intensely focused on changing someone else's behavior, you might want to check what part of your own business you're avoiding."
At the same time, you can also ask your partner to take a step back and understand your good intentions, according to Beck. Relationships are a true give and take.
Before you throw in the towel and accept that it's just going to be a sucky day, maybe you should step back and see if you've committed any of these totally annoying behaviors that stem from being nice. Because, yes, it's true that intentions matter, but they're not everything. Trust me. My career used to be focused on healthy relationships as both a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and a Planned Parenthood-Certified Responsibly Sexuality Educator, and I've learned that sometimes being nice is the worst thing you can be.
1. Solving Their Problems
If your partner is having a bad day, most of the time what they're looking for when they turn to you is a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear. You don't have to try to solve all of their problems. You just need to listen and be there.
2. Buying Them Gifts
Gifts are the way some people show and feel love, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, but others don't resonate with presents. According to Chapman, some people need quality time, kind words, physical affection, or acts of kindness to feel loved. If you're a gift giver and your partner needs quality time, your presents in place of your presence might be annoying.
3. Butting In
I your partner wants to handle their scandal on their own, you have to respect that. Even if your intentions are good and you're trying to help, it's not your place to talk to their boss or parents or friends to try to fix problems that don't directly involve you. In fact, it can be totally annoying. We all have to stand our ground and deal with our own stuff. It's even worse if you were specifically asked to stay out of it.
4. Demanding Self-Care
I hate to use the word "nag" because it's so loaded, but nagging about self-care is just annoying, no matter how justified. Odds are, if you're dating an adult person, he or she already knows they need to see the dentist, or go to the doctor, or exercise. And even though all you want to do is keep you love healthy, you could be coming off as condescending. Ultimately, it's not your decision whether or not your partner practices good self-care.
5. Making Decisions
Picture this: Your partner had a tough day, so you decide to handle the evening plans, maybe take some of the load off of her shoulders. You pick a restaurant, make a reservation, and do everything nice that you can think of. How could that possibly be annoying? Well, maybe your partner had it in their head that they wanted to get drinks, then collapse with pizza on the couch... but now they have to go out. See what I mean? Communication is key.
6. Not Making Decisions At All
On the other hand, you may think that by not making any decisions, you're being nice. You know, letting the other person always get what they want, In reality, it's a lot of pressure to be the decision maker, even if it's just about where to eat dinner every night. Sometimes it's nicer to give some input and see where things go.
Of course, sometimes your partner is just in a mood and you can't seem to win. But for the most part, you'll be able to gauge each other's wants and expectations through that never-ending communication.