Even if you are the nicest person in the world, we are all guilty of being annoying at times. You don’t have to be jumping up and down shouting “Gimme, gimme, gimme” to set someone's teeth on edge. While most are fairly attune to reading the signs of anger or happiness, annoyance can be hard to pinpoint and often hidden. Unfortunately, we are not all mind readers, and this low-lying emotion doesn’t often come out in bursts. More often it is revealed by subtle physical behaviors.
Everything would be a lot easier if people would just immediately tell you that you’re being annoying, but many aren't keen to share these feelings for fear that they might come out as rude or hurtful. Even though it may seem like a good idea to ask if you are being annoying, try to refrain. Sadly, asking usually just annoys people more (catch-22, I know).
Once you get on somebody's nerves they may become upset or stop talking to you, which leaves you frustrated and annoyed yourself. You may not even realize what you are doing to make your coworker secretly want to strangle you. Actions speak louder than words, so if you can read people’s body language you can better interpret their feelings. If you notice people exhibiting multiple examples of the context cues below when you are around chances are your behavior is getting on their nerves. Next time they throw shade your way, you know to back off and see if the situation improves.
1. Crossed Arms
If the AC isn't blasting, sorry to say it, but your friend is probably not folding her arms while she listens to your highly detailed recap of last nights AMAZING date 'cause she's cold. Closed-off body language is a clear sign that someone is annoyed with you. Subconsciously shielding their body means that they don't want to engage with you. These behaviors are indicative of defensiveness or frustration and are the opposite of positive relaxed body language. Crossed arms probably means you should keep the interaction short and be on your merry way.
2. Looking Anywhere But Directly At You (Especially To The Side)
If the person you are talking to isn't making eye contact, you can take that as another sign of negative body language. They are displaying a lack of desire to connect or interact, which could be because they are bored, annoyed, or uncomfortable. If they start giving side eye or rolling their eyes in exasperation you can take this as a sign to wrap things up and talk to someone who appreciates your beautiful peepers.
3. They Huff or Sigh A Lot
If your supervisor is constantly sighing while you ask them to explain the new filing system for the umpteenth time, she is probably frustrated with you. This distinctive exhale is often released when we feel bothered or exasperated. If you notice this signal of discontent or frustration, just back away slowly and give them some chill out time. Do your best not to yell "I'm leaving you alone now, cause you seem crabby and I don't want to annoy you any more, Rebecca!" That probably won't help with anything.
4. Short Terse Replies
Provided your friend isn't suddenly drinking heavily to block out the sound of your voice, you may be able to tell they are annoyed by the way they answer your questions. If they give you brief responses, and don't continue the conversation, then you can assume that they are bugging. Bonus points if they use dismissive phrases like "Whatever" or "Come on." Double extra credit if they say in exasperation "Please, just stop. I can't take it anymore!"
5. Interrupting While You Speak
Being cut off mid-sentence is rude and hurtful, but it is also a surefire way to tell if you are annoying someone. If your conversation partner is interrupting you, that most likely means they don't want to or don't care to listen anymore. It doesn't matter how cogent that point you were making was, it might be best to excuse yourself from the convo and find someone who is interesting in talking to you.
6. Turning Their Body Away From You
If someone is angling away from you instead of leaning in towards you that is a display of negative body language. Their patients may have run out and they are trying to slowly escape seeing that tenth picture of your AWESOME vacay. Maybe save that story of how you learned to surf and were like super good at it right away for later.
7. They Rub Their Face In Exasperation
When you touch or rub part of your body, be it your temples or your arms, you are often trying to comfort yourself. If somebody is rubbing their hands on their head in a "please let this pain stop" motion, you may be more annoying at the moment than you think.
8. They look at you with eyes that pierce your soul
When somebody is giving you a look that chills you to the very core there is probably no interpretation needed!
9. They Walk Away From You Mid-Conversation
This "drop the mic" move is rude yet effective. Try not to be too hurt, just get even tomorrow.
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