I consider it a success if I can make it through the day without being too awkward. But sometimes I can tell that I said something that got under someone's skin, or rubbed them the wrong way. When that happens, I then sit amongst my awkward fall out and wonder what exactly went wrong.
Does this ever happen to you? If so, you might be interested to know there are several things we all do that are considered irritating. These are the little social faux pas that send people's eyes rolling, cause them to back away — or even get upset.
If you're worried that you're leaving a wake of pissed off people, never fear. All you gotta do is figure out where you might be going wrong. "Ask the people with whom you are most comfortable to tell you what your most annoying habits are to them," says Dr. Kim Chronister, in an email to Bustle. "A couple of small shifts in your behaviors can alter others' perceptions of you. Start to pay attention to your behaviors and practice altering for 66 days (it takes this long according to research to form a new habit)." Sound good? Then read on for some irritating bad habits we all need to work on.
1. Taking Vocalized Pauses (AKA Saying "Um" All The Damn Time)
There you are, chatting away and telling a great story. Everyone is riveted and can't wait to hear the end. But then you start peppering in the "ums" and "uhs." Chronister tells me these are called vocalized pauses, and they can really irritate the listener. Not only is it distracting, but it can also make you seem incompetent. So don't be afraid to pause and silently collect your thoughts.
2. Cutting People Off While They're Talking
While you wouldn't consider it interpreting, per se, people still get pretty annoyed when you step on the ends of their sentences. (I know I do this when I'm excited to share my input. Oops.) If you do it too, try to catch yourself. "Be aware when you cut someone off," said professional speaker Rhonda Scharf on HuffingtonPost.ca. "Stop your sentence mid-stream, and apologize for being rude." This will help you slow down and break that interpreting habit.
3. Constantly Whining & Complaining
We all gripe about the weather, about being tired, about having a headache — it's a way to commiserate with our friends and coworkers. But the whininess can be taken too far and get under people's skin. "Complaining regularly means that you are always focusing on the negatives," said PR expert Margie Ramos on ThoughtCatalog.com. "Sometimes, the only thing you can do is accept what happened, deal with it, and move on." And save your complaining for when it's truly worth it.
4. Casting A Curious Eye Towards Your Phone
I'm always amazed by the rare occasion when I go out with friends and no one looks at their phones. It's such a normal things these days, and we all do it. But keep in mind that glancing at your screen shows that you're not fully invested in the moment. And that can be downright irritating.
5. Ending Your Texts With A Scary Period
If you had a hunch that ending texts with a period can come off a bit harsh, you were totally right. A new study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior shows that when you end texts with a period, you seem less sincere, according to lifestyle writer Amy Marturana on Yahoo.com. So if you're chatting with friends or your SO, do them all a favor and toss in an emoji or two. They'll probably breathe a huge sigh of relief.
6. Flaking Out On Plans At The Last Minute
While you may think it's OK to flake on plans (I mean, you did call to cancel), it's still a habit that gets under people's skin — especially if you back out at the last minute. "Nobody likes flakes," said Ramos. "Make flaking a habit and your friends will start considering you as an unreliable person."
7. Not Actually Listening When Someone Talks
People can so tell when you're only half listening. Maybe it's because you're lookin' at that phone, but more likely you're in your head trying to think what to say next. And that's not cool. "Thinking about what you’re going to say instead of really focusing on the other person’s words stops you from responding accurately to them, and a pre-rehearsed answer (in your head) says you weren’t truly listening," said Marturana.
8. Shifting The Blame To Someone Else
It takes a lot to admit when you're wrong, which is why so many of us would rather deflect the blame and point our fingers at everyone else. This habit not only gets under people's skin, but it's one that you should probably change ASAP. "Acknowledge your errors, fix them, and think about the steps you have to take to prevent yourself from making the same errors again," Ramos said. The people in your life will appreciate it. I promise.
9. Being Shifty With Your Eye Contact
Strange, shifty eye contact can really get to people. Maybe you make too much (so creepy), or too little (which comes off as shy). Whatever the case may be, the wrong type of eye contact can be incredibly off-putting. "When it comes to eye contact, it’s all about finding the happy medium," Marturana said. Keep it somewhere in the middle.
10. Making Promises You Don't Intend To Keep
We've all made plans to meet up for coffee when we know full well we'll never meet up for coffee. It's fine, since we're all just trying to be polite. But don't let these false plans and false promises become too much a habit. "Think before you make a promise, because the consequences of breaking promises can be irreparable," Ramos said.
11. Humblebragging On Social Media
OK, so you just posted a pic of your vacation or a sweet shot of you and your SO. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as you don't slap a humblebrag on top of it. "You know the post ... 'Ugh, jet lag from our Hawaiian vacation is the worst. Awake at 3 a.m.,'" said lifestyle writer Kasandra Brabaw on Prevention. People can see right through that, and will most definitely be rolling their eyes.
Save yourself from being "that" person by knowing just what rubs people the wrong way. And you'll be sailing through those social interactions with the best of 'em.
Images: Pexels (12); Monica Adino/Bustle