You know the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure?" I think you could also say, "One man's pet peeve is another man's lovable quirk." Let's take snoring: I thought I hated all snorers, but when I first watched my husband sleep, I decided his snoring was cute. Alternately, I am always too loud. If I'm at a restaurant or coffee shop, I'm the person who the rest of the table is quietly shushing. I think it keeps things lively, but I know not everyone else is appreciative. What makes a person annoying, then, is clearly a matter of debate. Scientifically speaking, there are a range of theories, including a study that examined how irritating sounds affect the brain.
Unpleasant noises increase activity in your brain, which is why you feel so annoyed when you hear car alarms or a knife on a plate. Not all annoying habits are related to sound, though. When it comes to the other things that bother us, I've gathered seven things that people do that most people find annoying — I also have suggestions on how to fix an irritating habit if you're guilty of it. Some of them seem like no-brainers, like chewing with your mouth open, while others are more subtle. Regardless, if you want to become less irritating to the people around you, read on.
Why are people motivated to interrupt others? Some people say it's just because you're tired of listening to them. My dad is notorious for his interruptions, and it usually happens when he thinks a story is a bit too long-winded. If you're a chronic interrupter, you have a few options, per Inc.: You can practice listening, take notes and even literally bite your tongue to stop yourself from talking over someone else.
Not Cleaning Up After Yourself
If you've ever had a roommate, you've likely faced the conundrum of a messy roommate. (If this isn't something you've experienced, there's a good chance you're the messy roommate.) How do you change someone's living habits? Is it really that hard to wash your own dishes, anyway? If you have a hard time cleaning up after yourself, you can write out to-do lists daily for accountability. Take pictures of your home when it is clean so you know what to aim for. If you live with someone who's messy, try talking to them to make sure nothing's wrong in their personal life that's making them neglectful. Then, set expectations for your home's cleanliness together.
Oversharing On Social Media
I call myself an open book on social media, since I use Twitter to complain about minor inconveniences and often make long, sappy posts about my husband on Instagram. But how much is too much? If you make a public post in reference to a private conflict, you've likely crossed a line. It's also important to consider whether your oversharing is going to hurt your career. If you're worried you share too much, take a step back and post less when you're emotional.
Making Every Conversation About Yourself
Is there anything worse than getting one-upped sharing a story about something awesome in your life? If you're unintentionally one-upping, you may end up bragging in an attempt to sound relatable. The best way around this is communicating openly with the people around you. If you have a friend who makes every conversation about them, try to gently call them out and let them know it bothers you.
Always Being Late
This is painful, mainly because I'm writing to myself right now. I am late everywhere. Doctor appointments, work, school, church, flights... I'm still not sure how I made it to my own wedding on time. I know it seems inconsiderate, but it's actually because I'm ambitious and overestimate the amount of stuff I can get done before leaving my house. A couple of ways to combat this: Setting alarms 30 minutes before you need to leave the house and making sure your keys, phone and wallet are all in place the night before.
Never Putting Your Phone Down
The last time I looked away from Twitter, I missed Trump's account disappearing for 11 minutes. Never again, I thought. The FOMO is real. You worry that putting your phone down means missing a funny message in a group chat or having hundreds of Instagram posts to scroll through once you return. In all seriousness, you're almost certainly annoying the people around you, and you can download smartphone apps (the irony!) that'll help you remain intentional.
Chewing With Your Mouth Open
My parents taught table manners from a young age. Not only did I have to brush my teeth and start getting ready for the morning before coming down for breakfast, but I also had to use a fork and knife properly and chew quietly. (I still use a fork and knife to cut pizza, so they may have scarred me.) Anyway, open-mouthed chewing is one of the most horrifying habits to me, and the key to breaking it is to practice while you're not at the dinner table.
You may not find all of these habits aggravating, but there's a chance someone in your life does. Try to better yourself, but don't create unrealistic pressure. You can become less annoying with some patience and a little bit of effort. I promise.