How to Be Annoying

“You never know just how you look through other peoples’ eyes” – this is a line from a well known song when I was growing up (Pepper by the Butthole Surfers for those interested). There is definitely a lot of truth to this. That said, there are some things that, if you do them, are guaranteed to piss people off.

Now just to be clear here, the following are things I recommend you don’t do. And one more thing: I’m certainly not perfect, and there are a few things on this list that I’m guilty of doing. If anything, writing this list has helped me identify some areas I can work on. Here then are 10 traits that are sure to annoy others:

1. Be Cheap

Frugal is good, cheap is bad. Now, if you are cheap and no one else is affected, obviously there is no harm in that. But if you are cheap in certain social situations, such as going out to dinner with friends, then you are sure to get under others’ skin.

2. Break Your Promises

Trust is a cornerstone of happy and healthy relationships. Break a promise once, and you will probably be forgiven. Do it again, and you may just find that the relationship is permanently damaged. I am always extremely careful before making promises, and I suggest you do the same.

3. Be Late

Time is a valuable commodity, and if you don’t respect others’ time then you will quickly lose friends and infuriate people . Sure, sometimes things happen and being late is unavoidable. But I’m sure you know people who always seem to be late. In my opinion, being on time comes down to staying organized and respecting others’ time.

4. Never Have An Opinion

There are circumstances where I understand why a person may want to reserve their opinion. But to never have an opinion – meaning they always take a position of neutrality or indecision – is both annoying and boring. Take the time to think about certain issues and consider where you stand. And if the topic comes up in conversation, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

5. Don’t Listen

Ever tried to have a conversation with someone who seems to only be interested in what they have to say? Even when you are talking, you can tell they are just waiting for an opportunity to cut in and start talking again. Annoying, isn’t it? Don’t be that person.

6. Be Negative

I can’t stand to be around negative people who constantly complain. For starters, I consider negative thinking to be a self-defeating exercise. And as to why I avoid negative people, I simply find that it is both drains my energy levels and is extremely contagious.

7. Don’t Reply to Important Emails/ Text Messages

If there is one thing on this list that I am most guilty of, it is this one. And yet I know how annoying it is when people do it to me. Strange. Lets just say it is something I am working on :) .

8. Insist On Always Being Right

I’m always amazed at people who insist on always being right, even when it is clear that they are wrong. Everyone makes mistakes or gets something wrong every so often (or if you are like me, quite regularly!). If takes more courage to admit an error than it does to stubbornly refuse to be in the wrong.

9. Don’t Finish What You Start

If you start a project or chore, and don’t see it through to completion, you are sure to annoy a few people.

Note: someone in your life annoying you with one of these things? Why not send them a gentle hint by emailing them this article, saying something like “Hey, I just read this great article that lists some extremely annoying traits….”

If you are reading this because someone just sent it to you – sorry – I guess someone thinks you’re annoying :) .

Peter Clemens

Peter Clemens is founder of The Change Blog and author of The Possibility of Change books series. Click here to learn more about Peter and his books.

12 Comments

  1. Excellent list!

    I think these are the top three from the list:

    Breaking Promises
    Not Listening
    Being Negative

    Of course, are nine are extremely valid.

    Reply
  2. Hey, where’s #10? Isn’t this a top ten list? Or did you not finish what you started?

    Just kidding… just back from vacation, and catching up on your articles.

    Reply
  3. How do you know what’s “important” on list #7? Do you mean sometimes we start classifying the “important” messages to which ones are more important that the other?

    To me, I consider email and IM messages not as important as telephone messages or postal mail. If someone takes the time to write, stamp, go to the post office to write to me, that’s worth replying to. If someone takes the time to dial my number and utter their breath into my voicemail, that’s worth replying to.

    Reply
  4. I recognize at least four of these annoying things in myself. I’m always late because I procrastinate about everything, including getting out the door. I usually don’t care to share my opinions because they come across as antisocial and amoral, and there are many things that I just don’t care about. I’m a negative person, although in personal conversation I usually keep the negative to myself. I seldom finish what I start, and if I do finish, it’s often a year or two later than I intended.

    Reply
  5. What about being an annoying commentator.
    “nice blog – hey check out my online drugs store …” :)

    seriously, good article.
    ~
    Tejvan

    Reply
  6. I love this post. There are a few of these I am guilty of, but actually only thought of them after reading this. Thanks.

    Reply
  7. Or you could write an article about how to be annoying.
    Or just leaves some jackass comment about an annoying article.

    Reply
  8. I can’t find number 10, Where is number 10? Why can’t I find number 10? It was left out on purpose but why? Are you trying to annoy people? I figured I would follow your advice and “send them a gentle hint by emailing them this article, saying something like “Hey, I just read this great article that lists some extremely annoying traits….”

    But I am more entertained than annoyed, I hope you are too.

    9. Don’t Finish What You Start

    If you start a project or chore, and don’t see it through to completion, you are sure to annoy a few people.

    Note: someone in your life annoying you with one of these things? Why not send them a gentle hint by emailing them this article, saying something like “Hey, I just read this great article that lists some extremely annoying traits….”

    If you are reading this because someone just sent it to you – sorry – I guess someone thinks you’re annoying :) .

    Reply
  9. LOL! That’s very true Tejvan. Filtering the comments on this blog has introduced me to the names of a long list of drugs.

    Reply
  10. Awesome question Rudy. To be honest, I could probably remove “important” from that annoying habit because I know I get frustrated even when my email/ text/ phone call isn’t particularly important.

    That said, I think the “no reply habit” may arise because the person receiving the message does not place the same importance on the message as the sender does, ie importance is really a subjective matter.

    Reply
  11. Thanks Hannes. I’m sure everyone is guilty of at least one of these to a certain degree. I believe the first step to change is greater awareness – so hopefully this article has helped a couple of people in that respect.

    Reply
  12. I have a co-worker who always replied back with a thank you even if she never says anything else. It did seem to give people a lot of peace of mind.

    Reply

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