I have written posts this week addressing how to combat pests and insects that get in our way, but what about bigger pests that are bugging you in your life - pests of the human kind. They can be even more of a problem than a string of ants marching across your picnic blanket filled with gourmet food. How about that co-worker that steals your ideas and then presents them as her own, or that "friend" that finds fault with every new date or your efforts to get in shape or even a neighbor that constantly competes with every aspect of your life? They can really dampen our spirits and affect our mental well-being.
I am no expert on the subject, but I can safely say I have encountered my fair share of some difficult people here and there. With that in mind, I compiled some thoughts to consider when trying to cope with those that bug you. Here they are:
Say NothingYou do have a choice on how to react to situations and people - even the annoying ones. You do have that power. Every thought you have of annoyance does not have to be acted upon. They are just thoughts and not actions. Sometimes you can just be quiet and watch and not comment. The annoying one is taking his or her actions and you can take yours - and perhaps that is nothing. Silence can speak very loudly. But to be completely honest, I hardly ever do this. But when I have, it has been very effective. Note to self.
Say SomethingThis is the opposite of what I just wrote, I realize. But maybe a real pattern is setting in. Maybe it is time to tell the annoying one straight out. Always with respect though. (Unless this is a bar brawl and some guy just punched you in the face. You really do not need to be too respectful in that scenario.) Some individuals are not too good on picking up cues. They are not mind readers. So, tell them. Draw it out for them. Go ahead, but be specific. Give examples. Those overly general statements of how annoying help no one, least of all the annoying one. He or she may really not know what he or she is doing and want to fix it. Say it like this, for example: "I have noticed over the last few months that (insert annoying behavior) when (give examples of at least two or three occassions), and it felt (describe the effect of the behavior). I would appreciate it if next time, you would (insert what you want to happen next time)." You get the idea.
Do Not OverreactDo not act from a place of fear or anger. Gather yourself. You may really regret coming across too strongly. Think about what could be at the root of the annoying one's behavior. Try to see around the curve he or she is throwing you and look for more meaning. Ok. Sometimes, this person is just ill-behaved and there is no meaning. But, if it is someone you know, even a little, give him or her the benefit of the doubt, especially if it is incongruous with how he or she usually behaves.
Laugh It OffThe behavior may pass on its own. Or, you may have this person in your life such a short while, it is not worth getting your dander up or expelling energy over it. This annoying person may treat everyone in that fashion and it is not a personal attack. Besides, you can't fix everything and could even make the situation worse for you or someone else.
Be KindCan you think of a time you regretted doing so? I can't, even when someone was the opposite to me. You never know, your act of patience and kindness may just be the turning point for this person. After meeting his or her act of deceit with your gentleness, he or she may turn to the light. Or, sometimes, people just seek an empathetic ear or some insight to their pain. But, be careful. I have gotten into some situations where these angry birds became dependent on me to help them with every new situation or needed me to counteract their constant negativity towards others and life. That is really draining and then you may need to change course and say something.
What about you? How do you deal with people or situations that bug you? What helps? Please share in the comments, even if you read this post well after the posting date. Your suggestion or comments could really help someone out there with a difficult situation or with a person of the buggiest kind.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lori_greig/5331407245/">Lori Greig</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>