Wander Woman

Guidance for the goal-driven woman

How to Deal with Annoying People

The world is quickly filling with annoying and annoyed people. Would you like to help put a stop to this vicious cycle? Here are seven tips for preserving your peace of mind when you encounter insensitive and rude people. Read More

Why are we supposed to stay silent?

I'm a little confused, why are good women supposed to stay silent and put up with bad behavior? Saying nothing can be very upsetting. Annoying people often have no idea that they are annoying. Politely pointing out a minor infraction often results in an apology and an adjustment.

By saying nothing one is encouraging and enabling bed behavior. That's why we have so much of it.

Mention first and then let go

You are right. If you noticed in my example, we did politely ask the man to adjust his seat. He rudely responded, "too bad for her."

I agree that many people are clueless that they have stopped to talk and are blocking your path or something similar. They will often respond with an apology.

The behavior I'm talking about in the post (and I'm sorry if it wasn't clear) is when people ignore you or react badly when you "point out a minor infraction."

I have many stories where I politely let the person know their behavior was affecting me in some way and their response was off the charts rude. The surprise often stirs my adrenalin and I have a hard time not reacting badly in return. I don't believe I'm the only one. I travel a lot. I see this scenario play out in airports all the time. And on roads where people are driving. In grocery stores. Just yesterday, at a government office.

So the message is to pick your battles once you know there is nothing else you can do but argue. Yes, please point out the impact of the person's behavior. Hopefully, they will acknowledge their infraction. And if not, choose your next step with deliberation, not just emotion.

I think that's part of why

I think that's part of why it's so difficult to maintain control. If you say nothing, you don't know if it's ignorance or malice. It takes some effort to be polite to someone who is being rude, but the hope is that it's just ignorance and they'll correct it once it is mentioned. However, if you've gone through the bother of speaking up and pointing it out, and the result is more rudeness, there is no more doubt, it IS malice and not ignorance. When faced with deliberate malice, it's a lot harder to maintain equanimity. The steps listed here are sound, and should be thought about and practiced ahead of time, otherwise you're unlikely to remember it when it's needed.

When emotions take over

Fly on the wall, you are so right. Its never as simple as we would like it to be. Once emotions take over, it is hard to do the smart thing. It has taken me years of practice and lots of breathing to be better at choosing my battles.

It can also help to think to

It can also help to think to myself, "do I really want to deal with an assault charge?"....that at least gets a pretty solid "no". :-)

If I can't punch them in the throat, I'd best come up with something more productive and less damaging to my future.

Focus on what's right

Thanks for this, Marcia. It's so true that "the more I find myself feeling negative and angry, the more irritated I get with every jerk I encounter." The lingering effect of the annoyance stays with us much longer than the person does! One thing I've been working on lately is to shift my focus from what's wrong/annoying about the person to what's good/right. (I recently wrote about it here: http://bit.ly/1gCYVXd.) It short circuits that negative energy in me, and it also opens the door for me to have a (potentially) healthier interaction with the other person. Easier said than done, of course, but I've got a lifetime to practice! :-) Your thoughts?

Looking at the light inside

Hi Shawn,
I shared your post because it is a good reminder about how to shift out of annoyance into patience. I often forget that most people are doing the best they can with what they know right now, and many people have problems much greater than mine...even the guy you just cut in front of me at the airport line! What a waste of energy it is being irritated anyway. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Thanks, Marcia. "I often

Thanks, Marcia. "I often forget that most people are doing the best they can with what they know right now, and many people have problems much greater than mine" - me, too!

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Marcia Reynolds, PsyD., is the author of two leadership books, The Discomfort Zone and Wander Woman. She is President of Covisioning, a leadership development and coaching firm.

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