Handling Annoying People

I recently had someone ask me what annoying people teaching were teaching me.  That was such a challenging question.  I did not want to learn from people that drive me nuts.  I just want them to go away and stay out of my life.   If that is not possible, then I want to remove myself from their paths.  But that did not really answer the question. 

Lessons from annoying folks:

Humility:  It is really annoying when I see myself in an annoying person.   I learned that often times those folks that annoy me most often have a bit of me in them. 


Grit:  Everything meaningful encounter resistance.  I learned to look at those annoying folks as sandpaper that God has brought into my life to smooth out the rough edges

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Confidence:  When I answer the concerns of annoying people, plans are stronger.


Communication: As I take the time to explain (sometimes in 3 or 4 different ways), it helps me to build my communication skills as I search for different ways to get the point across in a way that they can understand.


Compassion:  I’m actually the annoying person more often than I want to admit


Appreciation: There’s strength in the quality that drives me nuts.  Look closely at that quality. 


Self-control: Expressing annoyance to annoying people results in more annoyance.  Although we are talking about business, use your spouse as an example.   After an extended amount of time together, you will begin to notice more and more things that irritate you.   If you speak up, meaning to be critical not helpful, that only causes hurt in that person and of course they retaliate.  Ask yourself “Is it really worth it?”


Tolerance: All successful leaders learn to navigate diverse personalities.  You have that person that is just looking for some reason to criticize you, or the person that leaves comments that make you wonder where on earth they came from.  Berating that person or worse arguing will not accomplish anything except make you look bad. 

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Openness: A leader’s response to personal irritation is to relax and open up not push, run, or close down.

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Focus: It’s sad when annoying people distract you from what matters.  Do not allow that kind of distraction in your life.  It is your choice and your decision.  Not the person that is annoying you. 


Now the important part: How to deal with annoying people:

  • Speak up. The annoyance you ignore today only gets worse tomorrow.


  • Forbear. Just smile and live with it. But, if it keeps nagging you, do #1.
  • Monitor. Keep an eye on your responses. Strong responses are about you more than them.


  • Change. How do you need to change? Trying to change others is a smokescreen.
  • Include. Bring diverse perspectives together. How can you address the core concerns of colliding perspectives and keep moving forward?


Having annoying people in your place of work or even in your business is just a simple fact of life, it is going to happen.  The real key is how are you going to deal with it.  Tell us in the comments how you handle irritating people in your life.

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