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How to Deal with Annoying People

How to Deal with Annoying People

Imagine a gorgeous summer day. You have the day off and you’ve just settled into a wonderfully comfy chair on your back deck, coffee nearby, newspaper in hand. You are only two paragraphs into the front page article when someone starts to splash you. Water is coming from somewhere else in the back yard — probably the swimming pool, you realize — and it’s landing on you in spurts and waves. You ignore it; whoever it is will probably stop when he/she sees that you aren’t reacting. The splashing continues. Now this is getting a little annoying. Some water is getting into your coffee! More splashing. The water is making your newspaper soggy! How dare they!

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    You finally turn, ready to berate whoever is doing all the splashing. Suddenly, you realize you’ve been horribly wrong — the person splashing you is drowning, and what you perceived as intentional interference was them trying to stay on the surface and breathe.

    I relate this little parable to illustrate a point: most people who are annoying are actually “drowning.” They are drowning in some pain from their past, or from something they are experiencing here and now. Here are 3 keys to help you deal with these annoying people.

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    1. It’s not your job to determine what is making them drown.

    A lifeguard doesn’t stop to analyze why someone is going down, he just responds to save their life. The same goes for you — you don’t have to analyze the person who is annoying you to figure out what his/her issues are. That’s not your job. If you are being annoying to someone else — let’s face it, we all know when we are — then you’d best get to work and figure out what is going on in your head. Don’t be afraid to face whatever you find — bringing it to light automatically lets some of the air out of its tires, so to speak.

    2. You don’t have to save them.

    Just like in a real emergency, sometimes, the best thing to do is call 9-1-1 and stand by. You wouldn’t try to be a lifeguard if you can’t swim or do the job of a paramedic, would you? We’ve all heard how a drowning person can push his rescuer under. The annoying person in your life might need professional help. By all means, if they are suicidal, don’t leave them alone and do call for help (9-1-1 or a suicide hotline), but if they are just being annoying and you feel like it’s more than you can deal with, you absolutely have the right to walk away. They are only hurting you because they are hurting, and it isn’t necessarily your job to intervene. You may need to protect or distance yourself — set some boundaries — so you don’t get “pushed under.”

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    How you respond obviously depends on your relationship with the annoyer. If they are a mere acquaintance or a stranger, you might not do anything at all. Since they aren’t literally drowning, just let them splash — why waste energy being offended? If they are your customer or client, then it’s most likely your job to find out what is wrong and try to fix it. If you are in a relationship with the annoying one, then you will probably want to throw them a line (depending on the nature of the relationship). If your spouse or child is the one doing the splashing — pushing your buttons and ticking you off — see what you can do to help. Read on.

    3. If you have decided to help, give immediate assistance first.

    Lifeguards know that when a person is sinking to the bottom of the ocean, that’s not the time to try to teach him/her how to swim. Get them to the surface and save their life. Swimming lessons come later, and will probably be taught by someone other than the lifeguard.

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    Your job as spouse — this is what you signed up for when you said “I do” — is to give essential help to your annoying spouse in the form of loving attention.Your significant other is probably splashing you because he/she feels neglected or unloved — like you haven’t been listening or that you don’t care.

    1. Take a deep breath, get past the annoyance of their actions and remember that you love this person and the best way to help is to show it.
    2. Stop what you’re doing and listen. Let them know you care.
    3. Now is not the time to bombard them with advice on their issues or analyze their faults.

    The above is equally true for children; when you became a parent, it also became your job to make that little person feel loved. It’s easier when they are babies compared to toddlers or teenagers! I have heard that 90% of the time, little children (age 1 – 4) cry because they feel disconnected from their parent(s). I’m sure the same is true for older kids, just replace “cry” with “act out.”

    I can’t tell you specifically how to make that important person in your life feel loved or what the best form of attention may be, but I am sure that if you think about it now, when they aren’t annoying you, you can think of a few ways. Keep those ways in mind for the next time your buttons get pushed and, after that crucial deep breath, put them into use!

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    Teresa Griffith

    Teresa is a passionate writer who shares about productivity tips on Lifehack.

    Top 20 Time Wasters and the Top 5 Worthwhile Activities How to Tap Into Your Subconscious Mind for Effective Problem Solving How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow 3 Things to Keep in Mind When Making Decisions How to Deal with Annoying People

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    Last Updated on December 4, 2020

    How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

    How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

    We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

    However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

    Let’s take a closer look.

    Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

    A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

    Builds Workers’ Skills

    Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

    Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

    Boosts Employee Loyalty

    Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

    If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

    Strengthens Team Bonds

    Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

    However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

    Promotes Mentorship

    There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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    Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

    Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

    How to Give Constructive Feedback

    Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

    Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

    1. Listen First

    Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

    Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

    You could say:

    • “Help me understand your thought process.”
    • “What led you to take that step?”
    • “What’s your perspective?”

    2. Lead With a Compliment

    In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

    You could say:

    • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
    • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

    3. Address the Wider Team

    Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

    You could say:

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    • “Let’s think through this together.”
    • “I want everyone to see . . .”

    4. Ask How You Can Help

    When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

    You could say:

    • “What can I do to support you?”
    • “How can I make your life easier?
    • “Is there something I could do better?”

    5. Give Examples

    To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

    What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

    You could say:

    • “I wanted to show you . . .”
    • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
    • “This is a perfect example.”
    • “My ideal is . . .”

    6. Be Empathetic

    Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

    You could say:

    • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
    • “I understand.”
    • “I’m sorry.”

    7. Smile

    Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

    8. Be Grateful

    When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

    You could say:

    • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
    • “We all learned an important lesson.”
    • “I love improving as a team.”

    9. Avoid Accusations

    Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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    You could say:

    • “We all make mistakes.”
    • “I know you did your best.”
    • “I don’t hold it against you.”

    10. Take Responsibility

    More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

    Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

    You could say:

    • “I should have . . .”
    • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

    11. Time it Right

    Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

    If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

    12. Use Their Name

    When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

    You could say:

    • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
    • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

    13. Suggest, Don’t Order

    When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

    You could say:

    • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
    • “Try it this way.”
    • “Are you on board with that?”

    14. Be Brief

    Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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    One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

    15. Follow Up

    Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

    You could say:

    • “I wanted to recap . . .”
    • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
    • “Did that make sense?”

    16. Expect Improvement

    Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

    By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

    You could say:

    • “I’d like to see you . . .”
    • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
    • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
    • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

    17. Give Second Chances

    Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

    You could say:

    • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
    • “I’d love to see you try again.”
    • “Let’s give it another go.”

    Final Thoughts

    Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

    More on Constructive Feedback

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

    Reference

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