We’d Like To Feel You’re Respectable

Yesterday’s WikiHow article title caught my eye. How to Not Be Annoying does not just fracture syntax in five words. No, the article goes for broke.

Most of the time, an annoying person doesn’t realize how his or her behavior is perceived by others. If you suspect that you’re annoying others – or you’ve been told you’re annoying and think they might be right, here’s how to avoid the little things that often get on people’s nerves.

I don’t know WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!

Steps

1. Think first. Think about what you are going to say before blurting it out.

Oh, come now. If I’m busy thinking, I’m not blurting. And then where will we be?

4. Respect boundaries. Everybody has boundaries – you need to learn what they are and try to avoid crossing them. Boundaries vary widely from culture to culture and even from individual to individual.

* Do not go around poking people constantly. In fact, don’t touch them at all if they don’t like it. Of course if they grant permission, then by all means have fun, but otherwise cut it out before you start.
* Mind your own business. Avoid butting into a conversation by (for example) saying, “What are you talking about?” If you hear someone talking about something with another person, and you only catch the last sentence, leave it be.

I take offense at the suggestion I quit playing my favorite game: I’ve Never Heard Those Words Before. For instance, sometimes people talk and talk and finally I hear something exciting – “Children’s shoes appeal to my pancreas,” say – well, you can bet your sweet patootie I’m going to blurt out, “WHAT are you TALKING about?” But let’s go back to Step 2.

2. Build self confidence. Being insecure can lead to annoying traits. Until you have built your self confidence up don’t try too hard.

3. Break counterproductive habits. If you laugh loudly at everyone’s jokes, even if they’re not all that funny, read up on how to avoid laughing at inappropriate times. Try a different approach – be genuine and be yourself. If people find you annoying when you’re being true to yourself, then you need to find new, more accepting people to be around.

Last week, I annoyed a Quaker. He almost said a dirty word. They don’t, you know.

5. Be humble. Just because you’re confident doesn’t mean you have to act like you’re better than anyone else. Don’t do or say things that might let you appear to be arrogant, like bragging about your wealth or success.

* Don’t correct bad grammar/spelling or inaccuracies of others because most people don’t like being corrected.
* Don’t excessively tell people that their beliefs are wrong; gently and nicely mention that you disagree.
* Don’t complain all the time. Remember the world does not revolve around you. If you complain too much, others will find you depressing and avoid you. Read up on how to be optimistic.

The world does revolve around me. Not me, but Me. Certainly. What are you talking about? And by the way, is there a Ronco Confidence Meter, like those insulin testing kits, so I can measure whether a new outfit makes me radioactively overconfident?

8. Be conscious of your surroundings. Be aware if you are standing in doorways while having a conversation, driving 20MPH in a 40MPH zone, or if your children are being obnoxious in a public place. Consider how your actions are likely to affect the people around you, and you will gain their respect.

In this article, the word respect is a hotlink. I am not clicking that. Since meaning there is up for grabs, I fear a Blues Brothers-style dance number will break out in my office. Cue Aretha in three, two, one…

9. Be polite and hygienic. Don’t peek down people’s shirts for instance, don’t pass gas, don’t talk about looking down people’s shirts or passing gas. Take care to brush and/or floss after meals so as not inflict your breath on others or allow strings of food to flap back and fourth when you speak, and don’t talk about specific instances of impolite or unhygienic actions that offended you in the past.

Fantastic. You’ve just described C-SPAN in Smell-O-Vision.

9. Learn to read facial reactions and body movements. Pay attention to the facial expressions and body language of those around you and work to immediately identify and stop whatever you’re doing that is annoying others.
10. Think of others. For some it is easy, but for others, it is not. Try to put yourself in others’ shoes and treat others the way you would like to be treated.

I’m so altruistic I never stop thinking of others. I worry and wonder and hope and dream and just know they’re thinking of Me! Because, frankly, who would not? I’m Me! And who can help but think about that!

Tips

* It is easy to be annoying if you talk too much. Think about what you say before you say it. Remember the famous quotation, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” Not talking at all is no fun for anyone, so you should try to strike a balance in conversation.
* Don’t know if you are annoying? Ask a person that you would find likely to give you an honest and constructive answer. Be prepared for criticism and be willing to accept it gracefully. The person may not be ready to give it all immediately, so give him/her time by explaining your situation, thoughts, and feelings to make it clear you can handle helpful criticism. Don’t take this to an extreme, either, as it will probably be quite annoying, itself.

I suppose those tips might be helpful if they weren’t so…um… But this is my favorite:

Warnings

* If you are unable to stop being annoying, be wary that some people will not be able to stand you anymore. They may physically assault you causing serious injury or even death.

This just gets better and better. Threats before breakfast! Also: though I didn’t read this article very closely, I corrected egregious punctuation problems. The writer will either thank me later or quit respecting my boundaries. I’m learning so much!

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