Just in case you missed the last article, it was How to Make Annoying People Less Annoying: Part 1. To briefly summarize and refresh your memory, you will be the one making changes. When you are in the middle of an annoying situation, breathe. I recommend reading my articles, Pilates Breathing and, in particular, Yogic Breathing. If appropriate, smile, or at the very least, make your face a positive neutral. Then, excuse yourself and walk away.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s continue.
Some nights, my kids just don’t sleep. They seem to have set up a schedule deciding who wakes me up when so that they can be energetic and rested in the morning, while I feel like I’ve been given a sleep deprivation interrogation in a third world country. When morning rolls around, there is nothing left to do but buck up and face the day. While I might do a pretty good job faking it, I know I’m feeling loopy and that sometimes the things I’m saying are weird. I say them and I hear them and I think Huh. No filter today. I’ll have to try to remember that.
I bring this up because truly you never know exactly what someone else is going through unless they decide to remove their filter and tell you everything. So let’s cut other people some slack. You don’t know what’s going on with them, so just skip judging them. It’s a waste of your time and unfair to them.
Post Incident Analysis
Like game review, once you have some distance and perspective, it’s a good idea to revisit what happened. Why were you annoyed? Was it something that was done or said? Were you just not in a good mood?
Once you think about what happened and answer those questions, think about what you can do so that you won’t be in that situation again. However, if the situation should arise, what are you going to do?
Example: My son knows how to really push my buttons. He has since he was born. When he gets really mad (usually at me or about something I’ve said), he stops, makes eye contact, and hits himself. I have no idea why (still) but this makes me very mad. (It used to make me furious, but I’m progressing.) Even though I would know that he was doing this specifically to make me very mad, I would take the bait and escalate things into a big fight.
After one time, I did my post incident analysis and decided that I didn’t want to fight with my son, especially not over things like turning off the TV. So what did that mean to me? What was I going to do next time? (You can always bet that the other person is not going to change their behavior.) I decided that I was going to tell him how sad it makes me when he hits himself because I don’t want anyone to do harm to him, especially not himself. And then follow it with The Hug. A super hug for long enough that I could feel him not want to be mad anymore.
So that’s what I did the next time we had this situation. It had good results. First, it shocked the heck out of him that I didn’t respond in my usual way and that threw him off his game. Then, my kind and loving answer confused him. Finally, The Hug was all I needed to turn a potential fight into a wonderful time of honesty and communication. To this day, I still have good success with this method.
If you change your perspective, annoying people will become less annoying. Decide to make changes within yourself, breathe, smile, excuse yourself from the situation, skip passing judgement and give them a break, and do a post incident analysis to decide what you will want to do differently next time.