5 Pet Peeves and How to Deal

No intro needed, right? We all have innocuous things that shouldn’t get to us, but do. They may just be stupid little idiosyncrasies that drive us nuts. Are pet peeves reserved for Type A / OCD types? If so, welcome to my world. Ever wish you could blow your off; not let them get under your skin?

These are a few of mine, complete with how I deal. I’d love to hear yours along with any sage coping advice!

1. People who don’t say “thank you” when you hold the door open.
This has always driven me insane. I stop everything, wait to hold a door open for someone, and they pass right by without so much as a word. What?! Manners much? SO rude, right? Me, too. That is until a wise colleague of mine put it to me this way:

“Once you’ve held open that door, your part is done. You’ve done a nice thing, made your parents proud, whatever. What happens after your good deed is irrelevant. Whether they acknowledge it or not means nothing.”Huh?

“Did you hold the door open because you needed them to thank you, or because you wanted to show kindness?” Well, I just wanted to be nice.

“So then let it go. You can’t control their reaction, and shouldn’t want or need to. Just focus on that fact that you did what makes you feel good — doing something nice for a stranger.”

And now I do. And you know what? When people ARE appreciative of little acts of kindness, I enjoy those reciprocal moments all the more.

2. Exhausting exchanges
When a conversation leaves you completely drained, longing for a glass of wine…even at 8:00 am. These are usually the same people for me. I have to work harder to in these relationships, conversations take longer than needed, and it always feels things could go south at any moment. #tense

How to deal? Try the mirror trick. Not an actual mirror, but a relational one.

Your colleague is ranting about something you can’t control, and it’s eating up your day and potential productivity. Pull out your empathy mirror. Instinctively you know what they want to hear, right? Feed it to them, and make it a shorter conversation.

“Wow. That must be really hard on you, Patrice. I can tell how frustrated you are by how long Accounting is taking to provide those numbers. I can see how that really slows down your progress.”

Now there’s no reason for the rant to continue. None. By acknowledging the cause of the frustration, you’ve stopped it dead in its tracks, and saved yourself valuable time and energy. Politely exit stage right, and move on.

Your mother insists on what you should do to solve a problem. Instinctively, you push back. They may even be right, but you have your own way of dealing with things. They’re being pushy, and you’re not having it. OR… pull out that mirror again.

“I know you have my best interest at heart. You might be right about trying some new things in my diet to see if would help. I’ll think about that.”

Exchange successfully brought to a much more pleasant close. You secede a bit, and your mother can release the death grip she has on knowing what’s right for you. #diffused

3. When the toilet paper rolls from underneath
Two choices:

  1. Let it make you crazy. Beat yourself up for even letting it bother you
  2. Change it. Yep, even in public restrooms and at other people’s houses. So what if it bugs you? It’s just one of the silly little things about you. Why fight it?

4. One-way conversationalists
We all know the type; all take and no give. The braggadocios parent who tells you incessantly about their kid’s achievements, but never asks about or comments on yours. The boss who spends half of your performance review discussion talking about themselves. My mom used to stop me by saying, “But enough about me. What do YOU think about me?”

This one’s pretty easy. don’t. When the dialogue turns monologue, cut it short. Sure, you can try to interject your perspective to balance things out, but when the person’s a serial energy vampire, cut your losses. If you can’t (or don’t want to) be pleasant, don’t get frustrated, get lost. My 10-year old has been known to call me from the other side of a room to “save” me when she sees I’m cornered. God bless her.

5. Fat free cheese and cheap paper towels
OK, put your metaphor goggles on here. Some things just aren’t worth it. For me, two of these are fat free cheese and cheap paper towels. Fat free cheese sucks. It exists for people who are willing to sacrifice enjoyment in something they love, but it’s like eating rubber, doesn’t melt, and looks as bad as it tastes. Why cheap paper towels? You don’t save money when you have to use twice as many. What’s the point?

Life’s too short to waste time with certain things. Fat free cheese and paper towels are two. Need a third? Insincere people. Choose wisely. Choose quality.

What are your pet peeves, and how do you deal?