Deal with Annoying People: 20 Expert Tactics

Deal with Annoying People: I felt the need to vent. I apologize if this is long winded, but it’s therapeutic. Try it for yourself. Put your anger (sadness, negativity) on paper. Read it, shred it, and then let it go.

Have you ever felt like you’re always trying to deal with annoying people? You know, the ones that really get under your skin and make you want to shoot laser beams from your eyes? It seems as though the world is being overtaken by these characters. They’ve been living rent free in my head.


This planet is starting to seem . . . . well . . . . like another planet. Human beings seem to be regressing when it comes to basic civility and consideration. When was the last time you heard someone ask for something by saying please and thank you? It’s as though these words have gone the way of Latin.

My favorite is when I hear someone order at a restaurant by saying: “Give me (pronounced: Gimme) a rack a ribs.” Did these people crawl out from under a rock? Maybe they did.


The other one I love is the “taster.” I’m sure you’ve been in this situation. The taster is the person at the deli counter or ice cream shop who keeps asking for samples of the different offerings. They have no care in the world about those waiting in line to order next.  Here’s a suggestion: take a gamble and just order the damn honey maple turkey and the fudge ripple. They probably don’t suck. Just take a risk and let the rest of us get on with our day!


The “shopping friend.” These are the one’s who always end up parking their grocery cart in front of the very items you are trying to get. The store can be completely empty and somehow, they end up right where you need to be.  They also have this uncanny habit of coming up from behind and standing one foot away from you = personal space violation!


The “receipt road block person”. I’m still at the supermarket. Items have been bagged and purchased. I can’t wait to get out of there and there they are. The people who have decided to park themselves and their carts smack in the middle of the automatic exit doors. Why? Because, after all, they’re the only ones who exist in the world. There’s no better place to review their purchase receipts.


The “crosswalk turtle people.” You know, the ones who were former extras in the Walking Dead. Being the good citizen that you are, you stop at the crosswalk for pedestrians. It’s like watching a thousand years of evolution – here come the walking fish creatures, crawling their way out of the swamp!  They can’t even wave their webbed feet as a show of gratitude (what’s gratitude?).


To deal with annoying people is perhaps one of the greatest challenges we can face. So, what do we do? There’s no way we can change them, but we can change our reactions to them.


***As you deal with annoying people, I know it’s difficult, but try to see them as lost souls. Perhaps they just received a scary diagnosis. Maybe they just lost a loved one. These situations can certainly affect one’s awareness of surroundings. Empathy is powerful.   


And for the rest of them . . . .

  • Realize that you must preserve your own health. These people are just not worth getting your blood pressure elevated over.
  • Take some deep breaths. Focus on these breaths and how your body is expanding and contracting with each inhale and exhale. Focusing on yourself is much more beneficial.
  • Set some boundaries and try to avoid these people (hard to do in today’s world). For example, go to another part of the store and return to the deli counter once the annoying person has left. But don’t order an extra pound of Bologna as a “reward” for having had to deal with them! Again, your health shouldn’t suffer because of others.
  • Be grateful that you aren’t like them. Thank yourself for being a positive force in this crazy place. This world needs you! 


I look forward to following the suggestions. I certainly need to do so when I deal with annoying people.


Until next time, be safe and be positive. I’ll certainly try. Just let me pass through the crosswalk. I promise I’ll wave. ~Ted

Deal with Annoying People: 20 Expert Tactics ~parts adapted for Deal with Annoying People via

  1. Listen. Listening is the number one step as you deal with annoying people. Everyone wants to feel heard. No progress can take place until the other person feels acknowledged. While you're listening, really focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next.
  2. Stay calm. When a situation is emotionally charged, it's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment. Monitor your breathing. Try to take some slow, deep breaths.
  3. Don't judge. You don't know what the other person is going through. Chances are if a person is acting unreasonable, they are likely feeling some sort of vulnerability or fear.
  4. Reflect respect and dignity toward the other person. No matter how a person is treating you, showing contempt will not help productively resolve the situation.

5. Look for the hidden need. What is this person really trying to gain? What is this person trying to avoid?

6. Look for others around you who might be able to help. If you’re at work and there’s an irate customer, quickly scan to see if a colleague is close by.

7. Don't demand compliance. For example, telling someone who's upset to be quiet and calm down will just make him or her irate. Instead, ask the person what they are upset about—and allow them to vent.

8. Saying, "I understand," usually makes things worse. Instead, say, “Tell me more so I can understand better.”

9. Avoid smiling, as this may look like you are mocking the person. Similarly, humor can sometimes lighten the mood, but more often than not, it’s risky and it may backfire.

10. Don’t act defensively. This is tough. You’re naturally not enjoying the other person saying nasty things or things that you know aren’t true. You’re going to want to defend yourself. But the other person is so emotionally revved up, it’s not going to help. Remember, this is not about you. Don’t take it personally. (I know, easier said than done.)

11. Don’t return anger with anger. Raising your voice, pointing your finger, or speaking disrespectfully to the other person will add fuel to an already heated situation. Use a low, calm, even monotone voice. Don't try to talk over the person. Wait until the person takes a breath and then speak.

12. Don't argue or try to convince the other person of anything.

13. Keep extra space between you and the other person. Your instinct may be to try to calm the other person down by putting your arm on theirs, or some other similar gesture that may be appropriate in other contexts. But if someone is already upset, avoid touch, as it might be misinterpreted.

14. Saying, “I’m sorry,” or, “I’m going to try to fix this,” can go a long way toward defusing many situations.

15. Set limits and boundaries. While some of the above tips have encouraged listening and letting the angry person vent, you also have the right to be assertive and say, “Please don’t talk to me like that.”

16. Trust your instincts. If your gut is saying, this is going downhill fast, be ready to do what you need to do to remain safe. Look for an exit strategy.

17. One response does not fit all. You have to remain flexible. Although these guidelines have proven effective in de-escalating tough situations, every person is unique and may respond differently.

18. Debrief. After the situation is over, talk to someone about what happened.

19. Discharge your own stress. You had to put your natural reactions on hold for a while. Now is the time to discharge some of that pent-up adrenaline. Go for a run. Take your dog for a walk. Don’t let the emotions stay stuck in your body.

20. Give yourself credit for getting through an uncomfortable situation. It takes a lot of energy not to act like a jerk when someone else is behaving badly. Don’t skip this step!

As You Deal with Annoying People...
Remember to be good to yourself

You are what you feed yourself. I'm not just talking about your body. You are what you feed your mind, as well. You're a whole package! 

I encourage you to take a look in the Self-Help Shop for more ingredients to boost your body and your mind.

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