Why other people are annoying

by Aimee Serafini on November 24, 2012

There is a theory in many self-help circles that says that the thing you don’t like about someone else is something you haven’t accepted about yourself. Psychoanalysis calls it projection. I disagree with it.

Here’s an example: I find it annoying when other people are late. I mean by more than a few minutes, and habitually. I find it rude and selfish as if they are saying “my time is more valuable than yours. You can sit around and wait on me because I choose to do other things first before leaving to get here in time. Those other things are more important to me than your time waiting on me.”

So following the line of thought that either means I haven’t accepted my lateness, or more deeply, I haven’t accepted my thinking my time is more important than other people’s.

There is no truth to either of those, and I’m not just saying that. I’m rarely more than a few minutes late, and if I am going to be, I will text. Sure it happens to all of us at times, but it doesn’t happen to me regularly. And secondly, I don’t feel like my time is more valuable than others. In fact I’m  extra aware of wasting anybody’s time. I hate to make people wait on me. On a ski slope if I’m with a faster skier, it makes me uncomfortable if they are waiting on me. Go! Ski as fast as you want! I would rather be alone than holding you back.

Other examples that I find annoying are persistent laziness and talking about oneself (unless it’s funny or interesting). Neither of those are true about me. You can ask anybody who knows me (this is not self delusion, I promise!). I’m not saying that I’ve never felt lazy or talked about myself, or that I get annoyed over any laziness or talking about oneself, just when it is persistent and boring.

SOOO, given that I could come up with three examples very easily – how is this theory true? I think it was just made up because it sounded good. I actually think a lot of things are just made up because the author likes to create ideas.

Why then do I think other people are annoying? I heard an interesting theory last month that I think can explain it. We have about 1500 personal rules about how life should be lived. And I think one of mine is that time is precious and should not be wasted (and I carry that along to being wasteful in general). So the more important the rule is to me or the more rules an action breaks, the more annoyed I will be when someone does something that breaks it/them. I don’t think it has to do with a part of myself that I haven’t accepted.

Let me know if you agree or disagree and your personal examples to back your side up.

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