What you can learn from people who irritate you Hot Conversation

Do you know a few people who really irritate you? Are there people you find it difficult to be around because you get annoyed and angry just by being near them for any length of time? Guess what. You can learn the most about your self from these people.

I mentioned in my last post that that I have a hard time being around angry people because they “mirror” to me my own anger or tendency towards being an angry person. “Mirroring” means that the people who irritate us are actually mirroring to us qualities in ourselves we don’t like, that we know we need to change or with which we must in some way change or improve. For example, when someone around me annoys me because they are angry all the time, I have to look at my own tendency to get angry quickly or to harbor anger under the surface (to stuff it under my happy and positive exterior).

Today, think about the people you know who irritate you. Write down the things about them that are most annoying. Then get really honest. Do you possess those same annoying traits? If so, it’s time to fess up, stop judging them and start changing yourself instead.

If you can honestly answer, “No, I don’t.” ask yourself this question: Would I like to possess those traits? Sometimes the people who irritate us do so because they possess traits we wish we had. For example, they might be more efficient, more prompt, more outspoken, more honest, etc.

Mirroring is the best quick, easy and free human potential or personal growth tool I know. Sometimes I forget to use it. When I do use it, though, I’m always amazed at what I learn. You’d be surprised what you can learn about yourself from the people who most irritate you!

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Posted in As the Spirit Moves Me, spirituality.

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14 Responses

  1. Tamara Tamara says

    I will give an annoying person one or two chances. After that, I stay away. That’s how I deal with annoying people!

    2 like

    • Ardessa Ardessa says

      But what do you do when that person is your boss and you can’t stay away? 

      1 like

      • Tamara Tamara says

        Hmmm, that is a tough one! Tell boss your busy with work and you can’t be distracted because you want to ensure you’re doing your best job possibel?!

        0 like

  2. Flower Bear Flower Bear says

    I try to narrow down what it is about that person that annoys me so much, not so much the behavior but the reason behind it. Sometimes people act out of a whole host of reasons that might not be apparent on the surface. I know there are two people I have in mind who drive me nuts if I have to spend alot of time around them. Lately I have been looking more closely at them to see if it is indeed, as you have suggested, a mirror of some aspect of my own behavior that I dislike, or if there is something else going on. Sometimes I only think it is a mirrored behavior, or can see how I could act like that if I didn’t take a step back and think before I spoke or acted. I am a firm believer that the people who annoy you the most are there to teach us a lesson. It is up to us to step back and try to figure out what that lesson is. Maybe it is only to be more compassionate to others, maybe it is to teach us to control our anger, or to make us think before we say something negative or judgemental, maybe it is a reminder that, there but for the grace of God go I. Sometimes it is a humbling experience. Other times, it is just a lesson in walking away before we become confrontational.

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    • Sunblossom Sunblossom says

      Yup, I totally agree flower, except some days I am a little slim on compassion, even though I sometimes require it myself…I usually don’t let them anger me, I usually avoid when I can.  Even if I understand the reasons behind it, i.e. my ex mother-in-law was a very abrassive and condescending person, but I knew from her early childhood her mother favored her sister over her, her sister was more attractive than her, and had married into money….so my MIL always overcompensated, looking for applause wherever she went….and when she couldn’t get applause, she bullied and controlled….however, that does not excuse rudeness, as we all have issues we deal with, and what would this world be like if we all acted out our childhood inadequacies….walking away is usually best because there is usually nothing we can say that will change them or their attitudes…and for myself, I usually just end up aggravating myself and the offender goes on their merry way…

      0 like

    • NinaAmir NinaAmir says

      Nicely said. This is another way to use the mirroring tool.

      0 like

  3. OldBlonde OldBlonde says

    It has been my personal experience that this theory is sometimes true and sometimes it does not apply.

    People who talk about their exercise and diet program that really works annoy me because I truly wish I were as disciplined as they are.

    On the other hand, rude and intolerant people are people I don’t care for or wish to be like.

    My best friend has is a therapist and I learned from her that this theory is taught in the Masters Degree program for psychology.  I think it’s an important concept to CONSIDER if you are counseling someone with issues of being irritated by someone else.  But I’m seriously doubt that anyone thinks it’s an absolute rule. Just a possibility.

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    • Generic Image 4Margaret says

      I think OldBlonde has captured this issue accurately.  Sometimes the mirroring theory applies, other times, not at all.  I am wondering Nina if you are a therapist as your view sounds as such.

      I personally can think of a no. of people who irritate me due to rudeness, not listening when I specifcally request they not continue to do something, people who are inconsiderate of others.  This is not me at all.  I think avoiding people like this as much as possible is often the best strategy.

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  4. teabird teabird says

    I have to disagree with this theory.  I work in a small office.  There is a man who irritates me beyond belief.  He is actually repulsive in his hygiene and has comitted workplace violence and cyber-stalked me.  He exhibits abberant behavior, is socially inept, and professionally incompetent.  He irritates me for many, many reasons and I am VERY happy to say I am NOT looking in a mirror but rather, I am looking at the very antithesis of everything I am, I stand for and aspire toward.

    1 like

  5. tiliamay tiliamay says

    I think that MANY times this is the truth; you are annoyed by the traits in others that you fear the most in yourself.  But people do not like to look into themselves for their uglies and we all have them.  So why expect many people to agree with this post?  I can see people shying away and shielding themselves from their uglies all the time.

    And in many cases, as in mine, it was all about who I USED to be (and who I still feel shame of).  S it can be about who you used to be, who you fear yourself to be, who you currently are, who you strive to be etc…

    This is striking a chord in particular because I bring in volunteers from around the world to work on my farm.  I had one girl from Spain who I wanted to just .. well, head-slap, quite honestly.  She was a typical pretty girl, onl child, spoiled, still living at home at 25, homesick all the time, a party girl, a dumb blonde, Barbie type, bar hopper, ergh… if she was the center of attention at all times, she was immeidately bored.  She felt no hesitancy about telling me that there were excersizes for my belly or that I should lose weight  or that her roomate here was fat. (Umm.. I dont need to, I work on a farm and am quite strong and fit and her roomate was a doll from Sweden who worked hard as well)  

    Anyhoo… just saying, it took me a while to realize that when I was her age I too was a pretty girl, dating 3 guys at the same time for whatever I could get out of them.  I knew they were with me for the same reason after all. I didnt care if I hurt people.  And it was all pretty much about me. Uglies all around.

    These are not traits I am proud of. Looking back it made me realize how far I have come/evolved/changed and also made me wonder if she will as well.  But it is not my job to oversee that in another person.  She will either open her heart and compassion to the world, or not.  She hurt my feelings, my ancient Mom,s and her roomate’s.  She charmed the contractor working here. She left without a look back.

    I wonder if I should have set her straight.  Looking back, people set me straight and it was a village effort Id say. But there is still that evil streak in me that grins at the lessons coming down the tube at her and that I feel like allowing her to take her licks without me involved.  Altho I did say one thing to her.

    She was complaining about the work here.  She and her roomate had washed feeders and pots in a bleach bath for 4 hours (not hard work, trust me)  I rolled my eyes and shook my head. She challenged me to come to Spain and live her life, where she goes to the gym 2-3 hours a day.  I looked at her, thought about slam dunking the verbal hell out of her and replied, “Yeah right, well, you might try working an 8 hours day on a farm sometime” smiled at her, got up and left.

    (which is another one of those traits Im not terribly fond of- slicing and dicing people up verbally when they piss me off.. but I give myself credit for not doing that the entire 6 weeks she was here.


    Anyway- she certainly rubbed me the wrong way and its because she is like a young me.  Eww..

    0 like

    • NinaAmir NinaAmir says

      Thank you. You are right. Sometimes the mirror is a difficult one to look into. You did a good job of looking anyway.

      0 like

    • Generic Image karrie says

      exactly …. I work in a office where this young woman was just like me as a young woman.  I couldn’t figure out why she was so damn annoying and the more she talked and walked and thought she was so flirtatious and finally I figured out I was looking at my self at that age.  She walked up to me and said something and all I could say was OH MY GOD.  she never talked to me again, which I really didn”t care.  but yes looking in a mirror is so traumatic sometimes.  and other people that annoy me I just stay the hell away from them.

      0 like

  6. Sabina Sabina says

    how about folks who irritate you, because they won’t stop talking about their Religion,  their political views, or people who are downright racist?  I find them very irritating, and I KNOW, I am not looking in a mirror. I am the total opposite of those poor ignorant fools.  Lousy drivers, careless shoppers, pushy people, loud ones, those who cannot stop using the “f” word in every sentence, or the peeps who need to say “like” in front of nearly every word.  The list could go on and on. It annoys me for a minute, and then I go on with my life. Nothing much we can do about those bad habits of others.  I annoy folks with my sarcasm at times or just by being a tad blunt.  So, deal with it.  We put up with a lot in life and we cannot get our pantyhose into a knot because of other people’s lousy behaviour.

    0 like

  7. Generic Image ritarcr says

    I am in agreement with this mirroring thing.  For me, it’s often a behavior or trait that I may fear having or I may whine about someone’s rants due to some insecurity.  I will add that age is a blessed teacher…the things that bothered me at 30 do not get me as exercised today at 50+.   It’s as though the stuff I thought was sooo important to prove is not so much so… The days I’m more content with myself are the days I’m less bugged by others’ behavior.  …BUT , in the workplace, when the annoying person is a boss, you just have to decide not to react to that…even  inwardly, emotionally.  Yes, lots easier said than done, but possible.  Great opinions shared here..thanks.


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