People can be kind, generous, supportive, loving, engaging and just wonderful… but they can also be downright annoying.  We’ve all witnessed such behavior; the kind that rubs us the wrong way.  I’m referring here not to complicated relationship issues, family feuds, work place power plays but simply to observable everyday behaviors, some no doubt unintentional but trying nonetheless.  Everyone has their own lists but I expect there’ll be considerable overlap with the situations described below.

  • People who repeat the same story time and again.
  • Those who talk on their cell phones in elevators.
  • Those who cough and make no effort to cover their mouths.
  • People who keep talking thereby preventing you from entering the conversation.
  • Those who during a telephone conversation click off to take another call and don’t return for some time.
  • Airplane passengers in your row who sit next to the window and get up repeatedly and head to the bathroom.
  • People who engage in conversation with a bank teller or postal clerk while you’re waiting on line.
  • People who thank you for an invitation amidst individuals who were not invited.
  • People who put grocery items back on shelves where they don’t belong.
  • Individuals who employ “reply all” indiscriminately.
  • People who talk incessantly about their children and grandchildren.
  • People requesting a long list of items at the deli counter while you wait your turn.
  • Those ahead of you on a supermarket checkout line who have fistfuls of coupons to redeem.
  • Those people at a meeting who say little of substance but speak repeatedly “to hear themselves talk”.
  • A next door neighbor who shovels the snow on the sidewalk just up to his property line and not an inch further.
  • People who bring young children to an event where they simply don’t belong.
  • Shoppers in a clothing store who drop a garment on the floor and don’t bother to pick it up.
  • People who allow their dogs to bark and jump on you when you enter their home.
  • People who “unintentionally” splash you while you sit at poolside waiting to go in.
  • People who move much too slowly around the hors d’oeuvres table.
  • A person who touches you repeatedly while carrying on a conversation.
  • Someone whose handwriting you cannot decipher.
  • Someone who “will just be a moment” but makes you wait considerably longer.
  • Those conversing with you on the phone who start talking to someone in their presence.
  • Those who always complain about the weather.
  • Automobile passengers who warn you continually of hazards ahead and recommend alternatives routes, supposedly less congested.
  • Motorboat drivers who kick up a large wake as they speed past your rowboat.
  • People who must know you’re coming but nevertheless enter the elevator and push the button closing the door.
  • People sitting next to you in the theater who cough throughout the performance.
  • People who throw debris out car windows.
  • People in organizations who never volunteer to do anything.

Finally, “annoying” may not be a strong enough term for automobile drivers who:

  • Immediately honk their horns if you fail to accelerate the instant the light turns green.
  • Cut in front of a long line of cars whose drivers have waited patiently to exit.
  • Fail to dim their bright lights as they approach you on the road.
  • Fail to turn off their directional signal as they drive straight ahead.
  • Park over the line in a parking lot.
  • Double park on a narrow street.
  • While waiting to turn, don’t move far enough into the intersection so to allow you to pass around them.
  • Cross several lanes right in front of you in order to exit.

Western religious philosophers have long speculated over the essential nature of human beings – whether, e.g., born with sin or in the image of God, whether faultless or fundamentally fallible.  No conclusion, however, should be reached that does not also acknowledge the ever-present annoying and irritating tendencies of our species.

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