Trouble Me

People, in general, do not bother me. When I am feeling positive about this quality, I think of it as a sort of openness towards people. When I am feeling negative about this quality, I think of it as a sort of aloofness towards people. I like to think of myself as open. I don’t like to think of myself as aloof. I don’t know which one it is in reality, and I suspect maybe it’s a combination of both. Not sure. I’m not angry hardly ever at all, because I don’t tend to take things personally. If you’re acting like a jackass, most likely it’s your own stuff that’s got your knickers twisted up. Is that just a way for me to deflect responsibility for making other people mad? Maybe. I don’t know, because most of the time, people don’t get mad at me. Unless you count wackjob patrons of the library, and if you do, then believe me, that anger most certainly has nothing to do with me, and more likely has to do with the hatred people feel for the demon that is the photocopy machine. So maybe my not being bothered by people is a reciprocal result of not being bothersome to people. I don’t bother other people, so they don’t bother me. It all comes out even that way. Just a theory.

The point is, I am not bothered. I am not bothered by the fact that Britney and Lindsay forget to wear underwear sometimes, I am not bothered that Library Patron Marvin wants to yell at me about the CIA who are after his toenail clippings, I am not bothered by the comeback of legwarmers. I may have critical thoughts about these things, or feel a little sad about these things, or completely disagree with these things, but my blood pressure will not go up about them. An angry patron is not going to make me cry, as can happen with some librarians. It would never occur to me to cry about that. I work with all different types of people, I have friends who are a lot different from me in their views and beliefs, and although their differences may surprise me, or astound me, or even give me momentary flashes of frustration, within moments it all just rolls off my back. The more I think about this, the more I suspect that this could be a result of plain old laziness. Letting people get to me is just too much energy. Why not kick back and sip a Bacardi instead of getting all bothered by someone? No contest. Being mad or kicking back? What kind of idiot chooses being mad?

Ok, so what this is leading up to friends, is that I, Miss Unflappable, am officially bothered. There’s this person I know, and holy smokes does s/he bother me. Not only does s/he bother me, it bothers me that s/he bothers me so much. And I am kind of done typing s/he so let’s just pick a gender. He. He bothers me. To the point where I sometimes want to run away from him like he’s a house on fire. I am kind of thrown by this, as it is a feeling I am entirely unused to feeling. I don’t quite know what to do about it. Not to brag (ok maybe a little to brag but to also make a point too), but the empathy part of my brain can usually make me see everyone’s perspective. Not that I like or agree with everyone’s perspective, but I can see it, and accept it. Not this time. So what do I do? I can see that, overall, this person is a good person. There is nothing particularly revolting about him like he doesn’t kick puppies or shit on my doorstep or deny that gays exist in his country or anything like that. (Wow, did I just say shit on my doorstep? I’m sorry. I was just trying to think of revolting things that would merit my feelings and that’s what I came up with.) But if you made a list of every behavior that annoys me, he happens to have them all. And it’s not like he’s directly mean to me or anything like that, so it’s not like I am going to confront him. What would I say? You are annoying me just in your general you-ness, so could you please stop being you when I’m present? And it turns out that I have to be around him a lot, because other people that I know and like are around him a lot. So if I distance myself from him, I distance myself from them too. (An aside: it baffles me that no one else seems to be bothered by this person. Other people seem to like him just fine. In fact, someone who I love dearly just recently described him as “awesome.” I thought to myself: really? Awesome? Because I’d call it more like, oh, I don’t know, UNBEARABLE. Which makes me think more and more that this is all me. Which adds to my feeling bothered).

But you know what? I don’t want to distance myself from him. I would much rather do what I usually do in situations like this: Get Over It. I listen to my own frustration with this person and I am like Oh my GAWD, you are being ree-dikulous. It’s like a challenge to me now. I want to hang out around him even more. To find the humanity in this person. To listen to his voice. His loud, grating, talking-over-people, won’t-shut-up voice, and let it roll right over me, right through me.

So far, it’s not working.

Tell me, what do you do when you have to be around someone who bugs the shit out of you and you can’t really get away from them? I need help. I am completely inexperienced at being bothered and I have no skills at handling it. I am Bothered-Challenged.

I went this whole post using the word “bothered” like a million times, and never once tried to parlay it into a punny “hot and bothered” reference.

Oh what the heck.

Hott and bothered,
Librarian Girl

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12 comments

  1. I have em irritating specimens around me all the time. I’am bothered-pro,cause I used to get bothered about these specimens all the time until I got fed up. No point running away from them, because as you said, you’d be running away from many other people. So,just don’t be troubled about him when he’s around and just get on with it. If his face gets on your nerves, just look away. If his voice pisses you of, just walk away. 🙂

  2. My little sister Em works with a woman who Em described as “Dwight Schrute plus Wendy Pepper.” I advised compassion and Em told me a story about junior high and wailing to my mom about how much she hated her math teacher, and my mom said “We have to pray for our enemies” which made me laugh for like 20 minutes. I don’t really have any advice but I do have another story. When my illustrious grad school voice teacher was a young whippersnapper, her incredibly illustrious voice teacher once said to her “Get over your cheap self.” This is a thing I say to myself a lot when I think I have problems. I’m not advising. I’m just sayin.Plus, re being officially bothered, now you know what the rest of us feel like.

  3. Ooo, I sympathize with the talking-over-people habit being annoying. It’s just grating, particularly if the monologue is really inane so you don’t even hve the buffer of intelligent thought. I have no advice, but I’m wincing for you.

  4. I don’t have much advice. Most of the people who bother me are either family or sit 3 feet away from me at work. I haven’t figured out a way to trade in some of my family members for less bothersome people and I have to pay my bills so I just grin and bear it. Maybe when you’re around him you can mimic everything he does and make him and everyone else see how annoying he really is? I suppose not – they’d just become bothered by you. You’d be the annoying girl who mimics people.

  5. pretend that you’re listening by nodding and saying mmm-hmm in some appropriate places, that’s my trick anyway. There’s sadly a handful of people like that in my work and it’s the only way for me to deal cos inside my head I’m really yelling at them to “get away from me!”Sorry I can’t offer any better advice. There’s nothing worse than being ‘bovvered’ by someone :o(

  6. Is it possible to call him on some of his shit, like, when he talks over someone, point it out? You may not be able to fix everything about him that bothers you, but you might discover if his problems are geekiness and bad social skills or just pure bad character. A person with a good heart will try to change behavior that is rude once it has been pointed out to him, though he may have to be corrected several times before he gets it and old habits die hard. By contrast, a selfish person who only appears “awesome” and is only interested in appearing to be “awesome,” possibly because he doesn’t actually know the difference between appearing to be and being, will get defensive and try to turn the critism back onto the critic.

  7. I psychoanalyze the botherers. What are they trying to hide, to compensate for in their bothersomeness? What happened to them growing up that made them so unlikeable now? Find the humanity in their irritation. Then, you can either like them because of their weaknesses or exploit what you found.

  8. I have to admit that I try to avoid people who bother me when I can, but if that’s not possible then I tend to go into “overly nice” mode. It’s like if I allow myself to be me around them, I’m afraid what might come out of my mouth. So I’m just polite and say as little as possible. Then I call LG and tell her all about it.

  9. I don’t think you should blame yourself for finding this guy annoying and try to get over it. It’s just not going to happen. Once you pinpoint annoying behaviour in another human being, you just won’t stop noticing it. So here are some options:Be ManipulativeGather bad info about this person and use it to influence your friends against him so they won’t think he’s “awesome” anymore. (OK, it’s mean and you probably won’t do it, so….)Psychoanalyze himAs someone else already pointed out, try and figure out why he is bothersome. Most people I know who speak over people are horribly insecure and if I can just tell myself “He’s just horribly insecure because his father never loved him” I can somewhat find the person less annoying and just pity them instead.Stay away from himHigh blood pressure is a bitch. If you cannot stand this person, then really try not to be around him, even if it means missing out on some social functions. Life is short. Why let this jerk make any moment of your existence miserable?Love,The Girl Who Finds Everything Annoying

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