How to Deal with Annoying People, Chapter 2

What Annoys Us About Others

  • Misunderstandings are one of the main reasons we have trouble getting along with annoying people in our lives.
  • Which is more important: one’s actions, or the motives behind the actions?
    • Some say the motives are the important thing – what the person intended to do
    • Others say you can never discern one’s motives – you only have the actions to interpret
    • The author agrees with the latter
    • Others perceive you only through your words and actions – they cannot know your motives
    • The book will focus on actions, not motives
  • Viewpoint is the problem of conflict. We assume others will understand our viewpoint. But people are often unaware of others’ viewpoints.
  • Conflict can occur when we wrongly assume others’ motives
  • We tend to move quickly from casual observation of behavior to interpretation and judgement of others’ motives
  • Subjective responses (labelling and judging motives)┬áto behavior lead to conflict
  • Objective responses lead to cohesive relationships
  • Behavior includes what we say as well as our body language
  • Whole meaning communicated:
    • Body language (facial expressons, arm and body movement, body position) 55%
    • Tone of voice 38%
    • Actual words 7%
  • As we learn to pay attention to others’ behavior, we become more sensitive to how our own behavior affects others. We should be motivated to improve how we affect others.

The big point is that it is helpful to objectively label people’s behavior (“She is busy”) and unhelpful to subjectively label (“She is working through coffee break to impress the boss” or “Work is more important to her than taking coffee breaks”).


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