furious photoIf I made a list of the things that annoy me, I could be writing for days and days.  Well, maybe not days, but I’m certain that this post would be way longer than a three minute read. Do you feel the same way?

I’ve been wondering whether I need some hypnosis, or behavioral modification, or simply earplugs. I’ve also been wondering whether it’s my age or my attitude. Why do so many things annoy me?  In a search for the answer, I googled “why do so many things annoy me?”  And there were more than 35 million results!  More than 35 million!!!  I guess I’m in good company.

We are all annoyed by different things — sounds, smells, and behavior appear on my list.  Even the word “annoyance” can be defined in different terms.  Stanford psychologist James Gross says, “From my perspective, annoyance is mild anger.”  Others synonyms include frustration, aversion, irritation, exasperation, and vexation.  When I’m annoyed, I can feel anywhere from mildly irritated to downright furious.

One annoyance that is fairly universal relates to cell phone conversations.  Whether at the gym, in the grocery store, or at a coffee shop, I think overhearing someone else’s cell phone conversation is annoying because I cannot seem to tune it out.  Researchers think it’s annoying because we’re only hearing half of the conversation — either questions with no answers or answers to unheard questions.  I don’t think that’s what specifically bothers me.  I think of it more as an invasion of my personal space.  And the speaker phone conversation (or video playing) in a public place is even worse to me.

I’m also annoyed by smells — most offensive to me are stinky perfumes, cigarette smoke, and diesel fuels.  Usually, I can walk away or breathe through my mouth until the smells have diffused.  Once, in a movie theater, I was unable to escape the pervasive and offensive perfume of the woman sitting in front of me.  It ruined the whole movie for me.

Since I’m the type of person who focuses more on the cure than the cause, I’d really like to know how to manage my own annoyances.  And don’t just tell me patience or meditation.  I already know those solutions.  Will somebody please help me think outside the box?

Here’s my nightmare:  waiting at an overly crowded airport gate for a flight that’s yet again been delayed, sitting in between a teenage gum-popper and a man wearing way too much cologne who’s intent on crunching every last cube of ice in his jumbo-sized soda cup, and behind me is a hard-of-hearing couple face-timing with their grandchild, all while I’m desperately trying to read a fairly technical essay on how brain functions affect conflict resolution.  HELP ME!!!

This started out as a blog, and has officially turned into a rant.  That being said, I now feel better about sharing my nightmare with you.  Would you be willing to help normalize my annoyances by sharing your own?  And if not, any solutions would be appreciated.