News and Tribune

April 13, 2013

DODD: Hello, are you annoying?

Local columnist

“Marriage allows you to annoy that one special person for the rest of your life” — Anonymous

I cannot in any adequate way know how to define exactly what is annoying about some people or why I occasionally find someone annoying. It’s just one of those “I know what it is when I see it” types of things in life.

I know that I suffer annoying people better than most as I seem to enjoy a wide variety of people in life. As I have expressed before in this column, I don’t think anyone can be a writer without being observant and attempting to have a wide variety of people interacting in your life. Even with that said, there are people I really don’t want to be around that have come and gone in my life.

Through a lifetime of field research, I certainly can attest to the fact that annoying people are not specific to any one race, ethnicity, religion, socio-demographic or specific to any other category in which people can be placed or separated into for comparative study.

I cannot even specify any one trait in people that I find annoys me. I know people as dumb as a rock or even illiterate with whom I have shared wonderful experiences in life; often by pure chance. I also have known many brilliant and successful people whom I literally had to get away from before I felt the urge to shout out loud just how annoying they were to me.

I think we have all been in some social interaction where we were trapped with a person whom we found almost unbearable. Think of sitting beside someone on a plane flight or at a company seminar that made you want to parachute out of the plane or simply just announce your retirement right on the spot.

The second worst is if you work along side an annoying person every single day for years. The absolute worst is a family or an in-law with whom you might get to spend every holiday or reunion.

Sometimes we all have to simply grin and bear it in life.

I bet at some point you met someone and knew from that first time they opened their irritating big mouth and something hit a nerve instantaneously. You couldn’t pinpoint it but all you kept thinking was what an annoying human specimen they were. You were all the time nodding and smiling yet inside your head the voices kept going off and wanting so badly to escape through the mouth right out into the open conversation.

The desire to do that is simply human. The self restraint to avoid it is referred to as being civilized.

I once was told by a traveling companion during a group discussion that I tended to be too open in conversation and shared too much. He told me, “There are inside thoughts and there are outside thoughts. That was an inside thought.”

I have gotten a lot better at holding “inside thoughts” in over the years. I am far from perfect. There’s a fine line between being open and honest and blurting out inside thoughts. I still upon occasion cross it on purpose.

Did you ever meet somebody and after just a short time they wanted to be your friend but you couldn’t stand to be in their company?

There have been rare times where I first met someone and thought I didn’t like them only to eventually form a friendship.

Did you ever get introduced to someone and simply just didn’t like the way they looked? I don’t mean how they were dressed or their hairstyle, I mean they just simply had some physical feature that just didn’t appeal to you visually?

I guess it’s the polar opposite to love at first sight.

When I was younger on one occasion, I distinctly remember I went out on an evening-long date to include dinner and entertainment where I knew on the drive less than a mile away from their house I was almost repulsed by her presence, yet we had plans for the whole night’s date. I bet almost anyone who didn’t marry their kindergarten sweetheart has had that nightmare date.

I guess the real question for me now was did any girl I ever went out with feel that way about me while I was putting all of my time, effort and money to impress her? If you were that girl and want to confess, feel free to let me know now. After all these years I could probably almost laugh at how pitiful I must have been. On reconsideration, perhaps that should just be an inside thought.

Somehow for me in the modern social media age, I don’t even have to physically ever meet someone to find them annoying. Facebook is plum full of annoying people.

I have found that those whom I find most annoying tend to feel some need to share their annoying posts on a daily (and often hourly) basis. Kim likens some people as sharing way too much of their personal life. It’s like what people used to write in a daily journal or diary. They were never meant to be shared with the world.

I have never tried cyber dating, but I’ll bet if I did enough I would eventually have to intentionally try to make someone on the other end of my keyboard not like me. I feel pretty competent in my ability to write something annoying. Now that’s an opening for all of my critics if I ever typed one.

— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at