How to Not Be Annoying

Most of the time, an annoying person doesn't realize how his or her behavior is perceived by others. If you suspect that your behavior is annoying to others, then you need to learn to avoid the little things that often get on people's nerves. If it bothers you, it probably bothers others around you. You should remember, though, that the people who love you will do so anyway so don't change yourself - just improve your attitude and habits so you can avoid causing discomfort to those around you.


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    Build self-confidence. Sometimes someone will find you annoying because you happen to do something that they associate with a negative trait, such as anxiety, stereotypes, or slovenliness. You shouldn't have to change something about yourself just because someone interprets your behavior inaccurately. But other times, we can be annoying because we're insecure or we're trying too hard. In such cases, you can examine why you do certain things and perhaps realize that the only reason you're doing them is to make a good impression, and it's backfiring on you!
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    Break counter productive habits. Let's say you've found that you laugh loudly at everyone's jokes, even if they're not all that funny, or perhaps you've gotten in the habit of laughing at inappropriate times. Maybe you started doing it because you thought being loud may get you noticed, but now all it's doing is annoying everyone you spend time with. Try a different approach - be genuine and be yourself. If people find you annoying when you're being true to yourself, then you need to find new, more accepting people to be around.
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    Respect boundaries. Everybody has boundaries - you need to learn what they are and try to avoid crossing them. Boundaries vary widely from culture to culture and even from individual to individual.
    • Do not go around poking people constantly. In fact, don't touch them at all if they don't like it. Of course if they are a good friend of yours and they don't mind, then by all means have fun. Otherwise, keep your hands to yourself.
    • Don't talk about people behind their backs; especially if you have not stated your issue with the person in the first place. This is especially true of those who are related to you, or are your friends or significant other.
    • Do not impose, or appear uninvited. Try to control your emotions and not be too pushy. Give people space when they need it. Don't call every single day. Remember, the greatest form of annoyance is repetition.
    • Do not go through people's stuff. Even if their things are not private, they may still feel violated if you touch things that are in their personal space. If you wish to borrow something, ask for permission first and allow the person to give the item to you.
    • Mind your own business. Avoid butting into a conversation by (for example) saying, "What are you talking about?" If you hear someone talking about something with another person, and you only catch the last sentence, leave it be.
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    Be humble. Just because you're confident doesn't mean you have to act like you're better than anyone else. Don't do or say things that might let you appear to be arrogant, like bragging about your wealth or success.
    • Don't correct bad grammar/spelling or inaccuracies of others because most people don't like being corrected.
    • Don't tell people that their beliefs are wrong. Gently and nicely mention that you disagree. Have a clear moral line and stand by it. For instance, all is fair until you cause harm to another person. Yours may vary, but try to make sure it's used across the board.
    • Don't complain all the time. Remember the world does not revolve around you. If you complain too much, others will find you depressing and avoid you. This also goes for constantly insulting yourself, which is not humble - it's another form of self-absorption. It's normal to feel bad once in a while, and to express your discontent. But, you also need to know when to get over it and move on. Read up on how to be optimistic.
    • Be mindful of how the things you say are perceived by others. Even if your words are thoughtful and important, your tone of voice may indicate frustration, crankiness, or a condescending attitude, or flippancy or arrogance or any number of things which give folks the wrong impression and causes them to hate your guts.
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    Learn to listen. Conversation is a two way street. If you're talking constantly, others will get frustrated and quit trying to communicate with you. As a general rule, always listen more than you speak. Think about what you say before you say it. Avoid interrupting someone in the middle of a thought, even if it just jogged your memory of something to say. Remember the famous quotation, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt".
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    Be conscious of your surroundings. Be aware if you are standing in doorways while having a conversation, standing in the middle of an area where people are trying to walk (in stores, malls, or the airport), or if your children are being obnoxious in a public place. Also, do not loudly sing or play music which others are likely to find irritating. Consider how your actions are likely to affect the people around you, and you will gain their respect.
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    Be polite and hygienic. Don't peek down people's shirts for instance, don't pass gas, don’t talk about biological functions in public. Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow when you sneeze or cough. Take care to brush and/or floss after meals so as not to inflict your breath on others. Take a shower every day and put on clean clothes every day.
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    Learn to read facial reactions and body movements. Pay attention to the facial expressions and body language of those around you and work to immediately identify and stop whatever you're doing that is annoying others.
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    Don't overcrowd. When someone's having a bad day, don't try to hang around them to make them feel better (unless of course they ask). If you were having a bad day, you wouldn't want someone bugging you with failing attempts at pick-me-ups. Ask if they would like your reassurance, but remember that "no" means "no". Only talk about what is bugging them if they bring it up.
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    Avoid unnecessary repetition. Constantly repeating the same action over and over again (such as making inappropriate sounds or pulling someone's hair, etc.), isn't the right way of 'getting attention'. If a person says 'stop', that means 'stop'. If you continue without stopping, you might lose a friend.
    • Don't copy people. If you copy someone they just get annoyed and walk away. You shouldn't copy your friends either because you could risk losing them.
    • Say it once. Don't say the thing you said twice because they would say, "I heard you" or "Okay" or something like that. It can get annoying to them. They heard it already; they don't want to hear it again.
    • Don't make repetitive noises. If you find yourself tapping your pencil on the table, chewing ice with your mouth open, tapping your foot against something, clearing your throat excessively, coughing, please stop.
    • Don't argue. Most people dislike arguing. Simply state that you disagree and refrain from setting yourself up as an expert on the subject. A "know-it-all" stance grates on peoples' nerves. Of course, you can have intelligent debates/discussions with a person/people provided the circumstances are appropriate and the other person is willing to engage. Never force someone into a debate. If someone tells you that they would rather not discuss a topic, drop it.
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    Don't make assumptions. When you assume you know why someone else does something without bothering to find out the real reasons, you're saying that you have access to secret knowledge or insights that no human being actually has. In other words, you're being arrogant and judgmental. Try to observe behaviors and, if necessary, ask the person about them in a non-confrontational way: "I've noticed that you move around a lot when you're sitting. Is there a reason you do that?". Accept the answer without questioning it to the person. If the answer they give is, "Yes, I have ADHD and I try to control it as much as I can, but sometimes I can't," then don't give them a skeptical look, or say, "Whatever" in a dismissive way. No one made you their judge, or their doctor, for that matter.
    • Don't give advice unless you share the same problem and can really empathize. "Well, have you tried Ritalin for that?" would be a truly annoying thing to say to the person with ADHD. Even worse would be, "Maybe you just need to try harder to control that." Or "My second cousin had that, but he stood on his head every other Tuesday for a year while inhaling blueberries though a straw, and now he's completely cured."


  • Don't try too hard to be someone's friend that doesn't appreciate you.
  • Try not to be loud and obnoxious. Just stay calm.
  • One thing that many people find annoying is if you cling onto them and don't ever leave their side. Surround yourself with friends so that you can spend time with many people, and not be perceived clinging to one person, which is annoying. Give them some space and don't hang around 24/7.
  • Don't know if you are annoying? Ask a person you trust and would find likely to give an honest and constructive answer. Be prepared for criticism and be willing to accept criticism and accept it gracefully. The person may not be ready to give it all immediately, so give them time by explaining your situation, thoughts, and feelings to make it clear you can handle helpful criticism.
  • Control your tone. Don't yell or scream at someone or try to talk over them as loudly as you can. Listen to the person then say something afterwards.
  • If the thing that's annoying people is important to you, like a religious belief or a political opinion, don't abandon it just to fit in. Don't deny what you think or feel, but choose an appropriate forum. If you are Christian you could make friends with like-minded, go to church, christian activities and so on so that you can live out your faith.
  • Remind friends and lovers that they can call you on your errors. Encourage others you know to say: "Leave me alone" or "Stop being clingy" or "I love you, but freaking chill". Talk about issues before they become issues!
  • If your friends and family are removing themselves from you, it's possible you need to work on your social skills and personal boundaries with a professional counselor or in a group. Creating appropriate boundaries is greatly affected by early experiences which we can't control. Coming to terms with these experiences may help give you the security you need to create and respect proper boundaries.
  • Don't be argumentative, (you might be perceived as arrogant), it doesn't mean that you lack personality.
  • The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done to you.
  • When someone is trying to correct you and they say their accomplishment of doing it right or if it looks easy, don't say something like "cool" or "Good to know," they will start to get annoyed immediately.
  • Know yourself. There is common sense in all of us.
  • Use reflection. Say you got a person upset and you didn't understand why. Think back. Ask yourself, "What did I say/do? Did I miss some cues? Has this happened more than once? Is it something that annoys people in general?" There is no easy way to tell if behavior is right or wrong since right behavior can offend some people as much as wrong behavior can offend a lot of people. If something you say or do is generally offending tone that down and if something you say or do it offending to a certain person tone it down or avoid it around that specific person.
  • Don't talk when someone else is talking.
  • Being patient is a good way to not be annoying. Patience is not only a virtue but is viewed as attractive by other people. If someone annoys you, patience is a perfect way for you overlook the matter rather than being mean and therefore annoying in turn.
  • Don't point out little mistakes that other people make when you want them to succeed in something.
  • If someone has told you not to do something once, don't do it again.
  • Don't act weird around people to try to be popular. Just be yourself and if they don't like you for who you are then they're not your friends.
  • Be mature and don't make annoying sounds--it wears on people really easy.
  • Start small and work through the steps over time. Stopping all at once will be impossible.
  • Don't be fake, it's really annoying to some people.
  • The Bubble Rule: Make sure that you give other people their personal space and don't be touchable all the time.
  • The people in your life that have some type of brain disorder or something they are born with doesn't mean they are annoying. Give them some time and don't assume that they are going to be annoying just because of this.


  • If you like someone, and that person thinks you're annoying, try to become friends first, and no flirting until you two know each other well. Talk to the person online or in person, you'll be surprised at how much you'll find out about each other.
  • Everyone is annoying at times, and some people are too quick to criticize. Some people are just annoyed far too easily.
  • Don't be too quick to confront or too arrogant about it if a friend says you are annoying. Learn to be humble.
  • Some people who have ADHD, ADD, or autism may seem annoying, but it is simply the way that their brain is programmed. While some with these improve their social skills slightly over time, it is impossible for others. Don't criticize them or make fun of them; be a friend and show that you care.

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