Five Ways to Deal With Annoyance


Mark Householder offers five strategies for dealing with people who bug or annoy you.

I have come to the conviction that I let too many things go. It's things that bug me, irritate me or annoy me. Since I have been a conflict-avoidance person, I let that stuff go and do not risk the possibility of conflict.  I do not have to tell you that is not a great leadership or relationship strategy.

I have just finished reading Crucial Confrontations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler. Never mind that it was an assigned book as a part of my year-long leadership coaching program.

The title drew me in; the content of the book kept me engaged.

Here is one thing that I learned...

What do you do when another person's behavior bugs you?  You are bothered or annoyed with something that is done to you, a teammate or another friend. How do you respond?  The authors give four responses (I have added a fifth):

1.  Carping. This means that you chose not to resolve the issue, but rather complain, whine and moan about the situation. If you communicate at all, you bring others into your misery and share the cancer with them. To my discredit, I can think of far too many instances where this was my strategy in dealing with an interpersonal issue.

2.  Confronting. This is the best option. In fact, the whole book Crucial Confrontations is devoted to this response. I highly recommend the book. The authors walk through a process for confronting that will give you confidence and hope in dealing with the things that bug and annoy you.

3.  Coping. In coping, you have done your best to confront and resolve the problem, but the issue remains unresolved. You choose to hang in there, deciding that the issue is not worth losing the relationship, and you then adapt as much as possible. You continue to believe the best in the offending party and find positive, affirming support in others. You are not going to sit around and carp over the situation.

4.  Cutting out. In cutting out, you have done your best to confront, but you chose to leave the relationship and perhaps a role or a job. You have measured your options and you make the decision to move on. Let me add one more that is personal to me.

5.  Suffering in silence. This will break the alliteration of the first four, but it is the choice to suffer in silence. You clam up, isolate, go silent and turn inward.  Suffering is the result. And that is a choice you make. This has been my default pattern, and this is my great opportunity for growth, development and greater relational and leadership effectiveness.

What is your response to the things that bug and annoy you?

What has it cost you if you have responded with carping or suffering in silence?


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