Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Do You Need New Ways To Be Annoying?

If you're annoying don't complain if you get swatted.

I’ve sometimes wondered if the person who is driving me crazy is only that way in a specific setting (the one I’m in at the time) or if he or she is always that way. Fortunately for my peace of mind, I don’t consider the idea that I might be annoying as well. Highly improbable!

My friend Jeff Adams wrote a post last month about annoying airplane travelers.  I could relate to all of his descriptions–especially the passengers who hold up everyone else while stuffing their over-sized bags into the overhead  bins. Then it’s slam, slam, SLAM, while they try to close the door.

My neighbor, Larry Homenick, has a list of annoyances he encounters at casinos. (I don’t go to those places, so I’m taking his word on these). They include the Button Pounder, the Slot Machine Expert, the Slot Machine Hog, the Over-Your-Shoulder Starer, and the Childishly Excited. (Oh my gosh. Oh my GOSH! OH MY GOSH!!!!!!! I won two dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Last week I was checking out at an Office Max and the guy in front of me was so preoccupied talking on his cell phone, he couldn’t respond to anything the sales clerk was asking–the sales clerk was visibly annoyed and so were those of us standing and waiting. We all have stories like that nowadays. They are as common as the annoyances of having someone scrolling through email while you’re teaching or conversing; talking on the phone loudly, as though others want to hear or won’t notice, or forwarding silly emails or urban legends to you and fifty others.

There are traffic annoyances; personal habits that are annoying; repetitious words and phrases that were charming, witty or interesting the first thousand times the person said them, but aren’t anymore; inside jargon; annoying children, annoying sounds (whistling, humming, snorting, etc.) and a myriad of other things. (And saying we should overlook those things is annoying too. It’s always easier to tell someone to ignore an annoyance than it is to ignore the thing that annoys you.)

More ways to be annoying: In case you don’t have enough ways to be annoying, I’ll give you an excerpt from the list you may have already seen. I haven’t found out the correct attribution–the source listed by some sites hasn’t proven to be correct. Very annoying!

  1. Learn Morse Code and have conversations with friends in public consisting entirely of “Beeeeep, Bip, Bip, Beep, Bip, Beeeep…”
  2. Specify that your drive-through order is “to go.”
  3. Sniffle incessantly. (Note: Or cough, pick your noise, scratch your arm, neck or face, etc.)
  4. Insist on keeping your windshield wipers running in all weather conditions to keep them “tuned up.”
  5. Reply to everything someone says with, “That’s what YOU think.”
  6. Follow a few paces behind someone spraying everything they touch with Lysol.
  7. Finish all your sentences with the words, “in accordance with prophecy.”
  9. Repeat everything someone says, in the form of a question. (Note: That’s why “active listening” techniques can be annoying.)
  10. Demand that everyone address you as “Conquistador”. (Note: I knew a guy who wanted me to call him Tarzan, but it might not be the same concept.)
  11. Stand over someones shoulder mumbling as they read. (Note: That’s still not as bad as standing behind a stranger and watching while they play a slot machine.)
  12. Deliberately hum songs that will remain lodged in co-worker’s minds. (Note: Like Mike O’Neill and Art Hutchison used to do to Gary Gosage with “Sh-boom, sh-boom. Ra-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta, sh-boom, sh-boom…”)

I saw a sign the other day that undoubtedly is appropriate for all of us:


Sh-boom, sh-boom. Ra-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta, sh-boom, sh-boom……

January 3rd, 2010 Posted by | Challenging and Problematic People, Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers | 18 comments


  1. Tina, I am always flattered when you mention me or link to my site. Today, though, I am very thankful that you confirmed that you do NOT frequent casinos. I had heard some ugly rumors and simply refused to believe them or comment. Now, I can testify that Tina Rowe is indeed a saint and would never be seen entering such a dubious place as a casino. Thank God!

    Comment by Jeff Adams | January 3, 2010

  2. Tina says: Pastor Jeff, thank you for believing in me when so many others do not. I’m going to start using you as a reference for everything!

    Comment by TLR | January 3, 2010

  3. GOOD ARTICLE! I have another annoyance for your list…Be sickeningly sweet to everyone and make sure you point out how saintly you are.

    I liked the one you mentioned in class about the person who said things with goofy foreign accents.

    I’m not annoying. I come right out and make people mad.

    Comment by wiseacre | January 4, 2010

  4. You missed the one we talked about the other day…the person at the casino who ruins the fun of winning by telling you how much you could have won if you had bet more. I always say the same thing back….”if you want to give me a few hundred dollars, I’ll be happy to bet to the max in your honor.” I hate it when people see what I’ve won then tell me how much it would have been otherwise!

    Here is another way to annoy people: As you walk by them or just anytime, stop or lean over or whatever and say, “Hmmmmmmmm” with a tone like you wonder what on earth they are doing. If they ask you what’s the matter, say, “On nothing. I’m sure you know exactly what you’re doing.” Then don’t explain any further.

    Comment by Max | January 4, 2010

  5. My comment on this one is that I liked the sign at the bottom. But it does seem that some people can get by with more than other people can. One of the most annoying and disruptive people I ever knew still was really popular with everyone and everyone just forgave him because he was known as a nut around work. Someone else only did something a couple of times and people turned against her immediately and complained. I never could see the fairness in that!

    Comment by Twisted | January 4, 2010

  6. Hello Tina! I was referred to your website by a friend who wanted me to see this article about annoyances. You have a very nice site. I especially like the posts I’ve read on being an effective supervisor or manager.

    I’m not easily annoyed because I tend to be oblivious to all that is going on around me. I’ve been told this is very annoying to others! What I discovered about myself was that I took pride in being focused on my own activities and I would enjoy seeming to “come out of the trance” of my work. I stopped that annoying habit when I was told it kept me from a committee membership I sought. I still become immersed in work but I don’t draw attention to it any longer.

    Since then I’ve noticed that pride and attention-seeking seem to be the source of many annoying actions.

    I wish you continued success!

    Comment by N.B. | January 4, 2010

  7. #1 Annoyance for me: Incessant talking, commentary, comments and noise. Can’t people just work without talking all the time?

    Comment by Joe S. | January 4, 2010

  8. Tina says: Thanks to all of you for commenting. There are many sources of irritation, aren’t there? I responded to each one of you by email. Now, stop bothering me! 🙂

    Comment by TLR | January 4, 2010

  9. It seems to me that people who are so self-absorbed or just so ignorant they bug everyone around them in one situation, do it other times too. If someone does something that gets on people’s nerves at work or anywhere else, nearly always there is more than one thing they do that bothers people, because they just don’t care.

    Comment by Annoyed | January 5, 2010

  10. Tina, a lot of older people develop irritating habits, and unfortunately if you live in a retirement community like I do you’re surrounded by those people. Try being in a committee meeting where one guy is sucking his teeth, a woman is clacking hers, another person is rubbing his hands together, another person is tapping the table, and another one says, “mmmhmmm” under her breath constantly.

    I don’t know why this happens with older age, but I pray to God someone will tell me if I start that. It doesn’t have to happen and the main thing to do is to monitor yourself and take to heart when someone lets you know about it.

    This was a cute article though and I got a kick out of the casino annoyances. Another casino one for me is going with others (like we do where I live) and having someone latch onto you who really just wants to sit and socialize not play. None of these things are earthshaking, but they can sure get on your nerves! Keep moving!

    Comment by Al M. | January 5, 2010

  11. I don’t want to sound sickeningly sweet as one commenter mentioned! However, I think some of the comments sound like people who get annoyed easily! There are many physical and mental reasons for the things people do and they can’t always stop them just by monitoring themselves. I think we all need more patience and compassion and less irritation over little things.

    Comment by J.J. | January 5, 2010

  12. Your friend’s list was a good one and I took heart that a minister of his status gets as irritated as the rest of us!I travel four days a week on average and have seen all the air traveler annoyances. What gets me is that there are still people who act like they had no idea there were restrictions for carry-on. Among the worst ones are people with children who think having a child is reason enough to ease up on rules about going through security with juice, food, lotions, etc. They seem to think the TSA folks have time to evaluate every traveler and decide if something is OK or not. I wish there were flights solely for commuters.
    Happy New Year, in spite of annoyances!

    Comment by R.O. | January 5, 2010

  13. Greetings, Tina! Repeated annoying and irritating actions are the subject of 90% of my relationship counseling. The small things that create squabbles may not immediately result in divorces but they can leave a relationship vulnerable and result in its eventual breakdown. At the very least it prevents both people from attaining true satisfaction and joy from the relationship.

    I find that to be true about marriages, families, business relationships and within friendships.

    There is much more to say about that than can be said here but I wanted to provide that perspective. I think your light-hearted post touched a nerve with people, but in a good way, not annoyingly!

    Regards, Paul

    Comment by Paul U. | January 5, 2010

  14. It’s worse when the person who does the annoying things is your Captain. I can’t mention them here in case he reads this, but they are so obvious we end up making marks on our papers for every time he does them or says them. He’ll be gone on vacation and we never have to deal with it, then he’ll walk in the door and within ten seconds he’s baaaaaaack. He’s smart so I don’t know why he doesn’t stop and think about how often he says and does exactly the same things over and over and over and over, etc.

    Off topic: My wife got our daughters a subscription to Highlights because of your article. You ought to get a commission. LOL

    Comment by Not A Donut Fan | January 6, 2010

  15. I used to scratch my head when I was thinking. I never realized how obvious it was or how annoying until a friend at work told me to please stop that before she screamed. I knew I was doing it, I just didn’t think about what other people saw when I did it. My one other annoying thing was that I said a particular phrase a lot. A couple of people had hinted about it but I liked saying it I guess! I got dinged on that in a promotional interview and I never said it again.

    This post made the rounds here and we all had things to vent about!

    Comment by P.A.H. | January 6, 2010

  16. Tina says: I love the comments! I also received several emails about this topic and enjoyed those.

    I agree that some behaviors are not purposeful and may be caused by underlying medical or mental problems. It’s also a valid thought that each of us should be alert for the things we do or say that can interfere with others or disturb them, and if we can control ourselves we should do it.

    Be aware and be considerate. That concept alone could make us all less bothersome to others!

    Comment by TLR | January 6, 2010

  17. Sh-boom sh-boom isn’t as bad as having someone sing, “It’s A Small World Afterall.”

    Comment by JBC | January 6, 2010

  18. Tina says:

    JBC: That was cruel.

    Comment by TLR | January 7, 2010

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