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What to Do When a Stranger Annoys You

Intentions vs action

When dealing with someone annoying, the way forward is not with silence or rage. We are ideally looking for a way to be polite and honest, or civil and forthright.

To achieve this, we should accept that not everything we desire will please others. We could explore and hold on to what we want nevertheless. At the same time, we should distinguish between what someone does and what they meant to do.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

What to Do When a Stranger Annoys You

What to Do When a Stranger Annoys You

https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/what-to-do-when-a-stranger-annoys-you/

theschooloflife.com

4

Key Ideas

How we manage our indignation

We may sometimes be in situations where a stranger will do something very irritating or discomforting: They may turn up their music too loudly. They may assign us to a hotel room where the air conditioning will have a high pitched whine. In a restaurant, a fly may be floating in the soup.

Our upbringing and cultural traditions may cause us to say nothing and to overlook our agony. But inwardly, we may twitch and surprise ourselves with a sudden outburst of rage, sometimes in a completely unrelated place.

Intentions vs action

When dealing with someone annoying, the way forward is not with silence or rage. We are ideally looking for a way to be polite and honest, or civil and forthright.

To achieve this, we should accept that not everything we desire will please others. We could explore and hold on to what we want nevertheless. At the same time, we should distinguish between what someone does and what they meant to do.

Our idea of a motive

We're seldom very good at perceiving someone's motives when an incident drives us mad. We see intention where there was none and escalate a situation when the agitated response is not warranted.

The less we like ourselves, the more we may appear in our own eyes as plausible targets for mockery and harm. The ideal complaint emerges when we remove the paranoid assumption.

The ideal complaint

The actual words don't matter. What counts is the lightness of tone that comes from an impression of the legitimacy or our position. For example:

  • I love this song as well, but at the moment, I need to get some sleep (when someone is playing their music loudly near you)
  • I know it's not your fault, but a fly does seem to have entangled itself in the minestrone (when you're in a restaurant and you found something inappropriate in your food)

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