Why do we find people annoying?
February 21, 2007 10:03 PM Subscribe
I've heard it said that the reason we don't like certain people is because they display certain traits in OURSELVES that we don't like. Do you find this to be true? Where does this theory come from?
posted by goseethesphinx to Human Relations (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
A friend of mine told me that no matter how different an annoying person might be from me, deep down the reason I don't like him/her is because they remind me of a part of myself that I don't like.
This is difficult to think about because: a) it forces me to compare myself to people I don't like, which with all my pride is painful... and b) usually I dislike people for many reasons, not just one. However, it seems that while some people are universally annoying, others who bother me don't seem to rub everyone the wrong way. Why is that?
My friend would explain it this way: everyone subconsciously dislikes different aspects of themselves. It's only when another person embodies those aspects that we begin to dislike them or find them annoying. Naturally this leads to everyone getting along with a given person with varying degrees of ease. For example, if I have never struggled with my weight, I may not find a person's frequent talking about calories super annoying. (I may not like it, or it may be boring, but it won't make my skin crawl.) However someone else may find such behaviour VERY annoying -- because they have their own conscious or subconscious insecurity about their weight.
Where does this theory come from? In your experience, is it true?