Obnoxious things people do
November 14, 2008 12:30 PM   Subscribe

What are some obnoxious things people do in social situations that they don't realize others notice?

People often view introverts as lacking social skills, but I find it's just as common for outgoing people with strong conversational skills to display low social intelligence. Often, these are things they do either consciously or subconsciously, without realizing that they come across as obnoxious or self-centered.

For example:
- Someone asks you a question in the hopes you will ask them the same question back (so they can give an impressive answer).
- In a group, someone makes an obscure reference to intentionally go over people's heads and appear educated or culturally refined.

What are some other examples? I'm not talking about blatantly obnoxious behavior like interrupting others or bragging nonstop; I'm looking for more subtle mistakes that even otherwise likeable people can sometimes make.
posted by wireless to Human Relations (78 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This is seeming like Chatfilter: Kvetch Edition. There's a metatalk thread, fwiw. -- cortex

standing in doorways and on flights of stairs

not exactly what you were asking for, but people do it and it drives me crazy.
posted by billtron at 12:35 PM on November 14, 2008 [5 favorites]

Complaining about something that's clearly positive/meant to impress others ("All these guys get crushes on me--it's so annoying!").
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:35 PM on November 14, 2008 [4 favorites]

Talking on and on about something without noticing that others are incredibly bored. My ex-brother-in-law did this constantly when talking about his work.
posted by giraffe at 12:38 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Confusing lack of experience with lack of intelligence.

ie, "lol noobz!"
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hating or finding something to complain about anything and everything. And not in an awesome curmugeonly Don Rickles way.

Complaining about the same thing repeatedly but never doing anything to alter the situation.
posted by spec80 at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2008

This might be a little too nuanced (i.e., overinterpreting on my part), but I dislike it when CLEARLY successful people self-deprecate when they and everyone else knows it isn't true. Example: Super fast guys in my running group that are all, "Oh, I'm not fast; that last marathon was 2:40," and you're like, gag. Another: my wealthy, wealthy CEO saying he can't afford for his wife to keep shopping like that, har har! Maybe this is just me.

PhoBWanKenobi is so right with that example.
posted by Punctual at 12:42 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

Complaining about something that's clearly positive/meant to impress others ("All these guys get crushes on me--it's so annoying!"). a.k.a. Back-door bragging.

Often times I will instantly verbally reinterpret what someone has said to me. I always think of it as trying to identify with what they are saying. I have been told it appears condescending to other people.

billtron: that drives me crazy, too.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 12:46 PM on November 14, 2008

On a similar note to Punctual, I hate when people find anyway to drop into the conversation that they went to an Ivy League.
posted by whoaali at 12:47 PM on November 14, 2008

Trying to finish someone else's thought, when you really don't know where that person is going with their thought.
posted by pdb at 12:48 PM on November 14, 2008 [4 favorites]

Being doggedly, passionately argumentative on a trivial topic.

I was at a party once where I was describing my lovable mutt of a dog and some of her hyperactive behavior. The shelter where we adopted her from pointed out that she'd always been like that, and the breeds that she has in her cause her to be very energetic.

The person I talked to immediately interrupted me and asked me how old the dog was.

"Two," I said.

"Oh, well she's just still a puppy," the person blurted, over my words.

"Sure, but from what I hear of these breeds-"

"She's just a puppy! She'll grow out of it. She won't be like that forever."

"A friend of mine has a similar mix of breeds that's a teenager and it-"

"No no no, it's still just a puppy. It'll grow out of it. It's only two. You shouldn't expect your dog not to have a lot of energy if it's still a puppy."

Cue poorly-camouflaged eyeroll and well-timed escape.
posted by burnfirewalls at 12:48 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

CLEARLY successful people self-deprecate when they and everyone else knows it isn't true

Same thing when normal-sized women complain about being fat. ESPECIALLY when they are around people who clearly weigh more than they do.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:49 PM on November 14, 2008 [9 favorites]

Repeating something they said because they thought it was funny and that no one heard them the first time they said it.

I don't know if that counts, but I find it incredibly obnoxious.
posted by Dreamcast at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2008 [4 favorites]

Asking leading "questions" that only they can answer. "Well, you know what's ironic about that, don't you?" (No, but I'm sure you're about to tell me...sigh.)
posted by junkbox at 12:53 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

And once again similar to Punctual people who claim to be poor when you both know unequivocally that they make at least 4 times as much as you do.

Then again, I realize that my annoyances with other people are probably a lot more reflective of my current insecurities than anything else....
posted by whoaali at 12:53 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I sympathize but also think some of that is just people expressing ordinary concerns, and we're seeing it from our grass-is-greener perspective.

(Fast runner not wanting to get mentally complacent; CEO genuinely concerned about wife's shopping sprees; thin woman actually believing she's fat)
posted by naju at 12:55 PM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

Telling the same long boring story over and over again at various times, and not taking a hint when people signal that they've heard it before.

Really, telling long boring stories in general.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

PIckin' yer nose. YOu will *always* get caught.
posted by notsnot at 12:57 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

From the opposite perspective, it bugs me when introspective, supposedly shy people sit there with a disgusted look on their face while everyone else has a silly conversation. Hey Stanley, you do realize we can see you right? If a subject or opinion bothers you, contribute.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:58 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

The mirror image of what Dreamcast said is something that drives me insane.
You say something funny, and only one person hears it, and repeats it themselves and everyone thinks it's a really entertaining comment. There should be a law.
posted by Iteki at 12:59 PM on November 14, 2008 [13 favorites]

My big one is when people tell me over and over how busy they are at work, as though I don't see them standing around talking with others socially all day. Makes me crazy!

On another note, did I mention I graduated from UPENN?
posted by genefinder at 1:00 PM on November 14, 2008

Mentioning others that you don't know as if you should.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:00 PM on November 14, 2008

I hate name droppers. "You know how I am friends with the drummer so we got to go backstage and..." or "So the other day I was talking to Jessica (Simpson)..."

Also when people accidentally or purposefully cut people out of a circle or conversation. My close friend does this to new people accidentally all the time.
posted by rmless at 1:01 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

If a certain food is served, someone talks about the time they had "the real" version of it in the exotic locale it originates from. Also, if they go on needlessly about what store in the city makes the most authentic version.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:03 PM on November 14, 2008 [4 favorites]

Asking a question but not waiting to hear the ans...oh, and interrupting!
posted by iamkimiam at 1:04 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

Constantly referring to their reality without taking the conversation's shifts into account.

Asserting how "picky" or "choosy" or "special" they are without recognising what that seems to say about their opinion of people who have a different situation.

Picking ONE element of their entire identity and bludgeoning people with it.

Always turning or focusing the conversation to themselves, no matter how inappropriate.

And bunches (!!!) of those above. So many I'm now going to favourite this question so that I can refer to it whenever my teeth begin to grind from encountering this stuff.
posted by batmonkey at 1:07 PM on November 14, 2008

Along the lines of what others have said, dropping little 'clues' that are meant to get you to ask them about some impressive thing they're obviously dying to tell you:

"Oh, we had a chair like that when I was in training at Quantico!"
"Man, I'm wiped out after yesterday..."
posted by mattholomew at 1:13 PM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

Opposite of what Potomac Avenue said: When people think quiet people are bored or angry and say "SMILE!" or some other such nonsense when, really, that's just the way we look normally. Sucks to be born with a naturally down-turned mouth.
posted by faunafrailty at 1:13 PM on November 14, 2008 [20 favorites]

Texting on cell phones while walking down sidewalks, stairs, in the grocery store, in any kind of line, in your car, in a classroom, etc.
Basically, texting anytime when you should be paying attention to what you're doing.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:14 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

Similar to burnfirewalls, the Interrupter. This person always thinks they're right about everything and your opinion means crap because this person is SO much more experienced and knowledgeable than you are even though you were merely expressing your opinion about how you like xyz better than abc. This person will then lecture you for a 15 to 30 minutes and every time you try to say something he/she will cut you off. This is even worse when you actually both agree on something... but this person was too excited about being able to argue that he/she didnt realize you were both making the same point. Trying to tell them this will be an exercise in frustration..cause they're still gonna want to argue and tell you how you're 'wrong'.
posted by guniang at 1:15 PM on November 14, 2008

I had* a friend who would toss her credit card (or cash) on the counter to pay for something rather than hand it to the clerk. More rude than flat out obnoxious.

*key word
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 1:17 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

Complaining about work.

I always feel like we both have their job but only one of us is getting paid.
posted by jon_kill at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2008 [8 favorites]

Quoting obscure pop culture that other people aren't likely to recognize. Also, constantly quoting pop culture instead of actually contributing to the conversation.

Boasting about not having a TV.

Correcting pronunciations of foreign words and terms.

Dismissing a topic of conversation just because you can't participate, or talking for the sake of talking even though you can't add anything (like everyone in the circle talking happily about sports, and you add "Haw haw, I can't even tell which guy on the rink is the quarterback!")
posted by cadge at 1:20 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

People who decide they want to talk about something they like, and gosh darn it if everyone else isn't interested. Even worse, they try to bring it up through obscure jokes or dangling comments. Afterward they glance around the awkward silence with this eager look as if waiting for someone to take the bait.

I mean, if you want to talk about something, why not just say "Hey, have you ever heard of [x]? I like it a lot, and think you would, too!"
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:20 PM on November 14, 2008

Response by poster: I thought of another example: when someone on the bus is having a conversation with one other person, but says something impressive about him or herself in a loud voice to wow people within earshot, like, "By the way, did I mention I got into Stanford Law School?"
posted by wireless at 1:20 PM on November 14, 2008

Assumption is the mother of embarrassment.

My dear mother, bless her, once complimented our optician on her pregnancy. She wasn't pregnant, she'd just put on weight, our whole family had to find a new optician as my mortified mother couldn't ever look her in the eye again.

Hell, reading these lists, I've committed most of these errors at some point in my life. Luckily, I've developed better social skills (I hope).
posted by arcticseal at 1:23 PM on November 14, 2008

"Hell, reading these lists, I've committed most of these errors at some point in my life. Luckily, I've developed better social skills (I hope)."

...yeah, that'd be the other reason for me to favourite the question: "What am I doing that's driving other people insane?!?"
posted by batmonkey at 1:28 PM on November 14, 2008

Tescting is a real pet peeve of mine now. People will just pull out their phones and text away. They do it in their cars. They do it when you're talking to them. They do it at the movies. And I know some of these obsessive texters, and they are not communicating anything important.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:29 PM on November 14, 2008

I tried an experiment with an interrupter once: I let them finish their sentence and then let a few seconds pass. As soon as I started to respond, they interrupted, at which point I stopped talking and let a few more seconds pass before I continued, at which point they immediately cut me off again.

Try it with your favorite interrupter sometimes. You'll see that they don't so much lack the proper timing to have a conversation but instead seem to have an ingrained fear of being proven wrong or hearing something they disagree with. I also imagine they have a general disdain for hearing something they DO agree with because it means they didn't say it first.

I can't count the number of times I've stopped a conversation by saying, "I haven't been able to get to the end of my last three sentences so I'm not going to talk anymore." And guess what? Then I'm the rude one.
posted by jon_kill at 1:32 PM on November 14, 2008 [15 favorites]

Prying questions.

Some people don't get the hint when you answer with a short one-word answer that it means to freakin' drop the subject already....

Me, putting on my coat, and grabbing my keys, around noon...
Coworker: You going out for lunch?
Coworker: Oh? where you going?
Me: I have an appointment.
Coworker: Oh? are you sick?
Me: No.
Coworker: Then where are you going?

we will then continue playing twenty questions ...

Until eventually I eventually end up shouting at the top of my lungs:
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:32 PM on November 14, 2008 [16 favorites]

Just from school experience:

- Answering a question by stating the obvious.

- Rambling answers which go no where, answer nothing, and suck all the air out of the room.

And more general:

- People who argue their point from personal anecdote.

- Basing all conversational references on television shows and movies.

- Using the word "anal" to describe things and behavior not relating to the anus.

- A specific type of interruption from people who are unwilling or incapable of listening to a nuanced, non-sound bite answer or narrative. Closely related to and overlaps with people who don't listen well. Always strikes me as a bit ADD.

- Answering a question with a question. Q: "Hey, have you seen a screw driver around here anywhere?" A: "Why do you need a screwdriver?"

- Swearing in public or in mixed company.

- Stopping and talking in the door, stairway, or some other high-traffic area is super annoying.
posted by wfrgms at 1:35 PM on November 14, 2008

People who argue their point from personal anecdote.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:41 PM on November 14, 2008

Oooh! I've got another one!

Calling any personal negotiation not involving fisticuffs or a lawyer "passive aggressive".
posted by batmonkey at 1:42 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Now that I think about it more, and related to the topic of interrupters, I really have a problem with people who don't believe that in a conversation one person might choose to say more than one sentence at a time.

You find yourself basically having to say, "Okay, the next thing I am going to say will be four sentences long. The first sentence might surprise you. The second and third provide context and issues of circumstance that serve to illuminate the first sentence. And the fourth is meant to tie it all together in such a way that we might consider how the basic premise could be applied to other situations we find ourselves in. Is everbody ready?"

After all that you invariably find yourself buried under a mountain of scorn and incredulity from someone who not seconds ago tacitly agreed to remain silent until you could mount your defense.

Maybe that is why online forums like this can often be pretty illuminating.
posted by jon_kill at 1:44 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

triggerfinger - You've hit on one of my pet peeves. There's a particular social ritual I think of as the Circle of Girl-Hate that really bothers me. This is where each woman in a group takes a turn lamenting the size of some part of her body. One or more of the other women in the group responds with the expected "Oh What-EVER!" assures the speaker that she's fabulous, and then says something negative about her own body.

I suppose this might fall under the umbrella of "fishing for compliments" or "fishing for empathy."
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 1:44 PM on November 14, 2008

Making themselves, and their wackjob ideas the centre of all conversation.

It is time to discuss Addable Time.

My boyfriend and I were out with a friend of ours (lovely girl, really, but can be a bit much at times) and we decided to hit an unrelated friend's birthday party. This ties into another horrible social thing that I am myself guilty of - bringing people to other folks' social events without asking beforehand.

Anyway, so we get to this party, and she starts going on and on about this concept of hers called Addable Time. The idea being when you perform any calculations on the time, to produce equal numbers on both sides of the colon.

For example, right now it's 4:40 by my clock. That's addable time. 4:41 would be too, because you can multiply 1 and 4, and get 4, so that's 4 and 4, addable, motherfucking time.

She went on about this for almost an hour. Driving everyone nuts, and drilling the words Addable Time into our heads like railroad spikes. Every minute, she'd get all excited about whether it was addable time or not. We got really mad and told her to shut up, but she just kept explaining the concept of addable time. Over and Over and over again. This happened months ago, and this is the first time I've been able to think about it without getting a headache.

This has been a repeating issue with this girl, I won't even get into how she ruined another friend's going away to deal with the death of her father gathering by holding court for hours about how David Sedaris didn't find her charming.

Seriously, lovely girl, but quite oblivious or uncaring when people are irritated with her.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:48 PM on November 14, 2008 [12 favorites]

Ok, so I didn't post that until 4:48, but 4:48 is addable time too! 4:49 is not.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:49 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

* Walking onto an elevator, or through a door when someone else is trying to get out. Let everyone out before you go in, damnit!
* Calling someone you know and hanging up, then when you get a callback, saying you just dialed the person's number by mistake, or "pocket called" them. Once in awhile is OK. But my sister does this to me all the time and I want to kill her. If you never want to talk to me... JUST DELETE MY NUMBER
* Having a "private" conversation in a public place... loudly. Bonus points for getting irritated at people listening in. Really, it's like being ear-raped.
* Chewing loudly. Can you not take smaller bites?
* Cursing, or semi-cursing (like ass or butt or something) in an environment where it's acceptable and then saying "pardon my French." This isn't Romper Room, Miss Nancy isn't going to scowl at you. We're all adults here so stop it.
* Saying, "no?" At the end of every sentence.
* Mispronouncing foreign names or words, or using them incorrectly.
* Being the loud, crying girl (or boy) at EVERY party.
* Having more to drink than you know you should, every time, and then commenting on it/using it as an excuse for your dumbass behavior.
* Foisting your dietary, moral, whatevers on other people. For example, "You know, you shouldn't drink Starbucks... they're not free trade." or "How can you listen to [musical artist]? They hate [ethnicity/nationality] people."
posted by tinatiga at 1:50 PM on November 14, 2008

It's not really obnoxious but I have a friend who repeats, over and over and over, the same stories, opinions, etc. She's a smart woman in her own way, but it's insanely agravating. Our conversational subjects are pretty much centered around 8-9 topics that she constantly dwells on. I understand that topics are important to certain people, and I tend to talk about the same things, but it drives me crazy because she says the same things about the same topics, over and over again. Like, word for word.
posted by sully75 at 1:52 PM on November 14, 2008

I was on a corporate board with a guy who (a) was somewhat hard of hearing and (b) got easily bored with long, dry, but necessary recitations or discussions. During such, he would always start rattling the keys and change in his pocket. I could never figure out whether he was intentionally trying to disrupt, or just couldn't hear the the frequencies of the jangling. Since he owned 25% of the operation, nobody wanted to tell him to cut it out.
posted by beagle at 1:53 PM on November 14, 2008

Another totally obnoxious thing that drives me effing insane is listening to pathetic older men hitting on younger women, who clearly aren't interested. It makes me feel really sad.

And ok this one is probably controversial. But I really can't imagine anything more obnoxious than listening to people talking about their tattoos and body piercings. This is purely my opinion, but I see the tattoo thing as a generally attention seeking thing. Then to talk about it as something really important, is kind of like, hey, give me some attention so I can talk about my attention seeking thing.
posted by sully75 at 1:55 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Constructing one's conversation in such a way as to demand that the listener answer a pointless rhetorical question:

He: You know why they have the best defense in the league, right?
Me: *pauses to hear this magnificent gem of football wisdom*
He: Right? Huh?
Me: What?
He: The best defense? Why they're the best? You know, right?
Me: *pauses*
He: Well?
Me: Well, what?
He: Why they have the best defense! You KNOW, right?
Me: *beats him to death with his own leg*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:59 PM on November 14, 2008 [5 favorites]

The converse of finishing someone else's sentence bugs me, too. That is, instead of just asking "what page are we on?," phrasing it as a sentence to be completed by the other person: "We're on page...?"
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:03 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

On the flip side of Sully, people who happen to see a mostly hidden tattoo and then want to ask a trillion questions about it as if they had a right to all of sudden become super intrusive when "OMG I have a tattoo too!".
posted by stormygrey at 2:04 PM on November 14, 2008

Sitting outside, having a conversation with someone who then, in the middle of your sentence, leans over and hawks a loogie onto the concrete. I can never remember what it was I was saying, and am always amazed that spitting on the ground, where we can then both watch it glisten and bubble in the sun, isn't considered major social no-no. It's basically the same thing as a farmer's blow, in my opinion.

Also, do people who text message during a movie, in stadium-seating movie theaters not realize that EVERYONE in the theater sitting behind them can see that bright whitish-blue glare, and it's really distracting? At least keep it in your lap and shield the screen with your hand, if you must do it.
posted by np312 at 2:04 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I hate when people find out you are something that they dislike and then decide you are the personal representative for that entire group and sit and unload all their grievances on you.

Personal experiences, being a lawyer and also when I lived in the UK, couldn't open my mouth without hear how much America sucks, I didn't vote for Bush, I promise and maybe the next time your in jail you'll have a lot more respect for lawyers... oh and don't call me...
posted by whoaali at 2:05 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

People who try to have involved conversations with you and demand all your attention when you have a screaming/crying child.

They tend to then give you bad advice about the child.
posted by sondrialiac at 2:06 PM on November 14, 2008

I do all of these things.
posted by anoirmarie at 2:08 PM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

Similar to what Giraffe said, I have a co-worker who frequently discusses inappropriate or semi-inappropriate things at work and she has no response at all to anyone's awkward, uncomfortable silences or averted gazes. She went on at length once about how her son was conceived on her husband's birthday, so you know what his birthday present was WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE. Upon a later telling she actually revealed that he was conceived in front of a fireplace. Everyone in the room was dead silent and looking at the floor. She just babbled on, oblivious.
posted by peep at 2:08 PM on November 14, 2008

People who can't take "no" as an answer:

Them: Would you like some shrimp/to dance/to go shopping?
Me: No thank you.
Them: Oh, you just HAVE to, they're delicious/it's fun/there's a sale!
Me: No, really, no thank you.
Them: I can't believe you won't!

Drives me nuts.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:11 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh! sondrialiac reminded me with this: People who try to have involved conversations with you and demand all your attention when you have a screaming/crying child.

Conversely, parents who ignore their children to have a conversation with you and you can't hear them for all the "mommy! mommy!" (or "daddy! daddy!") going on. I have no problem if they stop for a minute, tend to their child and then continue without the yelling of the child for their attention. They might be deaf to it, but I'm not.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:14 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've been actively avoiding one of my floormates for weeks now who has a tendency to bring up ALL of her TMI anecdotes (blisters, ingrown nails, pimples and acne treatments, birth control, cysts, etc.) in conversation. At meal times. In public. Loudly. She'll also have people over and start trimming her fingernails while we sit around having a conversation. I don't actually think she's noticed how grossed out people actually are. Of all the things to talk about, why am I hearing about your blister again goshdarnit?

Oh, and she's also a story repeater like sully75's friend. Save me.
posted by betafilter at 2:15 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm tall. Yes, I know. I really do know that yes, I'm tall, quite tall, actually. Yup, really tall, have been for some time. "Wow, you're tall" doesn't convey any useful information to me, believe it or not. In fact, it sorta makes me feel objectified, as does "How tall are you," and any variation thereof.

And, yeah, I've heard "How's the weather up there?" a few times in my life already, so it's not going to make me laugh, or make me think you're clever for saying it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:19 PM on November 14, 2008 [6 favorites]

People who talk unnecessarily. I find that much conversation is redundant, and can be replaced with nods, shrugs, or gestures.
posted by orthogonality at 2:20 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

After reading through all of these, I think the #1 obnoxious thing that people do is engaging in any one of these things after they have been politely told numerous times how obnoxious it is by their friends. It's one thing to be obnoxious occasionally. It happens.

Also: obnoxious reinforcers who have similar tics and form small obnoxo-cliques to (inadvertently) assassinate/dissolve other groups who are chatting. It is a rare conversation indeed that can re-group, close the line and stay on topic. Usually in pairs of co-dependent obnoxious people, who then get married and have like a million obnoxious children and a single pleasant, wonderful child who is thoroughly ignored by their family.
posted by burnfirewalls at 2:25 PM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

"I almost called her back but then I thought, 'You know, hey, I don't have to put up with that kind of crap."

"HELLO! It's called showing up on time!"

Also people that use "guess what" before making their point in a sentence.
posted by Kloryne at 2:26 PM on November 14, 2008

I finally thought of one. I truly hate this:

A) "Have you ever seen (some movie or television show)"
B) "No."
A) "OHMYGAWD!!!! YOU'VE NEVER SEEN (movie or television show)?!"
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:29 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ask questions just to get people to agree with them about things that are, like, totally obnoxious, right, when they could be solving problems.

But hey, I likes to chat too—One of the annoying things that I just saw at a recent meet-up was one guy trying to trap another guy in a music discussion. They're both involved in Classical, and one of them kept trying to get the other to elucidate more about what (and who) he liked just so he could disagree and one-up him. It just came across as weirdly insecure, like he couldn't fathom that someone else could be as informed as he was and simply not think he was right.

Generally, that's the fastest way to get on my nerves—to one-up everything, or to assume that just because you have an opinion, that alone makes your opinion worth sharing. Very rarely do I care whether or not you like something nearly as much as I'm interested in why you like something.
posted by klangklangston at 2:32 PM on November 14, 2008

In the spirit of "subtle mistakes normal people can make that are obnoxious": people who have a nervous giggle or laugh after everything they say. I do not understand it and it drives me mad. Do they know they do this?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:35 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

When I'm out w/ a friend, we run into someone they know and they don't introduce me.
Jokey putdowns or insincere flattery "Oh, look, you got one of those little artsy bracelets; too cute on you"
The friend who blithely brags about her kids' accomplishments after I tell a tale of woe about my troubled child.
posted by theora55 at 2:36 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

People who clip their nails in public should be exiled to a small island.

(Dear co-worker...a shared office is a PUBLIC PLACE. Your cube is not the Fortress of Solitude.)
posted by JoanArkham at 2:36 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

People who think that just because THEY love their dog, the whole world ought also to love said dog, even if said dog is stinky and ill-mannered. And don't even get me started on people who bring their dogs along without your permission when they are visiting, or let their dogs run around unleashed in public.

And to enlarge on Billtron's annoyance with doorway- and stair-blockers: People who block escalators and walk slowly, two or three abreast, down sidewalks, jamming up foot traffic. This annoys me no end.

Appending "ya know what I'm sayin'?" onto the end of every sentence. Especially when used as an inane finish to a sentence: "I like mangoes, ya know what I'm sayin'?" "I'm bored, ya know what I'm sayin'?"
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:37 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wow, Dr-Baa, I was literally just typing that but decided I didn't want to write a laundry list of complaints. I can't stand that OMG YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THIS MOVIE? thing
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:37 PM on November 14, 2008

People who stand reallyreallyclose to the person they're talking to. They're just . . . all up in your fries. You back up a half-step, they advance a half-step. They mean well. They're very nice, but they are All. Up. In. Your. Fries.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 2:43 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Failing to enlarge a circle of people to include new folk standing on the periphery.

Following around any new member that happens to be of the gender you're attracted to. (My experience with this generally relates to guys in male-dominated groups that glom on to any female who shows up, but I'm sure other combinations could happen)

Being unaware of others' financial situations.

People who insist on asking about your job when you just want a break.

(I've definitely done the "make references people don't get" thing-- but not because I *meant* to disclude people, mostly because I thought they would get it. I'm probably not the only one.)
posted by nat at 2:46 PM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

People who have to address the party about how *special* they are.

Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! I'm so different that you must notice me and treat me differently, rather than them eloquently working it into the conversation should the need arise.

I'm vegetarian

I'm gay

Acts like a Diva

I rotate tires for a living

posted by captainsohler at 2:47 PM on November 14, 2008

Snapping your fingers at someone when they should pay attention. I'm not a dog.
posted by ALongDecember at 2:48 PM on November 14, 2008

I'm tall. Yes, I know. I really do know that yes, I'm tall, quite tall, actually. Yup, really tall, have been for some time. "Wow, you're tall" doesn't convey any useful information to me, believe it or not. In fact, it sorta makes me feel objectified, as does "How tall are you," and any variation thereof.

MrMoonPie: I'm short and small framed, and I hate it when people say to me, "Wow, you're little!" "You sure are short!" "You're so wee!" (actual comment) Why no - I had NO IDEA I'm a small woman - it's news to me!

I think it's incredibly rude to remark on someone's height/weight/red-headedness as a conversational gambit (as opposed to something like, "What are some great stores for petite women?" which is a legitimate quest for information). People know they are tall or short or fat or red-haired or whatever. There are other conversational openers in the world.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:53 PM on November 14, 2008

Oh, and on the tattoo thing...here is my Rule For Asking About Tattoos: think before you ask, would I ask the same thing about a nice piece of jewelry? Would I ask to touch it? Would I ask how much it cost?
posted by JoanArkham at 2:55 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

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