How Not To Be (or To Be) The A

This is going to sound harsh, but we all know it’s true deep down inside: There’s always that one or two (hopefully not more than three) annoying person(s) at work who no matter what they do, is always going to get you frazzled. So, with the New Year coming up, here’s a few pointers to help you deal with that special person or two, or if you are that special person—to lighten your load a bit.

Tip #1 Don’t Be The Tapper

Case in point: there’s always that guy in school who was going up to the teacher’s desk every minute (it seemed like) to sharpen his pencil to get a sheet of paper to get a Kleenex to blow his nose or to do something that was equally irritating. Any action that you repeat repeatedly and unnecessarily is going to annoy. Avoid repetition of any kind. Don’t tap your pen on your desk. We all know you’re thinking very hard, but you don’t need to show it and we certainly don’t need to hear it. Also, don’t make your pen a drumstick like you’re the drummer of Motley Crue. Dude, you’re not.

How to keep your cool against “the tapper” without resorting to physical violence: Meditate. Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures … He restores my soul.

Tip #2 Don’t Be The Loud Talker (L.T.)

You are literally standing one arm-length away from the L.T., but for some reason unbeknownst to you, L.T. is talking really, really loud. You want to gently tell this person to take it down a notch, to reduce the decibel volume to a respectable level, to simply chill back. And rightly so. Unless it’s because of some medical reason, there’s really no need for this. If people are leaning back as you talk to them, consider the following line of reasoning: why are they leaning back? Is the source of this action due to: (a) my breath, (b) the volume of my voice, or (c) because of excessive back pain? This reflective exercise will be to the benefit of everyone who comes into contact with you.

How to break it to the L.T. gently: read the story of Elijah to the L.T. found in 1 Kings 19:11-13: after the fire came a gentle whisper. If all else fails, go back to Psalm 23: He leads me beside quiet waters

Tip #3 Don’t Be The Guy Who Leaves The Toilet Clogged

And don’t be the guy who leaves the fax machine jammed or the printer without any paper. Basic rule of thumb here: If there’s a problem, don’t leave it for someone else to fix. If you are at the scene of the incident, you must take responsibility for it. It is your solemn duty. For example, you fax something but it doesn’t go through and the machine gets jammed. Do you: (a) slip out the back window and make a break for home, (b) take a really long lunch hoping by the time you get back it’ll be fixed, or (c) pretend it was like that when you got there and exclaim, “I can’t believe the person who used this last! He (or she) left it jammed!”

How to disarm “that guy”: Make a deal. Offer to fix the problem (i.e., unclog the toilet, un-jam the fax machine) in exchange for indentured servanthood for a day. Otherwise, threaten to rat him out and feed him to the authorities.

Tip #4 Don’t Be The Water Cooler’s Friend

Why is this potentially annoying? Because if you’re in an environment where you depend on others to work as a team, then the player who’s trying to establish a deep relationship with the water cooler is obviously trying to avoid doing the work. Don’t shirk on your work by being a slave to your thirst. Do your work. Be a team player. Don’t elope with a beverage-dispensing machine. And what annoys people most: Don’t make others do your work just because you’re trying to establish a relationship with the Water Cooler.

See Also

How to intervene in the Water Cooler relationship: Note how many times Water Cooler Lover is going to the bathroom (drinking lots of water = going to lots of bathroom) and casually bring up to the manager that you’re concerned about how many times this person is going to the bathroom. Say, “I don’t know about Bob. I’m a little concerned for his health. He goes to the bathroom X amount of times. I just hope he doesn’t have a worm, or (name a horrible sounding disease, like anthropolypolegicular testiculoriasis).”

Final Tip For All Annoyers or Annoyed People:

The solutions presented here are all obviously hypothetical and actually not recommended for real-life situations. In fact, don’t even follow them at all. If you did, then, I’m sorry to say it but that’d be annoying. And you wouldn’t want to be that kind of person that we’d have to write another “tip” for. The point is, take life in stride, learn the secret of being content in every situation and mediate, meditate, meditate on Psalm 23. Believe me, it’s a lifesaver.

[Charlie Sim used to be one of the annoying guys before getting engaged. He’s a teacher in N.J.]

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