Thursday, April 05, 2007

Magnifying mirrors

I've had this hunch for a while about people that really get on my nerves. The hunch is that the people that irritate me are the people in whom I see my bad qualities qualities reflected or, more often, magnified.

I wasn't sure about it but a few weeks ago the wife and I sat down and talked about all of the people that annoy each of us (both of us are pretty chill, if I may so say so myself, so the list was quite short - but both of us have a few people that drive us up the wall). We realized that, in each case, the thing that gets on our nerves about the person is some trait that we both are very conscious of in ourselves and try to change or improve.

So all of a sudden getting irritated by someone has a silver lining - it's just a little reminder about the things that we need to work harder on improving about ourselves.

I'm curious - have you found the same to be true in your experience?

Update: The wife claims that she came up with the idea long ago and I have just misappropriated it from her. The wife is always right.


Kush said...

i think what it boils down to for me is that i get most annoyed with people who lack respect for others or are self-centered in their thoughts, actions, or conversations.

i've noticed bad qualities in others that i know i have as well, but i usually just use that as an opportunity to make a mental note to remind myself to work on something.

Kireet said...

I agree with Kush but more generally I think it is people who knowingly ignore/devalue principles you believe in.

Like for me, I get really annoyed when people don't chip in enough money after dinner. It usually is only a couple bucks this way or that way but to me it shows a lack of appreciation/respect of your fellow diner and can create an uncomfortable situation.

But on the other hand, if I was a crook, I would get really annoyed at someone who wouldn't steal on principle.

Nate said...

I get annoyed by people who talk too much, but I've never been able to decide if that describes me, too.

I don't think ignoring a principle can be lumped in with devaluing it, especially if it's not a principle you share.