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How to deal with people who get on your nerves

Some people just have a natural talent for getting on our nerves. No matter what they say, they really get our hackles up. Others just irritate us occasionally, because of the exasperating patterns they keep repeating.

Woman on a video chat angrily talking and pointing at her phone

So, what can we do about it? A lot, actually. Here are a few tips to deal with irritating people or loved ones that tick us off every now and then.

Understand your irritation

Why are some people so annoying? What some psychologists define as “affective presence” is how one person tends to make others feel during an interaction. They suggest that this is a consistent and measurable part of this person’s personality.

You got it right: this “irritating” person might tick you off not just because of a specific action or behavior, but because of this elusive affective presence. That means it could be their body language or tone of voice that affects your mood.

Ask yourself what bothers you about them. Is it something they said, or the way they said it? Are you interpreting their tone, their look? Knowing what the real problem is can help you get over it more easily.

Check yourself