Dear Dr. Debra,
I know God wants us to get along and love each
other. Then why did he make people who annoy us and make us mad?
It’s hard to love people who annoy us. This is a question I
should know the answer to, but I don’t.
A Puzzled Teenager
Dear Puzzled Teenager,
I don't know the answer, either, but I can give
you some speculations. First of all, I'll tell you that it's easy to
love people who are good to us. But I don't think we are meant to
live effortless lives here on Earth. I've heard our planet described
as "Earth School" where we come to learn, grow, and be of service to
others. Often, to stretch to become better individuals, we need to
be challenged. And you'll have to agree annoying people are
definitely a challenge!
to think about... Many times we become annoyed with someone because
there's something about them that we don't like in ourselves. Or
perhaps we have done something that causes the other person to act
out and do things to bother us. I always tell people to search
within themselves for their own contribution to an annoying
People who are difficult are often hurting and
unhappy. They’re in need of our love and prayers. In fact, praying
for them helps change your attitude toward them.
When I become annoyed with someone, I try to tell
myself that I don’t know what he or she is going through, so I need
to be patient. Even more, I smile and use an understanding tone when
I talk to them. If this is a service person, then I make sure I
thank him or her for anything that’s been done for me. Who knows,
your kindness might be the highlight of his or her day.
You might not change the annoying person or
situation. But you can change your response, and that can be the
most important thing of all.
A difficult person teaches you patience. The times
I’ve felt annoyed with someone, it's taken work on my part to not
act on my aggravation. I know I need to hold onto the angry words I
want to snap out. If I let loose with my frustration, I'll only make
things worse. Plus, I'll feel guilty or bad about myself and will
owe the other an apology.
Therefore, I try to take a deep breath and reach
inside for patience. Then I give my response in an even tone of
voice. Calm words won’t count if the tone sounds sharp. Or, I might
choose to say nothing at all. Each time I manage to handle the
person in a healthy manner, I feel good about myself, and my
Another other way to handle annoying people is to
calmly point out specifically what they’re doing that’s so
frustrating. “You’re such a jerk,” is not a helpful thing to say.
Sometimes, people don’t know they’re annoying, and, if they find out
what they are doing that’s aggravating to you, they’re willing to
If they’re not willing to change, avoid them as
much as possible and keep on praying.
Feel free to
write me with your questions.
Debra Holland, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist
who specializes in relationships and communication techniques.
To read previous 'Ask Dr. Debra' articles, please
where Dr. Debra is a regular contributor, or
click here to view
the archives. Dr. Debra Holland is also a regular
contributor to the
Noodle Posse Blog.
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