Recognize that the people who you find annoying often have constraints that you don’t know and may never know.

December 31, 2023

A friend of mine stopped answering her texts. She didn’t even respond when I asked her about a loved one’s urgent medical issue. I was unhappy with her. I thought she didn’t care about me anymore.

A few weeks later, I came to know that she had closed herself from the world because she was diagnosed with advanced cancer. I felt small at judging her.

Another situation. A close loved one is very sensitive to critique, even when he clearly is wrong and has messed up. Nevertheless, he loves to point out my slightest mistake. This used to annoy me to the core until I realized that he had a very adverse childhood, and probably his behavior is his subconscious effort to protect his self-worth.

I am sure you have a few such annoying people in your life.

Here is what I suggest. It may help to consider that most people you find annoying have one or more constraints. And they may feel too vulnerable to share their constraints with you.

When you assume that others are stuck in a difficult situation and are not intentionally trying to be difficult, you become kind to them and yourself.

Today, think of a few good reasons why someone annoying may be justified from within his perspective. If you can’t think of a good cause, then assume that such a reason exists. When you connect with that person, use compassion before judgment. It will help you nurture a better relationship with the world and the self.


Excerpted from the book, That Makes Sense: Resilience-insights to lift your day.

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