No matter how benevolent and patient we can be, some behavior just annoys us about other people – and they annoy us. And that’s why we don’t want to make these behaviors a habit.
Some people don’t like the way someone chews, some don’t like high-pitched voices, some get restless at a slow pace, and very, very many are forgiving of almost anything – especially their loved ones. Almost every person is sensitive to something others are doing, and so far this hasn’t resulted in us all hating each other or living in loneliness and isolation. In this respect we can be reassured: Even if we have something annoying about us or do it every now and then, we are quite okay the way we are, at least from the point of view of our fellow human beings. And yet . . . we don’t have to unduly try other people’s benevolence and patience.
Research has shown the following behaviors to be particularly difficult for many people to tolerate. If we show them every now and then, that’s certainly not a problem. However, if we make them a habit, we are probably not doing ourselves or those around us a great favor.
According to science: 5 behaviors that make you uncomfortable for others
1. False modesty boasting
When a person constantly brags and brags about something, it can be just as annoying as when someone constantly downplays their accomplishments and qualities. However, according to a 2017 study by the Harvard Business School, one type of self-expression seems to be particularly unpleasant: humblebragging, i.e. a combination of false modesty and boasting. Examples of humblebragging would include:
- “I don’t know why I get so many compliments, I’m just who I am.”
- “I don’t even earn that much, in my neighborhood we always toast with champagne.”
- “I don’t speak French that well. I’ve forgotten a lot since my semester abroad at the Sorbonne.”
According to the study, this type of boasting usually offends people even more than obvious boasting – hence: no false modesty!
Finding a healthy level of openness or discretion is not always easy. If we share too little, no one can identify with us, trust us or judge us. However, if we share too much, we not only make ourselves vulnerable – we can also offend other people. According to a study by the University of Illinois, many people feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed when we reveal more about ourselves in a certain context than they feel is appropriate. They experience it as crossing borders and feel compelled to react even though they don’t want to.
The basic rule that can be gleaned from the study is that we can hardly share too much with close relationships such as friends or partners. With people who are less familiar to us, or when we are getting to know each other, it is better to open up cautiously and only as far as the other person goes along with us.
Not only does interrupting other people’s conversations come across as rude and disrespectful, but it also makes the conversation tiring and uncomfortable for them. According to the psychologist, most people unconsciously perceive interruptions as a devaluation of their person and feel attacked and offended by it. So when it’s not burning hot on the tongue, we better learn to keep a thought in our head until the other person has finished talking. For his sake – and for us.
Everyone is allowed to be sad, angry, hopeless, disappointed or disillusioned. Always, unrestricted. However, we know from neurobiological studies that the feelings and moods that we radiate usually rub off on our environment. First and foremost, this is nice because it reflects the social bond we have with our fellow human beings. At the same time, however, it means that if we are constantly in a bad mood and see everything as black, people in our society will feel uncomfortable over time.
Occasional mood swings are natural and almost everyone can and will forgive them. If the low is permanent for us, it puts our environment to the test – but undoubtedly even more of us.
5. Self righteousness
Self-righteous behavior usually involves several uncomfortable traits such as ignorance, unreflectiveness, hubris, and prejudice—no wonder many people are sensitive to it. For example, if you say something like “How can you only watch reality shows? I would never waste my time with that” or “tipping less than 15 percent is impossible, I would never do it”, is setting yourself up as the measure of all people and rigorously devalues alternative views and circumstances.
Most people show signs of self-righteous behavior, since we all see the world mainly from our perspective and have to assume that the way we live is generally correct. But those who are at least somewhat interested in their fellow human beings and are willing to question themselves and their own views usually balance these approaches sufficiently.
Sources used: papers.ssrn.com: “Humblebragging: A Distinct – and Ineffective – Self-Presentation Strategy”, researchgate.net: “Taking turns: Reciprocal self-disclosure promotes liking in initial interactions”, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov : “Evidence for mirror systems in emotions”, psychologytoday.com, verywellmind.com, hackspirit.com