How to Get Along With an Irritating Person

Take a deep breath and pause before facing the source of your irritation.
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What annoys people often comes down to their unique personality traits, which affect how they respond to a specific trigger event. The thing that you find irritating is probably different from what your best friend, romantic partner or classmate finds irritating. It is important to recognize your triggers and learn how to handle annoyances and irritations as they crop up in life. Psychologists suggest that being able to handle your response to irritation is linked to a happier life in general.

1 Common Ground

As the saying goes, before criticizing, walk a mile in someone's shoes. Try to find common ground between you and the person irritating you. This can help close the you-versus-them gap and lessens how irritating you find this person. For example, try to find common hobbies, passions, values or goals that you share. Similarly, attempt to see yourself through the other person's eyes. This can help you recognize habits and traits that may annoy other people.

2 Their Good Side

When you experience irritation, it is easy to latch onto the other person's negative characteristics. Unfortunately, this creates a negative cycle. Psychology Today reports that the more you see something as irritating, the harder it is to turn your attention elsewhere. Try to see the positive, attractive characteristics in the other person. Write these down to review whenever this person gets on your nerves. Paying attention to someone's positive characteristics can reduce how annoying you find them. For example, if you hate your coworker's irritating habits, shift your perspective to how much you like his or her work ethic.

3 Hit Pause

Whether you get annoyed or irritated by a trigger event comes down to your appraisal of the situation, psychologists report. Before becoming irritated, hit the pause button. Take a deep breath to put space between you and the trigger event. Often, your brain will recognize, process and let go of negative emotions, allowing the moment to pass and letting you move on.

4 Talk It Out

The person irritating you may not know what he or she is doing wrong. If other methods of resolution fail, talk it out. Focus the conversation on the action or habit that irritates you. Use phrases that start with "I." Avoid using phrases that start with "You." Don't judge the other person's character. Stay focused on actions, situations and habits. For example, "I feel annoyed when our meetings start late," instead of, "You are lazy and always late to our meetings." This keeps the conversation constructive and helps you find a mutually agreeable solution without anyone feeling attacked.

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.