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Seven Habits of Highly Annoying People (H. A. P.)

I’m not quite sure if it’s the full moon or too much time on the road (perhaps a little of both) that has made me especially sensitive to certain peoples’ habits these last few weeks. I joke about the “rule breakers” of society in my presentations, but it seems like they were out in force this week as if to test me. Have you seen any H.A.P. recently?

1. Public Grooming

While walking through the airport, I heard a pinging noise. My ears perked up as I recognized the offensive sound of nail clippers. As if out of a scene in a horror movie, I turn to see a woman with her knee hiked up under her chin, CLIPPING HER TOE NAILS in the middle of Concourse C, Gate 27 seating area. *shutter*

Whether brushing their hair, flossing their teeth or plucking their chin hairs, these self-groomers don’t miss an opportunity to do things in public that most of us only do in the privacy of our own bathrooms!

2. The “One-Upper”

No matter what you say, they have a similar story or an even better story to share with you. “Oh you think that is embarrassing? Well, let me tell you….” When they are done, I always want to whip out my story about the time I wore my lavaliere microphone to the bathroom during a seminar. Even though that embarrassing story trumps most, I try to let the one-upper bask in the glory and just empathize with them about their event.

Can’t anyone just enjoy a story without having to have the last word? I know… sometimes it’s all about bonding…you share your story and then I share mine. But if you do this all the time, most likely you’re part of the H.A.P. scene.

3. Taking Calls / Checking E-mail When Someone is Talking to You

I’m sure these people are great at multi-tasking, but it sure makes you feel like a non-priority when this happens. Everyone is wearing a sign that says, “Make me look good and make me feel important.” When people whip out their PDAs, they are wearing a sign that says, “I’m working on something more important than you.”

4. Letting Your Kids Run Wild

Hey, I have little ones and understand how difficult it can be sometimes, but dang people, control your kids in public! At the Post Office recently, a man let his young children use the Automated Postal Machine as a toy. They were punching and pushing buttons over and over until the screen said Out of Order. I kept looking at the kids, then glaring at the dad while thinking of all the things I could say that would be a learning moment for the kids and a light bulb moment for the Dad, without offending him of course. Nothing good was going to come out of my mouth, so I stood there like a raging mute while the dad continued to calmly look around without a care in the world. If you can’t control them now, look out for their teenage years and pity the public who has to deal with the fallout.

5. Clueless Driving

Make your car a no cell phone zone (Oprah-ism) and pay attention! Most of us are on auto pilot as it is, so we don’t need something else to take our minds off of the driving task at hand. There are far too many driving violations to even list, but here are a few of my personal faves: use your turn signal; if you are not going faster than me in the left lane, move over; and if someone let’s you merge, please give that kind person the “thank you” wave.

Recently, I pulled up to a strip mall and parked. I opened the door, gathering myself and trying to gather my kids. Out of the back, I notice a woman sitting in her car waiting to park next to us. Down the line, there were 8 other OPEN parking spots! Did she really have to use the one next to the crazed mom trying to get it together? We all could use the extra steps on our pedometers. Hmmm…maybe you don’t always need the closest parking spot.

6. Being Unaware of Your Surroundings

I would say, you know who you are – but obviously you don’t. Loud cell phone talkers, non-deciders who stand at the bottom of the escalator, not sure which way to go, those who leave their shopping carts in the middle of the grocery store aisle and those in the express line with far too many items. There are other people in the world, notice them and act with consideration.

7. Whining

While waiting to stand by on a flight, I was hanging out at the counter, people watching. This was a very interesting scene because the gate agent was one tough cookie and she was making sure everyone’s bag fit easily into the “bag sizer” which is a form (approximately 22″x14″x9″) that your bag must fit into easily if you plan to carry it on your flight rather than check it. As a frequent traveler, let me tell you that 90% of carry on bags do not fit in the “sizer,” but are able to fit in the overhead compartment (with some extra shoving- a-hem).

Well, all these well-appointed business travelers were in shock over having to check their oversized bags. Every one of them either whined about “traveling every week and never checking once” or whipped out a gold status card to prove the point. They were frustrated (as I would be) but felt that arguing with the gate agent would change her mind. Wrong. It didn’t work for the first 20 people to board, why would it work for you? Yeah, it wasn’t really fair, but life isn’t always fair. Put on your big boy boxers or big girl bloomers and get on with it. It is what it is and you don’t always get your way. Join the mission to Stop Global Whining. There is a lot of tragedy in the world – waiting for your suitcase at baggage claim doesn’t qualify.

They Know Not What They Do

Here’s the real deal. Most Highly Annoying People and their Habits are not out to annoy you. They are just annoying. Most people know not what they do. Instead of our criticism, disgust and judgment, they truly need our love, prayers, support. We all need more of that these days. So please give the H.A.P. a break because maybe one day the Highly Annoying Person will be YOU.


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