Don’t Let Pet Peeves Decide Your Behaviour

When I’m running a Managing Difficult People seminar, I ask the participants to make a angry businessmanlist of pet peeves that they have about other people.

Some of the participants are reluctant to admit their pet peeves. They believe they shouldn’t have any, or they’re too embarrassed to admit to them. With a bit of encouragement from me, and some of the more outspoken members of the group, we eventually end up with a huge list on the flip chart.

People will talk about things that irritate them about other people, and drive them crazy. Things they disapprove of, find embarrassing, or just don’t like. Here are some of the pet peeves I’ve heard from seminar participants:

  • Speaking with your mouth full
  • Bad breath
  • Body odour
  • Not saying please or thank you
  • General bad manners
  • Answering a mobile phone in the middle of a conversation
  • Squeezing the toothpaste from the wrong end
  • Putting a toilet roll on the holder the wrong way around
  • Untidiness
  • Bad timekeeping
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Drunkenness
  • Not looking you in the eye
  • Eating too fast or too slow
  • Slurping food or drink
  • Not listening
  • Loud music
  • Loud people

As you will see, the list goes on and on. Once we have all these pet peeves on our flip chart, I then ask the group to vote on each one.

In a group of, let’s say, 20 people; 12 people might say ‘speaking with your mouth full’ is a pet peeve for them. Another 6 people might say ‘untidiness’ is a peeve for them.

What comes out of this, as you will see, is that not all of us have the same pet peeves. If you consistently arrive late, this can drive some people crazy, while others don’t really care if you’re late or not.

Blame your parents

Most of these pet peeves come from your programs of behavior. You probably learned them from your parents and the people you grew up with.

When I was a child, I was never allowed to waste food. I had to eat everything that was on my plate before I could leave the table. This programming is so strong, that as an adult I admit to being a bit peeved by people who pick at their food and leave lots on the plate without eating it.

When we interact with other people it is highly possible that we allow our pet peeves to influence that interaction.

It could get you into trouble

I was running a seminar for some bank employees and several of them stated the same pet peeve. They hate when a customer answers their mobile phone in the middle of a transaction or a conversation. Because the bank employee finds this behavior annoying, it could potentially affect how he or she deals with the customer.

The staff member’s annoyance, albeit slight, maybe transmitted to a customer by tone of voice or body language. It is then possible that the customer may become difficult. Any person’s behavior, which is a pet peeve for you, may hook you into behaving in a way that will potentially cause problems.

We all have pet peeves about other people. However, if we allow these to influence our behavior, then we will only make dealing with people much more difficult.


About motivationdoc

I am an International Speaker, Successful Author, Audiobook Narrator and voiceover actor. I deliver voiceovers, seminars and workshops on: Leadership, Motivation, Sales, Customer Service, and Managing Difficult People. You will find me in the UK, US, Europe, Middle East, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines
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