I would estimate that about 95 percent of the people I’ve met over my lifetime I’ve truly liked, or at least had no problem with. Most folks are decent, honest, logical grounded adults who attempt to do the right thing most of the time. We all have flaws, but we are not usually defined by them. There are, however, certain personal qualities that sometimes dominate a person’s behavior and unfortunately irk the hell out of me. It doesn’t bother me if someone displays these traits occasionally, but when it’s a chronic problem I tend to avoid those individuals like the plague (or broccoli). In no particular order here are four groups of tedious humans I strive to evade.
The complainer, AKA nitpicker, protester, grumbler and critic: Nothing can sour my cheery mood quicker than the annoying, perpetual whiner. All subjects are on the table and wide open for criticism when conversing with these exasperating downers. They have a problem with everything, and God forbid if you attempt to put a happy face on their dark cloud. They have strong, negative issues with traffic, politicians, weather, movies, restaurants, kids, doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. I instinctively sense trouble when their conversation begins with, “So, whatdaya think about…” They could not care less about what you think because they are prepared to graphically explain to you what’s wrong with the world, one depressing subject at a time. Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining—it bores everyone else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems, — Zig Ziglar
The hypochondriac, AKA neurotic, phobic, fixated and obsessed: These sad-sacks carry a DVD with them at all times revealing highlights of their last colonoscopy in HD. A group of friends could be discussing the upcoming baseball season, and in the blink of an eye the ever ailing, crybaby interrupts the flow by relating, in mind-numbing detail, the symptoms of their arthritic shoulder, sinus infection or digestive abnormalities. Every subject reminds them of a perceived (often non-existent) medical problem they have suffered from in the past or are struggling with presently. And if you’ve got it, they’ve had it and will enthusiastically explain to you where it came from, what to do about it and which doctor to call because they’ve been to them all. Of course, by definition, a hypochondriac is almost always a member of the complainer group above. Everyone thinks I’m a hypochondriac – it makes me sick.
The narcissist, AKA egoist, selfish, vain and self-absorbed: The world is their vanity mirror. What’s best for these conceited reptiles is their primary concern. In case you happen to be uninformed, they will, not so subtly, proudly remind you that they are smarter, better looking, classier, and cooler than you. Indignation is on full display when they are questioned or challenged. If you want to have a little fun, the next time a narcissist visits your house just hide all the mirrors. Typically, their conversation will be full of the “I” word unless it involves something negative or to do with blame, in which case the “I’s” will shift to “they.” How many narcissists does it take to change a light bulb? None, a narcissist will always manage to find someone else to carry out a menial chore like that.
The phony, AKA pretentious, insincere, deceptive and fake: Absolute truth has no place in their lives because it’s too boring for them. Almost every word that they speak is exaggerated, puffed up or a flat out lie. Often coming across as overly jubilant and disingenuous, they will spin tales of danger or adventure that appear almost impossible to believe. If you relate a story of surfing a ten-foot wave on your vacation in Hawaii, they will counter with having ridden a twenty-footer in Indonesia. Maybe you worked as the head chef of an upscale restaurant in Beverly Hills. Very nice, however, the charlatan owned a five-star eatery on the Wharf in San Francisco. Often narcissists and phonies meld as one. Fake people have an image to maintain while real people just don’t give a damn.
As you may have noticed, the four examples above demonstrate similar personality defects and often cross over into each other’s realm. These character imperfections display many commonalities and frankly prove exhausting to deal with on a regular basis. Of course their degree of irritation varies from person to person; however, from my experience these individuals either don’t realize or don’t care about the way they present themselves to others. And may I offer my sympathies if you have to put up with one of the tiresome patterns above with a boss, family member or close friend.