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Chapter 19. Difficult Colleagues > The Annoying and Frustrating - Pg. 197

Difficult Colleagues 197 These are examples of annoying and frustrating behavior. Often this kind of behavior doesn't really interfere with getting work done--or at least it doesn't interfere unless you allow it to get to you. But dagnabbit, it's annoying. This Won't Work! If you've been using the term "personality conflict" to describe a difficult person, stop now. By using this label, you give up control and give up on the situation. You don't have difficulties with someone because of their personality; you have problems with someone because of his or her behavior and your reactions. Often people label this kind of behavior as a personality conflict, but that's misleading. That's just a convenient way to say, "I can't stand this person," or "She gets on my nerves." It's often a cop-out on your part, because it really amounts to giving up. We're going to deal with the frustrating and annoying situations differently. And I'm not sure you're going to like it much. The in-a-nutshell comment is this: First, look closely at your own reactions, and second, chill out. It's Your Annoyance Why do people get on our nerves? Well, there are two parts to the equation-- assuming their be- havior is relatively harmless. First, annoying people do things you don't like. It's really not more complicated than that, whether it's the ugly tie, a lack of listening, burping a lot, or anything else. That, however, is the minor part of the equation. Ever wonder how someone you find so annoying can be liked and admired by the person next to you? I mean, how could someone soooo obnoxious or difficult (in your view) be liked by anyone? It's really simple. Annoying and frustrating behavior is almost always in the eyes of the beholder. Yes, that's you, buddy. So that's the second part of the annoyance equation. Being annoyed is a combination of what the person does and your own perceptions. That gabby person who talks your ear off is probably someone's best friend (hard to believe, I know). The person who is never wrong probably has someone who admires his or her confidence. Go figure. Now, I know that the fact that someone else actually likes someone who drives you crazy isn't very helpful to you. But it does point out the fact that many of your reactions to people come from within you. While these reactions have something to do with the other person's behavior, they are also based on your perceptions. Essentially what you're doing is saying to yourself, "If I was that person in that situation, I wouldn't behave like that." In other words, the other person's behavior isn't con- sistent with what you'd do, and you don't like that.