Common Annoyances: 5 Pet Peeves That Drive Almost Everyone Crazy

Certain things in this world are bound to tick you off, it’s just a part of life. Regardless of what exactly sends a person over the edge, everyone has their pet peeves. As you probably know, common annoyances extend far beyond the reaches of the well-known aversion to nails on a chalkboard. Most people would agree it’s an almost unbearable sound, but similar irritations don’t stop there. Here are five common annoyances that drive some people crazy, plus a bit about how to cope.

1. Your partner’s snoring

man trying to fall asleep at night

Your partner’s snoring could be keeping you up at night. | iStock.com

Sleeping next to a snorer can be nothing short of exhausting, and can really mess with your health. New York Times reports, “It’s true that sleeping with a snorer can take a toll on your health. People who sleep next to snorers report high levels of fatigue and sleepiness and may even be at higher risk for hearing loss.”

Each time you’re awoken throughout the night, the pattern of disrupted sleep only interferes with your mood and productivity the following day. You’re not operating at 100%, and all you can think about is racing home as soon as the workday is over, or curling up underneath your desk for a quick catnap. So, is there any solution to this frustrating problem?

What you can do about it

couple sleeping happily in bed

Earbuds could lead to a better night’s sleep. | iStock.com

There are things that can help, but it also depends on the root of the problem. In some instances, snoring may be a sign of a bigger health issue. If that’s the case, it’s important your partner seek proper treatment from a sleep specialist. Or at the very least, he or she can try modifying certain behaviors that may help ease their snoring.

If it’s been determined not much can be done about it, there’s an easy solution that may prove beneficial to you both. One study found ear plugs to be an “effective short-term treatment for some of the social effects of disruptive snoring.” And anyone who’s slept next to a snoring partner is probably willing to try just about anything, so this is an easy fix.

2. Overhearing someone talking on their cell phone

rude woman talking loudly on phone

Hearing half of someone’s conversation can be quite annoying. | iStock.com

Being within earshot of another person’s conversation is downright annoying. But it’s not realistic to expect all public places ban the use of cell phones — there’d be madness. Just think of how many places actually display signs reminding customers to put their cell phones down before approaching the counter. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks before gabbing in public places.

Why it’s so annoying

Cute woman using smartphone and laptop on train

If you’re in a public place, just text. | iStock.com/beer5020

In a search to answer why this particular occurrence is so irritating, NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and Science Friday‘s Flora Lichtman conducted research for their book Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us. In the NPR report, Lichtman said, “It’s half of a conversation. Your brain goes into this mode where you start trying to predict what that person is going to say next. The thing that’s frustrating about a cell phone conversation is that it’s very hard to predict, which is one of the things that we found makes something annoying.” It’s probably better to stick to texting in public, and save the conversation for later.

3. Loud chewing

man eating a carrot

The sound of chewing can really set some people over the edge. | iStock.com

Chewing with your mouth open is, for lack of a better description, really gross. But luckily, most adults are well-aware of this social faux pas, which means you’re not necessarily subjected to it regularly. Whether it be exaggerated chewing, or over-the-top lip-smacking, these types of sounds can be enough to drive a person nuts. And while it’s pretty understandable loud chewing isn’t anyone’s cup of tea, it annoys some people far more than it does others.

The root of the problem

Brain lobes in different colors

It all comes down to how your brain works. | iStock.com/alex-mit

As it turns out, there’s actually a medical term for the unpleasant reaction to this sound: misophonia. According to hear-it.org, “Misophonia is a neurological disorder in which auditory (and sometimes visual) stimuli are misinterpreted within the central nervous system.” Even though plenty of people deal with it, little is known about misophonia. This explains why it wasn’t recognized as a medical condition until the 1990s.

People with the condition experience strong, negative reactions to certain sounds or triggers, such as other people eating, drinking, or breathing. In fact, it all comes down to the wiring of a person’s brain, according to research published in Current Biology. A person who has misophonia can experience anger, anxiety, an increased heart rate, and sweating. Any way you slice it, it’s clear more research needs to be done so more treatment options can become available.

4. Leaving the toilet seat up

focus on a toilet in the bathroom

Should the toilet seat be left down, or up? | iStock.com

Since the beginning of plumbing, men and women everywhere have argued over whether the seat is best left down or up. Stereotypically speaking, it seems women tend to get way more frustrated when their male counterparts leave the seat up. And for some couples, it really can turn from a minor issue into an ongoing feud that’s blown way out of proportion. So, what’s a bathroom-goer to do?

The case for putting it down

Black cat sitting on the human toilet

If you don’t put the seat down, you may cross paths with some bad luck. | iStock.com/Seregraff

If you’re someone who’s able to pee standing up, it’s likely you’re used to touching the toilet seat by now. Therefore, touching it after you’ve gone to return it to it’s rightful position won’t kill you.

To add to the case for putting the seat down, the good ladies at Bustle compiled a list of why you should. Among reasons were sanitary concerns, it looks nicer, and it helps you dodge the problem of falling in. Just think about all those late-night, eyes-half-closed trips to the bathroom everyone takes. Better safe than sorry on this one.

5. People prying into your personal life

Three happy friends talking and drinking coffee

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about something, let the person know. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

It sure would be nice if people were able to detect the moment you start to feel uncomfortable in a situation, but that’s just not the case. And sometimes, it’s all too easy to become aggravated by the questions another person asks. “How’s your love life these days?” Or, “Can you help out with this upcoming event I’m throwing?” Begrudgingly, you answer, only to become overwhelmed with anger after the fact.

How to deal with it

Stop gesture by a woman

It’s important to set boundaries for yourself. | iStock.com/pecaphoto77

You have control over your emotions, and it starts by recognizing things that trigger you before they’ve actually happened. The only way to let someone know they’re asking too much is by letting them know. And to keep your annoyance at bay, you’ll need to set some boundaries.

Psychology Today suggests employing two very important strategies: setting a limit and protecting your time. For instance, when someone is getting too personal, tell them you’re not interested in talking about it. Or, if someone is asking too much of your time, respond with, “I’ve got a lot on my plate already. I’ll think about it and get back to you.” The solutions are simple, you just have to be assertive.